Why RAV4 EV and not say Celica or MR2 EV?

Discussion in 'RAV4 EV' started by Gabriel Rockman, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. Gabriel Rockman

    Gabriel Rockman Junior Member

    Oct 16, 2014
    Montgomery Village, MD
    2014 Prius c
    I'm a bit confused that the only Toyota EV is an SUV. What market is there for an EV SUV?

    My assumption about electric vehicles is that they only make sense for a person or family that also owns a gas vehicle for using on longer trips, including trips out of town. Owning just an electric vehicle isn't really viable yet due to their very long recharge times and the difficulty in finding a place to recharge them.

    Therefore, what is the likely use of an EV? Likely for commuting to work or doing errands around town when the car can spend the night at the owner's house recharging. Is there a need for more than two seats for someone commuting to work?

    When I was growing up, my family owned a minivan for family use, and also a Corolla used only for commuting to work and back. I have to think that there were many families where they have the family car and also a car used solely by one parent to commute to work. There's no need for both parents to have bigger vehicles. If you look at the other cars when driving, almost everyone is alone in their car.

    As long as your family (or your significant other) has a vehicle that can fit five or more, then it's acceptable for your secondary vehicle to be the two seater.

    Thus, a two seat EV makes sense to me, whereas there seems like the market for a SUV EV would be much less. The increased weight of a SUV and its increased height make it a poor choice for an EV. It'd be much easier to get a good range out of a two seat sports car than out of a midsize SUV like a RAV4.

    This is where resurrecting the Celica or MR2 (depending on engine placement) makes sense to me. Most EVs are rivals of the economy cars, whether it be the two door Smart car, or the four door hatchbacks. The low center of gravity given by an EV (due to the battery placement) lends well to sports cars, but you have to put in more than the low 100s in horsepower to really be able to market it as a sports car.

    In my opinion, most EV buyers don't need the second row seat. As an owner of a Prius C, the second row seat is not really that important to me, and it is a rather tight fit in that seat if I ever try to bring more than two adults in my car (which I very rarely do). The Celica or MR2 with good handling and a bit more horsepower than their rival EVs would stand alone as being a fun to drive EV (aside from the out of many people's price range Teslas).

    Is there no market for a relatively affordable (i.e. relative to Tesla) fun to drive (relative to all non-Tesla EVs) two seat EV to use as a commuter car to work and a second vehicle in the family?
  2. snoctor

    snoctor Member

    Jun 21, 2009
    Davis, CA
    2010 Prius
    I've been driving a Rav4 EV for 22 months now. 25,000 miles to date. It has amazing utility and versatility. My family uses it for everything. It is our principle car. Take the kids to school every day, commute to work etc etc. Here's a lengthy write up on my take after I had driven the car for one year (One Year On: My Life With the Toyota Rav4 EV Electric Car (Part 1 of 3) - Transport Evolved). As you'll see I love this car!! Advantages over most other non-Tesla EVs out there include: 1) longer range. With a 41.8 kWh battery I can easily coax over 150 miles out of a single charge and have done so many times. 2) much much more space. You can use the Rav4 EV for trips to big box stores like Costco and for trips to your Home Depot, Lowes etc. Huge storage capacity. I've taken it on weekend camping trips and had more than enough space for every we needed (here's my write up of that trip: Guest Post: Celebrating National Drive Electric Week in a 2012 Toyota Rav4 EV Electric Car). 3) The idea that EVs are not viable because of long charging times might be reconsidered for daily commuting. I totally agree range needs to increase, but the current crop of EVs out there with ~80 miles range make good commuter cars for many. Most EVs charge over night when you are sleeping or like me charge at work while you are busy at your desk. Over 25,000 miles I've never been stuck anywhere nor have I ever had to wait for the car to charge. It does help to live in CA where there is good public infrastructure (today I added 50 miles charge to my car while shopping at Costco). PLUS rapid chargers are changing the game. As well all know, Tesla is leading the way on this front. Total charging time for a Model S to cross the United States? 15 hours. I'm getting a CHAdeMO port on my Rav4 EV that will let me charge my Rav to 80% capacity in 30 or 40 minutes. That'll dramatically extend my range for weekend road trips or vacations in CA / Oregon / Washington. Stopping for say 30 - 45 minutes every 100 miles would be fine for me for now. Really it is an awesome car. If you live in CA see if you can find someone who has one to test drive. This car is a blast!!!
  3. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

    Feb 7, 2006
    eastern Pennsylvania
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Where to start. The Celica isn't going to come back as a Toyota. North America was its center of popularity. Because of that, we got the Scion tC.

