When is a Tesla not a Tesla? Well, when it’s today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe RAV4. Let’s see if the price for this Tesla-powered Toyota makes it an electric dream.
I was surprised that a number of responses to yesterday’s 1987 Renault Alliance GTA that took issue with the car’s wow factor. I mean come on, this was a model that took the tried and true VW GTI formula, and applied it to a three-box coupé! You just don’t get any wowier than that.
There was plenty of wow in the car’s modest $1,900 price tag too, and that little Renault that couldn’t walked off with a respectable 65-percent Nice Price win.
Walking is always a possibility with an old Renault, just as it is with the spate of new-fangled electric cars that are flooding many markets these days. The prospect of running out of juice out of reach of an extension cord even has a name: ‘range anxiety.’
That can certainly be an issue when you have one of those limited range electrics like the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, or VW eGolf, each of which will realistically do less than 100 miles on a single charge. In sprawling L.A. or the wide open plains of someplace like Texas, that can turn a simple shopping spree into a stomach churning game of ‘Will We Make It?’.
Tesla Inc. recognized this issue and from the outset established a battery-heavy design paradigm for their cars that ensured a range comparable to that of your average ICE car. They then took the very savvy tack of licensing their technology to other manufacturers.
An example is this 2014 Toyota RAV4 EV. Now with their Prius line, Toyota has long been an advocate of the efficient, but their battery imbued cars have always also carried a gas engine to ensure miles of smiles for the eco-conscious, and none of that range anxiety. They do offer the freaky fuel cell Mirai, but for pure electric motoring the RAV4 EV has been their jam. Well, at least in California.
This represents the second generation of RAV4 EV, which combines electric power with the popular small crossover body style. The first one was little more than a glorified golf cart with a modest 95-mile range and a governed 78-MPH top speed out of its 27 kWh battery pack. That was pretty mediocre, but par for the course (get it?) for the era.
The second generation car (2012 to 2014) was about as all-in as you could imagine. This edition sported a powertrain engineered by Tesla and carrying many of the same components as that company’s Model S. There’s 650 pounds of Lithium Ion batteries under the RAV’s floor, making for an available 41.8 kWh of capacity. Don’t lick that plug, people!
The electrons are fed through a Tesla controller to a 115 kW AC induction motor that can offer up 270 ft-lbs of torque from a dead stop. That’s down by way of an open transaxle that sends power to the front wheels. The gas RAV4’s AWD option is unavailable on the EV as the under-floor battery tray takes up the space where the drive shaft would normally go. Charging is by way of a 10kW plug-in socket. That’s all good for a claimed 130-mile range and a 100-MPH top speed in Sport Mode.
Toyota only built the second gen RAV4 EV for three model years and only offered the car for lease or sale in California. Fewer than 2,500 of the cars were made, each with a MSPR of about $50,000 before state and federal rebates.
This 2014 comes in at a lot less than that. It also comes with one of California’s most coveted status symbols; HOV lane stickers that allow you to run with the carpools without the unpleasantness of having to smell someone else’s cologne.
Rare is a fitting sobriquet for these cars as you almost never see one on the road. Most of those that are for sale are dealer offered, making this private party car even more unique.
The color scheme is white over grey. This was the model’s most common color, although both silver and blue were options, I think. The seller tout’s the addition of a roof rack and some sexy alloy wheels wrapped in new, low rolling resistance tires. Those, and a curb weight of more than two tons, likely eliminate any dreams of canyon carving in the car, but then if you wanted to do that you’d be pumping gas and driving a GTI. Oh yes you would.
There’s 47,000 miles under the wheels here, and the car presents in the pictures in as-new condition. The ad notes a clean history and title and it being just a few years old it comes with most all the accoutrements expected of a modern automobile.
As I noted earlier, this car originally came with a price tag just a few bills shy of fifty grand. From that you could have deducted a $7,500 Federal rebate, as well as a $2,500 one from the State. That still set you back more than $39,000 which is a lot of cheddar for a RAV4.
This one comes at a far more reasonable $18,500, and offers that crossover style that all the kids are talking about, without the stupid pigeon wing doors of Tesla Model X. Heck, it’s almost half the price of the mew Model 3, and you still have to get on a waiting list to get one of those.
This Rav4 is available right now, and now is also when you need to weigh in on whether its price seems like a fair deal for so rare an electric car. You’d also have to figure out if this is of any interest to anyone outside of California. I can’t imagine driving this any distance out of state at 130 miles a pop.
What do you think, is $18,500 a good price for this Toyo-tesla? Or, do you just not get a charge out of that?
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