A Look At The Homebrew Toyota RAV4 EVs Already Out There

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
a look at the homebrew toyota rav4 evs already out there

Despite Toyota’s announcement of a new generation of RAV4 EV, mostly for CARB compliance, it seems that RAV4 EV production has never really stopped – at least not on a one-off basis.

Brian Driggs of Gearbox Magazine went looking through EVAlbum’s catalog of enthusiast-created RAV4 EV conversions. Some of them look identical to a standard RAV4, while others are more intricate. Witness the RAV4 EV, that appears to be a Toyota original. The big difference is that this photo, apparently dated in 2001, shows the RAV4 EV towing a trailer. Within the trailer is a Kawasaki 500cc parallel-twin motorcycle engine that powers an A/C generator. Range extender anyone? Yes, it’s a little crude, but also somewhat ingenious.

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  • Multicam Multicam on May 10, 2012

    I feel like I'm losing it. An electric vehicle that pulls around an ICE on a trailer to recharge its electric engine... So do they also re-route the RAV4's gas tank to the trailer through a hose? Can the trailer be running and recharge the RAV4 while moving?

    • Alex French Alex French on May 10, 2012

      The trailer holds its own fuel tank. Engines are most efficient at a certain load, so it ends up being more efficient to use the battery + motor to handle the varying loads encountered in driving, while the engine runs in its sweet spot and spins the generator.

  • HankScorpio HankScorpio on May 10, 2012

    I don't know how you would ever reverse with that trailer. It is too small to see in any of your mirrors and even if you had a rearview camera, it is so short it will still be near impossible to back up. Also, I have always wanted to have a silent electric car that is constantly being followed by a sport bike revved to its peak powerband. It would be even better if it revved up and down while you were at a stoplight. It would be like cruising the strip everywhere you go.

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    • APaGttH APaGttH on May 11, 2012

      @KixStart The average car buying slob would never do this.

  • Namstrap Namstrap on May 10, 2012

    Seems a long time ago now, but I used to work at a Volvo dealership. I remember seeing pictures of Volvos during the war dragging trailers behind them burning coal (I think) which produced gas to feed the car engine.

  • Dave W Dave W on May 12, 2012

    How about this for something to chew on. http://www.mrsharkey.com/pusher.htm He took the front of a Rabbit, turned it into a trailer, and uses it to push his EV either for straight range extension, or using the regen to charge the batteries.