Toyota’s electric SUV is returning to the road (the company produced an earlier version from 1997 to 2003). The all-new 2012 RAV4 EV will go on sale the week of September 24 in select California markets. The MSRP is $49,800, and Toyota is offering a 36-month lease option at $599 per month. The RAV4 EV qualifies for California’s $2,500 rebate and the $7,500 federal tax credit.
The RAV4 EV’s battery and electric powertrain are made by Tesla. It has an EPA-rated range of 103 miles, and 76 MPGe combined.
Toyota has said it plans to sell only 2,600 units through 2014, which would seem to indicate that the company views this as a sort of pilot program (or as some call it, a compliance car). However, the new model is significant for several reasons. It’s the first all-electric offering from the maker of the successful Prius hybrid, and it’s the first electric SUV of the modern EV era. Its advent also means that EV fans will soon have a choice among ultra-compact (Smart fortwo EV), compact (Nissan LEAF), luxury sedan (Tesla Model S) and SUV models. Also, SUV lovers will soon be able to select a hybrid (Ford Escape et al), a PHEV (Mitsubishi Outlander) or Toyota’s pure EV.