This Tesla Product Just Got Discounted


Toyota's RAV4 EV features an electric drivetrain and battery systems that were designed and built by Tesla Motors. Photo credit: Toyota.

It seems like a formula for electric-car success: Take one of your most popular gas-powered models, and have the whizzes at Tesla Motors  (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) convert it to all-electric power using their own special high-tech sauce.

It may seem like a great idea, but the reality hasn't worked out so well for Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) and the Tesla-powered electric version of its RAV4 SUV. Last week, Toyota announced big incentives on the battery-operated RAV4, and in this video, Fool.com contributor John Rosevear looks at why this winning formula isn't working out so well in practice.

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  • Report this Comment On September 04, 2013, at 7:29 PM, btc909 wrote:

    Even with the revised leasing pricing this was a bad deal.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 9:00 AM, RustySlade wrote:

    People who buy a Tesla model S have money. . .They don't want a bland SUV without 200+ miles of range.

    And you can't get a slick 200+ mile range car for less than 70K it seems.

    When I see a Tesla Model S on the road, they are not stuck in traffic dealing with a commute. . .. They are typically seen in the daytime with a house wife driving them around. . . .This is a bad sign because it speaks volumes about who uses them and their intended use.. . . i.e.. . The car was not purchased for getting to and from work.

    It tells me people would rather buy a Prius for general purpose commuting as the Tesla Model S seems to be a toy for the rich.

    Tesla is still a short the moment they spend a gob of money on CapEx to expand production on their next model. . . .. . Their debt servicing will become untenable without further issuance of stock.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 10:30 AM, rhealth wrote:

    Deja Vu! The electric Rav4 was produced from 1997-2003 and was fairly popular for it's limited production. The RAV4 was a smaller cute SUV for ladies. The one pictured above looks meh.

    Also weight is a huge issue for electric vehicles. That things got to weigh quite a bit.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 11:20 AM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    Toyota built the Rav4 EV just for the California market because of their laws (green tax credits). Over all it's not a bad concept but I'm not sure if it's the right vehicle for that market.

    Of course almost every EV being sold today has been discounted. Only the Tesla, the most expensive one, hasn't been. That says something about the market. People who have $30k to spend are looking for a vehicle that can do everything they need. That's go to work or go on a long trip. It also should be a red flag for anyone who thinks that a cheap Tesla is going to sell great.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 2:31 PM, olanmills wrote:

    @RustySlade, I use my Model S to get to and from work every day, and I know many others are use for that same purpose because I see them during my commute and in corporate parking lots.

    The reason you see them a lot outside if this is probably because the Model S is an expensive car, so there are indeed many owners who dont have that 9-5 lifestyle. However, dismissing the product for this reason would be like dismissing cell phones or flat screen TVs as they were also once only toys for the rich.

    Besides, if you are seeing them around during the day, etc, then that must mean you also don't have a typical 9-5 lifestyle, so you are bound to see more of the drivers in that situation.

    As for the article, I called this a long time ago. The RAV4 EV simply isn't a great product. It wasn't made with the best intentions and design, it was just made so that Toyota could have an EV. Thus, the only people who it really appeals to are the consumers who desire an electric drive train at the very top of the list of things they want in a car, which is not that many people.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2013, at 3:30 PM, n8larson wrote:

    "The RAV4 was a smaller cute SUV for ladies. "

    Curious comment. I chose the category and then the Rav4 based on its AWD, fuel economy, cargo area configuration, and most of all, because it's easy to park. Outside cost constraints, a car should be everything you want and nothing you don't. I don't need big horsepower or big cargo. Then again, as a married gent, I guess I'm in the enviable position of not having to care which gender my car is for. Of the Rav4s I see on the road, I'd say only around 60% are being driven by "ladies".

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