Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the biggest maker of hybrid vehicles said its electric RAV4 SUV with batteries and motor from Tesla Motors Inc. will start at $49,800 – twice as much as the gasoline version, and higher than the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt or Ford Focus Electric, but cheaper than the Fisker Karma.

The electric version of the popular SUV will go around 100 miles on a charge. It takes six hours to fully charge it using a 240-volt charger.

“We think the 2,600 unit figure is reasonable for this product. We want to set a precedent to see how the market develops,” Bob Carter, Toyota’s group vice president of U.S. sales, said in an interview.
“This is going to be the market’s only electric SUV.”

Toyota’s plans for the Rav4 EV were revealed in the summer of 2010, shortly after it was announced that Toyota would invest $50 million in Tesla Motors and that Tesla would build its next vehicles in a former Toyota factory in California.

Sales will be limited, in part, because the vehicle will only be available in certain markets. California will be first, with sales in four markets, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, starting later this summer.
The RAV4 EV’s price tag also could hurt sales.

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 speed of 100 mph. Normal mode achieves 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a maximum speed of 85 mph. Maximum output from the electric powertrain is 154 HP (115kW) @ 2,800 rpm.

Toyota sold over 15,000 gasoline-powered Rav4 SUVs last month, or almost six times the number of Rav4 EVs it plans to sell over the next three years.


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