2012 Toyota RAV4 EV

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV

When I took the wheel of the Toyota RAV4 EV during an event in Los Angeles, two things stuck out: a Prius shifter on the console and the all-digital instrument cluster. Clearly, this SUV would not be a typical RAV4. That feeling was accentuated when pushing the start button produced a silent system check, the car booting up, as opposed to the crank of an internal combustion engine.

The exterior of the RAV4 EV also offered a few clues to the nature of its drive train, not least of which were the EV and Electric logos on all sides. By comparison, the lack of a large front grille seemed almost subtle. One cue that few would notice without a spec sheet was the LED low-beam headlights, tucked away in their casings next to standard projector high beams. Toyota made a smart move here, reducing energy usage on the low beams, while reducing costs on the high beams, which get less use.

The fueling hatch was in the same place as on a standard RAV4, the left rear fender, but it hid a charging port rather than a fuel filler. This location seemed a little inconvenient for typical charging stations, which usually sit at the front of a parking space. However, every charging cable I have seen would be long enough to stretch down the length of the RAV4 EV.

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