    The Rav4 EV was a conversion made by Tesla for Toyota to meet CARB requirements. The original one has gained a cult following, so redoing it was likely viewed as a way to help sell it. The Toyota and Tesla partnership has come to an end, and so has the Rav4 EV.

    I agree a two seater would make more sense for the daily commuter in multiple car households, but they just aren't big sellers. In order to sell a car at a low price, a car company needs to sell them in volume to make it worthwhile. For single car households, a two seater will be passed on, limiting the potential number of buyers from the beginning. The original Insight and CR-X weren't as big as sellers as the Civic and Fit for Honda. They cancelled the CR-Z in Europe, and are hoping to save it in the US by making it a sportier, ICE only model.

    Even if the back seat is a tight fit, it is there in case the people mover car in the shop or otherwise unavailable. Plus, it gives more flexibility in carrying stuff. Even if the two seater was the same size, but it is likely smaller. At this time, being small could hurt a BEV's performance. There needs to be space for batteries. The smart fortwo ED has a range of 65 miles. This is probably why the Rav4 was originally chosen for a BEV model. A SUV simply has more spots to stick batteries in without hurting cabin or cargo space

    The smart ED is probably the least expensive BEV that can be bought. It is slowly being rolled out across the country. The ICE model gets compared to a go kart. So even if the ED isn't exactly fast, its agility could make up for it. That is if the 65 mile range is enough for a person. Then there is the Spark EV, which reviewers say drives and performs better than the ICE model, and has more than 80 miles of range. Though tiny, it is a four door with matching seats.
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    May 11, 2005
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Plug-in Base
    toyota doesn't believe in ev's right now. get a leaf or some such until they see the light. the prices have never been lower.
  5. eschatfische

    eschatfische New Member

    Apr 6, 2015
    San Francisco
    Other Non-Hybrid
    You're not taking the physical restrictions of battery packs into consideration. Sure, the difference in body weight does lessen efficiency with the larger EVs, but there can be far more room to mount a battery pack. The substantially larger area available for batteries offsets the difference in efficiency by several times, and that's one of the reasons why the Model S and the RAV4 EV are able to have substantially more range than the other EVs on the market.

    That's just not the case.

    1) As above, the space under that rear seat is filled with extra batteries, giving the RAV4 EV more range than an MR2 would have. Even if someone isn't sitting there, those extra batteries sure do help.
    2) As a family with two cars, we would prefer that both cars have more than two seats so that there is always a reasonable backup car in case one of the cars is unavailable, either because of schedule or because of maintenance.
    3) EV owners tend to gravitate towards the EV as the primary car because they're far cheaper to operate than gas cars, and even your Prius C. Sure, the RAV4 EV is less efficient than a tiny Spark EV, but it's still much more efficient than your Prius. You save a lot of money by using the EV, so you want to use it for as many trips as you can. (Hint: the RAV4 EV, after tax credits and incentives, could often be had for the cost of a similarly equipped Prius V.) (Another hint: if you own a solar system, you get "free" fuel... from the sun.)
    4) The EV offers a better driving experience than most gas cars or hybrids. Why not use it on more trips? It'd be sad to have to use the gas-burner just because there's more than two of us to haul around.

    In short, the RAV4 EV's size is a huge benefit. More size = more batteries = more power = more range and faster acceleration = more savings. The additional batteries facilitate improvements in convenience, range, and performance.

    In addition, the large size meant that fewer engineering decisions had to be made regarding retrofitting the car for EV use. Tesla didn't have to cram batteries in the trunk or literally under seats - they had plenty of room to install a fairly standard, inobtrusive sled underneath the car. They wouldn't have had that luxury with a small car.

    Now, I've driven a two-seat EV, the little Smart ED. It's fun. But range is an issue, and performance isn't as good - again, because there's less room for batteries. As a RAV4 EV owner with 30,000 miles, I can assure you, the size has been nothing but an asset to me and my family.