Toyota Isn’t Sold On The Electric Crossover Craze

A number of automakers have announced plans for an electric crossover but Toyota doesn’t appear thrilled with the idea.

Speaking to Roadshow, Toyota’s North American group vice president and general manager suggested there isn’t enough demand to warrant the onslaught of electric vehicles. As Jack Hollis explained, “We gave it a good run” with the RAV4 EV “but the marketplace, even today, is the marketplace really there?” He went on to say automakers need to question if the demand really exists or if they’re just “forcing it to be there.”

Hollis says the company dropped the RAV4 EV because “the market wasn’t there to justify the expense, in order to justify what it was.” Regardless, he said the company learned from the experience even though the model wasn’t a huge hit.

Originally unveiled at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles, the 2012 RAV4 EV featured a Tesla-sourced powertrain that consisted of a 41.8 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that produced up to 154 hp (115 kW) and 273 lb-ft (369 Nm) of torque. It enabled the front wheel drive crossover to accelerate from 0-60 mph in seven seconds before hitting a top speed of up to 100 mph (161 mph) in Sport mode.

The RAV4 EV could travel up to 103 miles (165 km) before needing to spend approximately five hours connected to a 40A/240V charger. If one wasn’t available, you were in for a bit of a wait as using a standard household outlet (12A/120V) resulted in a comical 44 hour recharging time.

Of course, there was also the matter of price. The RAV4 EV cost $49,800 which is $13,550 more than the range-topping 2018 RAV4 Platinum. Toyota also offered a 36 month lease option for $599 per month with $3,499 down.

While Toyota doesn’t seem sold on a new electric crossover, everyone from Ford to Volkswagen is working on one. In the luxury segment, there are countless models including the Jaguar I-Pace and the upcoming Audi E-Tron and Mercedes EQC.

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    Reminds me of Sergio’s comments regarding EVs as well. Of course, I just wrote it off as someone being butthurt because the Fiat 500 EV crashed and burned. Is it reasonable to assume Toyota is in the same boat?

    • PhilMcGraw

      “None of this is to say that Toyota isn’t committed to electrification — on the contrary, during the roundtable, Hollis reiterated, “By 2025 each one of our products will have electrification capability. All of our products.” And indeed, Toyota is hoping to amp up interest in the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid (seen above) by positioning it not just as the green choice, but as the highest-performance model in the family, with the quickest acceleration and best-handling chassis to go along with best-in-range efficiency. With most analysts expecting fuel prices to stay low, this strategy could resonate with more shoppers than attempting to sell on parsimony.”

      They never said they didn’t want EVs, but rather they weren’t going to force EVs in a market that wasn’t accepting them. In other words, he was solely talking about the marketplace that the RAV4 exists in rather than the EV market as a whole. And it looks like with the RAV4 Hybrid that they’re trying to get people interested in green technology because it’s also going to be their sportiest model.

  • Eagle By Singer

    Well, I’m not sold on both the Crossover craze AND the electric craze.

  • Honda NSX-R

    The same people that said that a manual transmission option for the new Supra doesn’t seem as desirable, ladies and gentlemen.

  • MarketAndChurch

    They’re probably right. Hybrids are the better way forward.

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