Who cares what rivals are doing?
Many automakers have announced plans for an electric crossover. Some—such as Hyundai—have gone so far as producing one. But Toyota seems unphased. Speaking to Roadshow at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, Toyota’s North American group vice president and general manager, Jack Hollis, suggested there really just isn’t enough demand to warrant the onslaught of electric vehicles. “We gave it a good run” with the RAV4 EV “but the marketplace, even today, is the marketplace really there?”
Hollis was extremely skeptical of the current narrative that has positioned electric and autonomous vehicles as the automobile’s ultimate savior. He added the company originally dropped the RAV4 EV because “the market wasn’t there to justify the expense, in order to justify what it was.” Despite the lack of success, he did say the company learned from the experience even if the lessons were negative. Unveiled back in 2012 at the Electric Vehicle Symposium, the second-generation RAV4 EV featured a Tesla-sourced powertrain that consisted of a 41.8 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that produced up to 154 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.
The electric RAV4 could travel up to 103 miles before needing to spend five hours hooked up to a 40A/240V charger, or an absurd 44 hours plugged into a standard 12A/120V household outlet. It cost a comical $49,800 It’s a smart bet from Toyota, as plug-in vehicle sales only represent around 1 percent of total US sales. While Toyota doesn’t seem sold on a new electric crossover, that doesn’t mean the company is against the technology. By 2025, each one of the company’s models will have some kind of electrified option.