Almost ironically, the manufacturer that first launched an electric-hybrid vehicle to the world is the last to adopt the battery-electric car. Things will undoubtedly change, though – Toyota just launched a plug-in version of the RAV4.
While undoubtedly impressive, RAV4 Prime is an indication that the largest car manufacturer accepts the battery-electric vehicle as a viable alternative to hybrids. And, if we judge by the numbers, the RAV4 Prime is a stiff competition to cars that only use electricity.
The numbers behind the new RAV4 Prime are pretty remarkable, at least for a plug-in hybrid model. Toyota estimates that with one full charge, the battery can provide 42 miles of electric-only range, which is better than every other plug-in hybrid competitor.
For most people, the 42-mile range is enough to cover daily duties. For longer road trips, a 2.5-liter internal-combustion engine will help the batteries for an extended range of up to 800 miles.
Toyota says that the THS II (Toyota Hybrid System II) powertrain helps to achieve excellent fuel efficiency, even when the batteries are depleted. When both propulsion methods are used, the plug-in hybrid system can reach a theoretical 94 MPGe.
The engineers also managed to extract 306 hp from the hybrid powertrain, enough for a brisk 0-60 mph time of only 5.7 seconds. That’s the second-fastest accelerating Toyota vehicle in the USA, trailing only the sports car Supra.
Furthermore, Toyota employed an additional electric motor on the back axle for an on-demand AWD. The interior of the car will stay mostly the same, but that’s not a bad thing – the latest RAV4 has ample space for passengers and cargo.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime will hit dealerships this summer, starting at $38,100 for the base model. The vehicle will also qualify for a $7,500 tax credit, which will bring the price close to $30,000. For a powerful and efficient plug-in vehicle, that’s very competitive.