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Somebody Please Explain Why the RAV4 EV Isn’t a Big Hit

As previously reported, Toyota is offering dramatic discounts on the RAV4 EV all-electric crossover SUV. Sales of the vehicle have been meager, so the implied message is that consumers aren’t interested in the RAV4 EV. A few weeks ago, I drove the car again—through a one-week loan from Toyota—and I was just as blown away as my two previous times behind the wheel. (See my drive review, from exactly a year ago, in The New York Times.) Frankly, I don’t understand why the RAV4 EV isn’t the most sought-after EV on the market.

Do consumers not understand that the RAV4 EV has Tesla underpinnings—and is therefore, in essence, the least expensive way to own a new Tesla? When I put the RAV4 EV into Sport mode, and stomped on the accelerator, it provided nearly all the madcap thrill of being in a Roadster or Model S. The RAV4 EV is seriously (and in my hands, perhaps even dangerously) fast.

Now combine that driving fun with a 41.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which grants 120 miles or more of driving range.


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