The RAV4 EV was built with Tesla Motors and Toyota engineers that knew they’d need to be fast and flexible with development and evaluation. So they came up with a eFAST process (early field and suitability testing), the RAV4 EV to validate and confirm vehicle performance. Bottom line here is that they both built their own electric car. Now since they were doing one together and not reinventing the wheel it was a quick build.
“The RAV4 EV’s driving performance, dynamics and cargo capacity are equal to or exceed the gas powered RAV4 V6,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. “Arriving fully-equipped with an MSRP of $49,800, with available combined federal and state incentives of up to $10,000, the RAV4 EV is a practical, versatile option for the EV enthusiast.”
Power and Performance
The front wheel drive RAV4 EV allows drivers to select from two distinctly different drive modes, Sport and Normal. In Sport mode, 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds and has a maximum track speed of 100 mph. Normal mode is 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a maximum track speed of 85 mph. Maximum output from the electric powertrain is 154 HP (115kW).
The RAV4 EV has two charge modes – Standard and Extended. In standard mode, the high voltage batteries achieve an EPA-estimated driving range rating of 92 miles. Extended Mode allows an anticipated EPA-estimated driving range of 113 miles. Standard mode is designed to optimize battery life over range.
EV Range Optimization
The climate control system has three modes:
1. NORMAL mode, the climate control system operates in the same manner as a conventional vehicle and provides the maximum comfort level, but also draws the most power, which in turn reduces the EV range.
2. ECO LO mode is recommended to achieve a balance of cabin comfort and improved range through reduced power consumption of the blower, compressor and/or electric heater. In cold weather, ECO LO also automatically activates and controls the seat heaters to optimal levels based on the cabin thermal conditions.
3. ECO HI further reduces blower, compressor and heater levels and also automatically activates the seat heaters if necessary. The use of ECO LO can reduce the climate control system power consumption up to 18 percent compared with NORMAL while ECO HI offers up to 40 percent power reduction compared to NORMAL.
The ECO LO or ECO HI mode extends the vehicle’s EV driving range.
The unique Toyota/Tesla designed cooperative regenerative braking system increases driving range by up to 20 percent.
“A prime design target for all Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles featuring traction batteries is to maintain battery structural integrity and electrical isolation internal to the battery,” said Sheldon Brown, executive program manager for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America. “The RAV4 EV battery and chassis are designed as a system to protect against battery ‘isolation loss’ during a crash, meaning the electrical energy is completely contained within the battery preventing any conductive path to the vehicle body. Electrical components and chassis are designed as a system to protect occupants, first responders and the battery pack itself.”
In addition to robust accident protections, the RAV4 EV is designed with multiple systems to help protect and maintain a proper state of charge on the battery. For example, the onboard charger is equipped with a hardware voltage limiter to prevent overcharging the battery. To prevent over discharge, the air conditioning system and driving power will be limited at defined low States of Charge, prompting the driver with a warning in the meter display to plug the vehicle into a power source. Finally, the battery system is designed to handle a lengthy period of non-operation. At a 50% state of charge the RAV4 EV can sit without charging for approximately one year with no permanent loss of function. If the battery pack does become depleted, its 12-volt battery will allow the vehicle to turn on and shift into neutral. If the 12 volt battery is also depleted it can be jumped.
The multi-information display scrolls through six different screens that provide driver-performance feedback including driving range, trip efficiency, efficiency, ECO coach, CO2 reduction and AUX power.
Driving range displays an estimated range according to the amount of charge remaining in the traction battery along with the current air condition setting. The range will adjust based on the setting of the air conditioning.
Trip efficiency displays the average power consumption in intervals of five minutes during a trip. Efficiency displays average power consumption since the function was reset as well as current power consumption.
Eco coach evaluates the level of eco-sensitive driving according to acceleration, speed and braking and displays an overall score.
CO2 reduction displays the amount of CO2 reduced compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. The reduction is displayed as a growing tree.
AUX power displays average 12-volt battery power consumption since the function was reset and the current trip’s 12-volt battery power consumption.
Charging Equipment and Sales Plan
Toyota’s approved electric vehicle supplier equipment provider is Leviton. The shortest charge time is six hours. Leviton offers a custom 240V (Level 2), 40A, 9.6 kW output charging station. For more information visit Leviton.com/Toyota. The vehicle comes equipped with a 120V (Level 1) 12A charging cable for instances when the recommended 240V (Level 2) charging is not available.
The RAV4 EV will go on sale in late summer 2012 through select California dealers, focusing on major metropolitan markets. Service for the RAV4 EV will only be available at these authorized RAV4 EV dealers. Sales volume is planned for approximately 2,600 units through 2014. The battery is warrantied for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The RAV4 EV is expected to qualify for a $2,500 rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program in California and also is eligible for a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. The vehicle will qualify for the California High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane white sticker program.
“We believe that the RAV4 EV will attract sophisticated early technology adopters, much like the first-generation Prius,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. “It’s designed for consumers who prioritize the environment and appreciate performance. We look forward to seeing how the market responds.”
TOYOTA/TESLA DEVELOPMENT MILESTONES
May 2010 – Toyota/Tesla announce collaboration to develop electric vehicles, parts, production systems and engineering support
July 2010 – Toyota/Tesla announce development of RAV4 EV
November 2010 – Toyota reveals RAV4 EV Phase Zero prototype at LA Auto Show
February 2011 – Tesla begins delivery of 31 converted RAV4 EV Phase Zero demonstration program vehicles
April 2011 – Toyota provides first media drive opportunity of Phase Zero demonstration program vehicle at 2011 Sustainable Mobility Seminar
August 2011 – Toyota/Tesla announce RAV4 EV manufacturing location – Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc., Woodstock, Ontario
May 2012 – 2012 RAV4 EV revealed at Electric Vehicle Symposium 26
The Green Living Guy, Seth Leitman is a green living expert, celebrity and Editor of the McGraw-Hill, TAB Green Guru Guides. Seth is also an Author, Radio Host, Reporter, Writer and a Environmental Consultant on green living. The Green Living Guy writes about green living, green lighting, the green guru guides and more. Seth's books range from:
# Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant and Seth Leitman (2nd and 3rd editions)
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