Toyota has developed a policy to keep the ever-popular RAV4 Electric Vehicles (EVs) in service for as long as they are in good working condition. The RAV4 EV is a fully electric, zero-emission, battery-powered vehicle that has been an integral part of Toyota’s fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles. RAV4 EV has helped with testing the technologies that have been incorporated into Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. It featured advanced nickel-metal hydride batteries, a reliable electric drive-train, an early edition of the energy-saving regenerative braking, and a computerized power management system. RAV4 drivers pushed the issue with Toyota, through demonstrations backed by numerous environmental organizations, to stop crushing the RAV4s when their lease was over.

Rav4 EV

The Toyota RAV4 Electric Vehicle. Photo Courtesy:

Toyota shares the commitment to keep their environmentally advanced vehicles on the road as long as practical. Therefore, Toyota is communicating about its policy on supporting the U.S. RAV4 EV fleet. The policy includes procedures for sales and leasing, recycling, spare parts, and more. Some of the elements of this policy are new, but most have been in effect for years. Highlights include:

  • RAV4 EVs are not being removed from service based solely on age or lease expiration.
  • If the vehicle in operation is sustainable, Toyota is offering extensions on fleet leases, and private individuals have the option to renew their leases, purchase their RAV4 EVs, or return them, at their option.
  • RAV4 EVs that are returned to Toyota and are determined to be supportable and safe to operate will be put back into service. They may enter the Toyota company fleet or be donated to community groups, including national and state parks. Determination of the usability of returned RAV4 EVs will be based on overall condition and the status of specific parts and systems such as the battery pack, inverter, and charging components.
  • RAV4 EVs that are taken out of service will undergo a thorough recycling process to maximize recovery of materials while reducing exposure of substances of concern.
  • Toyota is planning to make more replacement parts available for RAV4 EVs, some new, and perhaps some used.

Several other automobile manufacturers have similar policies in place for their alternative fuel vehicles. Ford Motor Company was the first to stop crushing and instead sell their workable US fleet of Th!nk City electric cars. In January of 2005, an 8-day vigil at a Sacramento dealer convinced Ford to sell leaseholders their all-electric RangerEV pickup trucks. And a month-long vigil in Burbank, CA to save 78 General Motors EV1s gained nationwide attention to the cause.

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