The Japanese automaker, Toyota, has done an excellent job of electrifying the grid we call our daily commute with the ever expanding Prius family of plug-ins and Hybrid Synergy Drive power players. A prime example is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, a gas/electric crossover that was recently named the 2012 Ideal Hybrid/Electric CUV by Autobytel, Autopacific and over 75,000 new car owners. Thanks to the coming together of two great automotive visionaries Akio Toyoda of Toyota and Tesla’s Elon Musk, they might just have the 2013 Ideal Vehicle Award in the bag as well with the all new 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV.
While Akio has been pleasing enthusiasts with affordable, fun-to-drive cars like the FR-S, he is also bringing and edge back to an automaker that had started to blend in a little too much in a sea of silver metallic with the Toyota RAV4 electric crossover. At the recent RAV4 EV introduction in Newport Beach, the question everyone was asking at the welcome dinner was “Why is Akio trying to get with Tesla?” and after one jab at what would normally be called the gas pedal, the 280 lb-ft of torque pins your back into the seat and it was apparent that this oversized EV has the soul of a sports car. This is because the RAV4 EV uses the running gear from a Tesla Model S, the all new sport sedan from Elon’s electric car company.