Toyota today announced their 2016 Toyota RAV4 lineup, and instead of reinstating the RAV4 EV (as many of us want Toyota to do) the company added a RAV4 Hybrid to the line. It means Toyota now has eight hybrid cars in its complete car line. While this results in a proper SUV with 33 MPG combined fuel efficiency, it means that Toyota is sticking with Hybrid vehicles as the solution.
Toyota spends a large part of the press release bragging about their success with hybrid vehicles. Toyota has spent the last couple years backing away from electric vehicles, like the RAV4 EV, and moving to fuel cell vehicles like the ultra expensive low production volume Mirai, while insisting that hybrid cars are the way. They even seem to have ditched the Toyota Plug-in Prius in 2016.
The hybrid drive train does add some capabilities to the RAV4 Hybrid. Toyota claims the Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i) will help drivers navigate inclement weather. The hybrid drive train delivers combined 194 system horsepower and zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds (nearly one second quicker than its gas counterparts).
I don’t have the Gen2 Toyota RAV4 EV specs on hand, but I think that car had better performance than this. That’d be due to the Tesla drive train under the hood. While there’d been a rumor Toyota and Tesla would develop a new electric car in a couple years, after the Gigafactory is going, that plan will have been canceled since Toyota sold off their stake in Tesla Motors.
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