2013 Toyota RAV4 EV: First Look

The expanding electric car club will get its first compact SUV for model-year 2013. The all-electric version of Toyota's compact crossover will go on sale this summer with a base price of $49,800.

Toyota partnered with Tesla on the 2013 RAV4 EV; it paid the electric car company approximately $100 million to supply the RAV4 EV's powertrain, including the battery, motor, gearbox and power electronics.

The RAV4 EV will be available in front-wheel drive only and use an electric powertrain with a maximum output of 154 horsepower. It will offer drivers two modes: In Sport mode, RAV4 EV will do zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds and have a max speed of 100 mph. In Normal mode, those numbers drop to 8.6 seconds and 85 mph, respectively. The dashboard display color changes to red when in Sport mode and blue in Normal mode. Toyota expects the RAV4 EV to have a driving range of around 100 miles and a charging time of about six hours on a 240-volt charger.

The electric version looks a lot like the gas-powered RAV4. Minor exterior tweaks include a restyled front bumper, updated upper and lower grille, new side mirrors, a unique rear spoiler and under-body tweaks designed to maximize air flow. Also new are LED head- and taillights. It'll be available in three new EV-specific colors: Blizzard White Pearl, Shoreline Blue Pearl and Classic Silver Metallic.

Inside, shiny blue-accented woven fabric — Toyota calls it Neutron — trims the cabin. Standard equipment includes heated front seats, an 8-inch touch-screen with navigation, the Entune multimedia system, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port. Also, Toyota says the RAV4 EV’s battery doesn’t steal any cabin space and its cargo capacity is the same as the regular model: 73 cubic feet.

Availability will be limited initially; it'll only be on sale this summer at select dealerships in California, including Sacramento, San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego. Toyota hopes to sell around 2,600 RAV4 EVs during the next three years.

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