Toyota Just Dipping Its Toe in EV Market

Detroit News - May 7, 2012

Sales of elec­tric vehi­cles remains painful­ly slow in the U.S. March sales were trend­ing in a pos­i­tive direc­tion as gaso­line prices peaked, only to slide back in April. Even though the plug-in Prius mod­el is doing well when com­pared to the Nis­san Leaf and Chevro­let Volt, out sell­ing the com­pe­ti­tion in April, sales vol­ume was low at 1,654 units. Per­haps this is the rea­son Toy­ota has decid­ed to lim­it pro­duc­tion of the new RAV4-EV to 2,600 units over the next three years and to sell them only in Cal­i­for­nia.

The RAV4-EV will go on sale lat­er this sum­mer in four met­ro­pol­i­tan areas of Cal­i­for­nia through select deal­ers. This strat­e­gy seems designed to meet man­dates by the state of Cal­i­for­nia for zero-emis­sions vehi­cles. Reg­u­la­tors in Cal­i­for­nia have approved a plan that would require 15.4% of new vehi­cles sold in the state be elec­tric, fuel-cell, or plug-in hybrid vehi­cles by 2025. Automak­ers, includ­ing Toy­ota, have a long way to go. As usu­al­ly hap­pens, states in the North­east will like­ly fol­low the lead of Cal­i­for­nia.

One oth­er imped­i­ment for the Toy­ota RAV4-EV is price. At a start­ing MSRP of $48,800, it is the most expen­sive EV offer­ing of the full-line brands.

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