Lucky for Toyota, we aren’t Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t work on staff. If we were and he did, this story wouldn’t be up and the car would now be in a ditch somewhere. Instead, we will give it some credit. If you must drive an SUV, at least you will soon be able to drive one that doesn’t guzzle petrol. Arguably electric isn’t any better for the environment, but we are not hear to enter that debate right now.
The new electric camel car, err, RAV4, was launched at the electric vehicle symposium in Los Angeles. The headline statistic was that the EV version of the RAV4 was just as powerful as the V6 version of the petrol SUV. But there are more stats which make this car a little easier to swallow as well.
A six hour charge will get you around 160km of driving. OK, that still doesn’t make it a cross-country car, but at least it will get you around town and down to the store without having to charge it every time you stop somewhere. This range is thanks to the Tesla designed battery and electric power train. Yep, that’s right, electric sports car maker Tesla, who created the Roadster based on Lotus design, are helping Toyota with this. Cool by association? Perhaps.
The rest of the press release we received blurts out more stats which may interest you. So because we’re tired and lazy, here they are:
“The front-wheel-drive RAV4 EV allows drivers to select from two distinctly different drive modes, Sport and Normal. In Sport mode, the vehicle reaches 60 mph (96.6 km/h) in just 7.0 seconds and has a maximum speed of 160 km/h. Normal mode achieves 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a maximum speed of about 137 km/h (85mph).
Maximum output from the electric powertrain is 115kW @ 2,800 rpm. RAV4 EV offers an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride and comfortable handling due in part to its low coefficient of drag and low centre of gravity. At 0.30 Cd, RAV4 EV achieves the lowest coefficient of drag of any SUV in the world.
Compared with the petrol-powered RAV4, Toyota re-styled the front bumper, upper and lower grille, side mirrors, rear spoiler and under body design to provide optimum air flow around the vehicle. The RAV4 EV’s battery pack is mounted low and to the centre of the vehicle, contributing to a more sedan-like ride.
The vehicle will go on sale in the United States late in the northern hemisphere summer. There are no plans to sell it in Australia.”
Yep, that’s right. Not available in Australia. Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, that may or may not be a bad thing.
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.