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Brand New Toyota RAV4

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Save up to $2,020 on a new Toyota RAV4
Mike Stevens | May 8, 2012

This is the RAV4 EV, the first production electric vehicle to come out of Toyota's technology partnership with American carmaker Tesla Motors.

Previewed in concept form back in 2010, the production RAV4 EV had changed little on the outside. There's the same new bumper, covered grille and giant 'EV' badge featured on the earlier car.

But, while the RAV4 EV uses the regular SUV's body, its insides are all-new and all-electric.

Power for the electrified RAV4 is provided by a Tesla-developed system that pairs a 115kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery pack mounted beneath the cabin.

Power is sent to the front wheels only, and two driving modes are available: Sport and Normal.

The difference between the modes is not a small one, with Sport offering a surprisingly quick 0-100km/h time of 7.0 seconds, while the Normal setting will get you there in a more sedate 8.6 seconds.

2013 toyota rav4 ev production overseas 07

The EV's driving range is about standard for the segment, promising around 160km from one six-hour charge.

Those styling changes on the outside aren't just to set the car's look apart from its regular stablemate, either.

Toyota says the bits you can see - and the bits you can't - all combine to give the RAV4 EV a coefficient of drag of 0.30, compared to 0.25 for the Prius hybrid.

Inside, there's a suitably electro-futuristic approach to the cabin's design, with a new 'Neutron' fabric design, a restyled centre stack and an eight-inch display with navigation and vehicle information.

“We believe that the RAV4 EV will attract sophisticated early technology adopters, much like the first-generation Prius,” Toyota's Bob Carter said.

“It’s designed for consumers who prioritize the environment and appreciate performance. We look forward to seeing how the market responds."

Availability: is it coming to Australia?

Toyota says that, for this version of its electric SUV at least, it will build only 2600 units, with all of them available only in the US state of California.

So, no; don't expect this one in Australia.

Still, the RAV4 EV represents Toyota's long-awaited push toward a production electric vehicle, and it will only be a matter of time before it joins the likes of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi with an Australian-delivered EV.

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