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.