Toyota Motor Corp., the biggest maker of hybrid autos, said its electric RAV4 sport utility vehicle with batteries and motor from Tesla Motors Inc. will cost more than twice as much as the gasoline version.
Toyota will sell the RAV4 EV for $49,800 this year in California, and plans to deliver 2,600 units over the next three years, the company said Monday at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. The base price of a 2012 RAV4 with a 2.5-liter gasoline engine is $22,650 on Toyota’s website.
“We think the 2,600 unit figure is reasonable for this product. We want to set a precedent to see how the market develops,” Bob Carter, Toyota’s group vice president of U.S. sales, said in an interview. “This is going to be the market’s only electric SUV.”
Toyota, which bought a $50 million stake in Palo Alto, California-based Tesla in 2010, is under pressure to sell the most rechargeable vehicles in California to meet state pollution rules. Along with the electric RAV4, Toyota has already begun selling a plug-in version of its Prius hybrid and also plans to deliver battery-powered iQ minicars to fleet customers.
From this year through 2014, Toyota, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have to deliver about 60,000 plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars combined to meet California’s zero-emission vehicle mandate. Toyota must deliver the most rechargeable vehicles because it has the largest market share in the state.
The base price of the RAV4 EV, which will vie with Nissan’s Leaf and Ford’s electric Focus, doesn’t include a $7,500 federal tax credit and $2,500 California rebate, said Jana Hartline, a Toyota spokeswoman.
Prius again top seller
Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid was the best-selling vehicle in Japan in April for the 11th straight month, with sales rising 4.5-fold from a year earlier to 21,906 units, industry bodies said Tuesday.
Hybrid cars were popular thanks to the reinstatement of the government’s eco-car subsidy program, according to reports from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.
Toyota’s Aqua compact hybrid ranked second with sales of 18,481 units, while Prius sales were buoyed by the Prius Alpha wagon and minivan versions of the hybrid, and the plug-in Prius PHV, they said.
Honda Motor Co.’s N Box light vehicle came in third with sales of 16,928 units.