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Toyota provides two conflicting numbers for RAV4 plug-in hybrid all-electric range

When Toyota announced pricing for its new RAV4 plug-in hybrid in late May, the company’s press release pegged the “manufacturer-estimated” all-electric range at 42 miles. However, the Toyota RAV4 Prime consumer website lists 39 miles of all-electric range.

One on hand, the 7.5% difference between the two is inconsequential. After all, how you drive and charge will have a greater impact than any reasonable absolute number.

However, the all-electric range could matter to consumers stacking up the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid against the Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid.

Ford stuck to the tried-and-true EPA-estimated all-electric range for the Escape PHEV: 37 miles on a single charge.

As we pointed out yesterday, the two competing plug-in hybrid crossovers offer very similar specs. The comparison on the all-electric range, if using the lower of Toyota’s two numbers, will be nearly identical at 37 and 39 miles. Here’s the language from the Toyota press release:

The RAV4 Prime also has up to a manufacturer-estimated 42 miles on battery alone on a single charge, making it the highest EV range of any PHEV SUV on the market.

Ford’s announcement yesterday trumpeted the Escape plug-in’s 100 MPGe efficiency rating, claiming that it beat Toyota by 6 MPGe. But a footnote on Toyota’s consumer page for the RAV4 Prime explains that the “manufacturer-estimated” plug-in crossover gets 90 MPGe. So the Escape likely has a slightly bigger advantage over the RAV4 on efficiency than even Ford described.

Electrek reached out to Toyota to clarify its range and efficiency numbers, but the company has not yet replied.

Carmakers adjust these numbers all the time. For example, Porsche voluntarily lowered the Taycan’s official range numbers from 201 to 191 miles.

Again, the net effect for efficiency and emissions of the shifting numbers can be negligible. Yet, the optics of getting past 40 miles for a plug-in hybrid and 200 miles for an EV could offer a marketing advantage for an automaker.

Electrek’s Take

Efficiency and range numbers for an EV and PHEV are imprecise measurements. But honesty should count for something. Porsche voluntarily lowered its numbers to set certain expectations with consumers. And Ford used official EPA numbers.

Meanwhile, Toyota offered a “manufacturer-estimated” range number, which was picked up by countless websites.

Maybe the discrepancy in Toyota’s numbers is an oversight — and the 42-mile all-electric range will stick as the official EPA range. We won’t know for sure until we see numbers post on the DOE’s website.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.