Toyota Rav4 Prime - Great Concept Not so great delivery

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,993
Northern NH
Long in 1997 before Tesla in the early era of electric vehicles Toyota made a battery EV RAV 4 for leaser in CA they didnt lease many (1400) . The ones that did make it out in the market were very popular (but pricey), off lease ones ones when they came up sold for about the original asking price. No doubt Toyota lost money on everyone they leased but it bought them some PR. Subsequently Toyota has been in the hybrid market with the Prius for years and has dipped their toes into the market with the Prius prime but their corporate policy is that an all battery drivetrain is not a good fi and they are banking on fuel cell hydrogen technology.

They did recently come out with the Rav 4 Prime. Its good fit for my use and lot of others as its a SUV AWD chassis (Priuses are miserable in areas that get snow due to low ground clearance and tight fenderwells that can ice up). The RAV4 is plug in hybrid with 40 miles of EV capacity. This gets rid of range anxiety for us rural folks but gives us enough power for electric local runs. For those who want fast acceleration its got quite bit of power (obviously at a cost of gas and battery range). It also still qualifies for the $7.500 federal battery credit. I do a lot of outdoors trips (precovid) and many of my destinations do not have plug in options and if I add in occasional stops for battery charging it cuts down on my range substantially for weekend and day trips. It also fits into my current work which is mostly from home but soon to be frequent 400 to 500 mile day trips to check on projects every couple of weeks.

So its sounds intriguing and may be worth taking a further look. I start checking availability and quickly find "limited availability in most markets". For the first model year they are shipping a grand total of 5000 of these to the US with most going to California. Supposedly it may be less as they have Covid issues in the supply chain. This of course is buried way down in the advertising. They claim that next model year they may ship 20K of them. The dealers know it and many have 10K markups on the few that are out there.

Sure looks to me like advertising and they really could care less about actually selling them.:( No doubt the Prime will be to get folks in the door and then they will be pointed at the mild hybrid version without the battery pack.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,311
SE PA
Totally agree. Compliance car. For now.

Year ago folks were saying that all the (non-Tesla) EVs were concept cars, sold in <10k/yr amounts. the LEAF, Volt and Bolt got up to 20k-ish. I scoffed. Now I'm not so sure.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
520
SE North Carolina
I’d be interested in an electric hybrid that seats 6 plus a dog crate and could tow 4000 pounds. Looks like the 2021 Sienna is hybrid..... just let me pay off my current van and then keep it long enough to feel I got all my money back from the extended warranty they sold me.... we own a RAV4 FWD love it if was a plug-in!
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,993
Northern NH
I think I saw the Rav 4 Prime rated for 2500 pounds. Usually the limiting factor is frame strength and braking capacity.

With respect to CA specific EVs, claims are made that the major revenue source for Tesla US and the new plant in Germany is payment from other auto firms so they do not need to build EVs. At one point Fiat was selling a electric in CA and the CEO claimed they were subsidizing it for double its sales price.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,311
SE PA
I think I saw the Rav 4 Prime rated for 2500 pounds. Usually the limiting factor is frame strength and braking capacity.

With respect to CA specific EVs, claims are made that the major revenue source for Tesla US and the new plant in Germany is payment from other auto firms so they do not need to build EVs. At one point Fiat was selling a electric in CA and the CEO claimed they were subsidizing it for double its sales price.
Sure. The increasing CAFE standards (now likely reinstated) require the auto makers to either sell fewer gas guzzling trucks (a profit center) or sell tiny high MPG gas econboxes or competitive EVs. Or they can pay Tesla for credits if they don't.

I think this is (regulated) capitalism in action. But it does mean that the majors can lose money per EV they sell, and it still makes sense by offsetting some of their credit purchase budget.

Part of the problem is amortizing engineering costs by small sales numbers. That was never going to make sense. Getting the sales volume up is key for the majors to make a real go and stop subsidizing Tesla. But then they need to buy batteries from somewhere, and the supply on those is limited, esp for the cutting edge ones. Quite a bind.

And the pressure keeps building with the higher CAFE mandates.