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Toyota To Introduce Updated RAV4 Plug-In Electric Vehicle

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 11:15 am by Solar Energy USA

Toyota recently announced it was bringing back its RAV4 Electric Vehicle (EV) small SUV model. Under a new partnership with Tesla Motors, the second-generation RAV4 EV will get its electric powertrain, rechargeable battery pack, and related components from the California-based EV manufacturer famous for the sporty all-electric Tesla Roadster.


The new RAV4 EV is expected to be available in December 2012 or early 2013, and will have a driving range of 100 miles according to the Toyota website. Toyota introduced its first-generation RAV4 EV in 1997 with just under 1,500 units being produced, the majority of which were leased. Around half of the first-gen RAV4 EVs are still on the road today, including one owned by a Solar Energy USA residential solar customer in Georgia.


This year more and more automotive manufacturers are unveiling plug-in vehicles, like the RAV4 EV, which are becoming popular because they use electricity as fuel and can be recharged using a standard home electrical outlet. The two most popular plug-in vehicles thus far are the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. Tesla makes a number of plug-in vehicles, some of which can go up to 300 miles on a single charge. Toyota is also introducing a plug-in version of the gas-sipping Prius which comes with a solar powered ventilation system.

In 2011 the Toyota manufacturing plant in Derbyshire, United Kingdom installed a 4MW (megawatt) 17,000 solar panel power plant to provide some 4.6 million kWh (kilowatt hours) of power each year, or enough power to make 7,000 Toyota Auris hybrids (similar to a hybrid version of the Toyota Corolla). “Generating solar power on-site to supply electricity to the plant underlines our commitment to do even more to further reduce our carbon footprint and is yet another example of our environmental leadership,” said Tony Walker, deputy managing director at Toyota Manufacturing UK.  Toyota also has 2 solar powered offices in North America including a 536kW solar roof in Torrence, California installed in 2002 and another large rooftop photovoltaic solar installation atop their Ontario, Canada distribution center.


Solar Energy USA offers Level 2 EV charging stations which recharge plug-in vehicles twice as quickly than a standard Level 1 home charging station as well as residential solar panels to produce energy for powering an electric car.