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.