Toyota Tests the Market With These New Vehicles

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) said Monday it plans to sell just 2,600 RAV4 electric vehicles over the next three years, though fuel prices are likely to remain high.

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Many automakers are pulling back on the electric push as customers continue to buy traditional, gas-powered vehicles. Toyota sells about 15,000 gas-powered RAV4s every month in the U.S., where it is the company’s best-selling SUV.

Jointly developed with Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), the RAV4 has a starting price of $49,800, more than the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, or Ford (NYSE:F) Focus Electric. But new RAV4 EV is the only all-electric SUV on the market, so why isn’t it selling better?

The front-wheel drive RAV4 EV allows drivers to switch from Sport to Normal driving modes, allowing those in the former to go from zero to sixty miles per hour in second seconds flat, and cruise at a maximum speed of 100mph. Normal mode achieves 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a maximum speed of 85 mph.

The new RAV4 EV goes on sale this summer, but despite the many points in its favor, Toyota doesn’t have high expectations for the one-of-a-kind electric vehicle, which will only be available through select dealers, initially in four major California metropolitan markets: Los Angeles/Orange County, San Dieago, Sacramento, and the San Francisco Bay area.

California has new regulations that require automakers to produce zero-emission cars in the state. By 2025, one-in-seven new autos sold in California must be zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles. For that reason, and because Toyota foresees higher demand from consumers who care about the environment, the company is looking forward to better sales in years to come.

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