Toyota RAV4 EV

8 Aug, 2012 3:45pm Mark Elias/

We drive the electric version of the Toyota RAV4, which leads the way for the company's future models


As a zero-emissions family car that compromises on neither performance nor practicality, the RAV4 EV is a job well done. Combining Tesla’s EV know-how and Toyota’s attention to detail, it has few drawbacks aside from the limited range. It’s available only in California for now, but if demand is high enough it could spawn a wider Toyota EV family for Europe.

The RAV4 EV is the world’s first mass-produced electric SUV, and the result of a tie-up between Toyota and Tesla.

Only 2,600 will be built over the next three years (unless demand goes through the roof), all of which will be sold in California – yet the technology could be used in other Toyota EVs in years to come.

Aerodynamic tweaks for the nose and rear spoiler give the US-spec RAV4 EV a unique look, but inside it’s business as usual with space for five and a 2,067-litre boot.

There are two power settings: Normal allows 0-60mph in 8.6 seconds, while in Sport mode the same sprint takes 7.0 seconds. Top speed is 100mph.

Charging the lithium-ion batteries takes six hours from a 240V socket, yet 44 hours from a 120V US plug. It’s little wonder Toyota will offer American buyers a 240V charge box for £1,000.

Acceleration is brisk, but it’s the excellent ride and refinement that really shine through. The steering is lighter than in the normal RAV4, yet a lower centre of gravity means the car feels stable in corners.

If you can cope with the 113-mile range, this is a great way of karting the kids around town quietly, quickly and efficiently.

Key specs

  • Price: £32,000 (est)
  • Engine: Front-mounted electric motor
  • Power/torque: 152bhp/370Nm
  • Transmission: Single-speed, front-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph: 7.0 seconds (Sport mode)
  • Range/CO2: 113 miles/0g/km
  • Top speed: 100mph (Sport mode)
  • Equipment: Sat-nav, air-con, flat underbody, multifunction steering wheel, roof spoiler, LED lights
  • On sale: TBC