Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS) offered news media first drive opportunities today for the Toyota RAV4 EV, an all-new, all-electric SUV arriving in select California dealerships later this summer.During the media event, Toyota engineers lifted the hood and shared developmental and technical details of this unique electric vehicle, while sales and marketing executives discussed launch and distribution strategy.Offering outstanding performance, comfort and versatility RAV4 EV is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated driving range rating of approximately 100 miles. It charges in approximately six hours on a 240V/40A charger.
“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.”
The RAV4 EV is the product of a unique collaboration with Tesla Motors spurred by Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation.Twenty-two months after the project announcement, Toyota and Tesla engineers revealed the vehicle at Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 in May 2012.To manage such a compressed timetable, Toyota engineers knew they’d need to be fast and flexible with development and evaluation.They devised the eFAST process (early field and suitability testing), a new protocol specifically put in place for the RAV4 EV to validate and confirm vehicle performance.
The RAV4 EV combines a Tesla designed and produced battery and electric powertrain with Toyota’s most popular SUV model.The collaborative team set its sights on optimizing the customer experience.From remote charging options to interior comfort to futuristic interactive displays, the RAV4 EV combines the practical features of a compact SUV with aerodynamic styling and an electric powertrain for the longest EPA estimated driving range rating of any non-luxury EV.
“Developing the RAV4 EV with Tesla gave us the opportunity to work with a leading-edge Silicon Valley company,” said Greg Bernas, chief engineer for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing.”Tesla brought their EV powertrain expertise and entrepreneurial spirit.We brought our customer - first focus and decades of production experience to the project.It wasn’t always an easy process but I think we succeeded in blending our strengths and learning from one another.”
Power and Performance
The Toyota RAV4 EV offers an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride and comfortable handling due in part to its low coefficient of drag and low center of gravity. In fact, at 0.30 Cd, RAV4 EV achieves the lowest coefficient of drag of any SUV in the world.Compared with the gas powered RAV4, at 0.35 Cd, Toyota re-styled the front bumper, upper and lower grill, side mirrors, rear spoiler, and under body design to optimize air flow around the vehicle.The RAV4 EV’s battery pack is mounted low and to the center of the vehicle, contributing to a more sedan-like ride.
The front wheel drive RAV4 EV allows drivers to select from two distinctly different drive modes, Sport and Normal.In Sport mode, the vehicle reaches 0-60 mph in just 7.0 seconds and has a maximum track speed of 100 mph.Normal mode achieves 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. Instandard mode, the high voltage battery charges up to 35 kWh and the vehicle is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated driving range rating of 92 miles.Extended Mode allows the battery to charge to its full capacity of 41.8 kWh, providing an anticipated EPA-estimated driving range of 113 miles.Standard mode is designed to optimize battery life over range.
The RAV4 EV’s sophisticated battery and thermal management systems provide consistent vehicle performance in a variety of climates vs. competitor electric vehicles.The liquid-cooled battery is a first for Toyota.
EV Range Optimization
Toyota engineers devised a number of strategies to help optimize the available EV range on the Toyota RAV4 EV.The climate control system has three modes which allow the driver to select their preferred level of comfort and EV driving range. In 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.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.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.Thus use of either ECO LO or ECO HI mode extends the vehicle’s EV driving range.
Remote Climate Control allows drivers to pre-cool or pre-heat the vehicle prior to driving while the vehicle is plugged-in, which conserves battery charge and EV range.The Remote Climate Control system can be set by a timer on the navigation display.It can also be activated using a smart phone.
The unique Toyota/Tesla designed cooperative regenerative braking system works to minimize the vehicle’s kinetic energy loss during stopping.The system recovers the energy and converts it to electrical energy, which recharges the battery and extends driving range.The vehicle slows down while energy is captured.
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