When most people talk about the Toyota RAV4 EV, they’re discussing the second-generation model which used a Tesla-sourced powertrain. However, there was another RAV4 EV well before that model arrived in 2012.
The first-generation RAV4 EV is easy to forget about as it was launched in the 1990’s as a bit of an experiment. Sales were heavily restricted, but the company eventually started to offer them to the public.
One of these models recently surfaced on eBay and it’s being billed as a one-of-a-kind classic collector car. While we wouldn’t exactly call it a classic, the model is certainly an early example of modern electric vehicles.
The crossover’s origin story starts in 1995 when Toyota announced it had completed development the RAV4L EV and been “granted a license to use it as a monitor car.” The company provided one to the Tokyo metropolitan government and another to the Tokyo Electric Power Company for testing and evaluation purposes. By the end of 1995, Toyota planned to have a total of 20 models undergoing testing in Japan and the United States.
One year later, the model was put on sale in Japan with an incredibly modest sales target of 100 units annually. The model was only available at a handful of dealerships, but it was eventually offered nationwide the following year.
Getting back to the RAV4 on eBay, the seller says it has approximately 15,000 miles (24,140 km) on the odometer and is in excellent condition. That’s seems like a bit of a stretch as the images appear to show scuffs on the rear bumper and some rust on the tailgate. Despite these minor blemishes, the crossover appears to be in relatively good condition and the interior looks almost brand-new besides some scuffs in the cargo area.
Like many early electric vehicles, the RAV4 has an extremely limited range which helps to explain why there are so few miles on the odometers. The seller says the range was originally 70 miles (112 km) but, due to battery degradation, the model can now only travel 20 miles (32 km) before it enters limp mode.
Bidding starts at $9,500 (£7,462 / €8,346) and the model can also be purchased for a buy it now price of $11,500 (£9,033 / €10,103).