Toyota confirmed Wednesday that “unexpected battery provide constraints” could preserve its RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid in brief provide by at the very least the tip of this yr. 

The automaker had acknowledged final month that it might be focusing on 20,000 RAV4 Prime gross sales per yr within the U.S., with an preliminary 5,000 deliveries anticipated by the tip of 2020. 

That was earlier than our first drive of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime, after we discovered this perky plug-in mannequin to be every little thing households have to go gasoline-free more often than not.

With its affirmation of the provision pinch, Toyota stated that the problem impacts initially deliberate manufacturing quantity and it goals to extend availability of the mannequin within the close to future. But Toyota did not present any data on deliberate manufacturing ranges for 2021 presently. 

Regardless of the manufacturing hitch, the RAV4 Prime will likely be made obtainable nationally, not simply in California ZEV states, and it’ll nonetheless begin arriving all through the U.S. this month however will likely be “restricted in availability.”

“Our plan is to allocate RAV4 Prime to all states as effectively and strategically as attainable, whereas additionally assembly our regulatory ZEV necessities by prioritizing particular areas with the next demand for plug-in automobiles,” Toyota stated in a response supplied to Inexperienced Automotive Stories. 

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime first drive. - July 2020

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime first drive. – July 2020

In the meantime, as the primary few RAV4 Primes are reaching dealerships, our companion website CarsDirect earlier within the week reported that some sellers are allegedly marking up costs by a number of thousand {dollars}—as much as, in at the very least one case, greater than $10,000 above MSRP. 

“As a result of our sellers are impartial enterprise house owners, the ultimate transaction worth would be the results of interactions between the client and the supplier,” Toyota stated in response to questions on worth gouging. “Our gross sales teams and regional places of work will concentrate on transaction costs and can seek the advice of with our sellers as wanted.”

The RAV4 Prime begins at $39,220, together with the $1,120 vacation spot payment, and when you can declare the $7,500 EV tax credit score plus a state incentive reminiscent of the extra $1,000 rebate you will get in California, the RAV4 Prime might effectively cost less than a comparably geared up RAV4 Hybrid. 

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime first drive. - July 2020

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime first drive. – July 2020

Lithium-ion cells for the Prime’s 18.1-kwh liquid-cooled pack are coming from a newly formed joint venture between Panasonic and Toyota, referred to as Prime Planet Power & Options, Inc. The Prime went on sale in June in Japan and it’s due for deliveries in Europe later within the yr. It’s not clear how the provision difficulty impacts that rollout. 

The Prime delivers one thing the market has lengthy been asking for and none of its rivals quite deliver. It begins with the top-selling crossover SUV within the U.S., matches it with 42 all-electric, all-wheel-drive EV mode miles for the commute and a 38-mpg ranking for Hybrid mode street journeys—with faster acceleration than something within the Toyota lineup besides the Supra sports activities automobile. And it carries ahead Toyota’s unmatched repute for hybrids, conserving it related presently when plugging in is slowly however certainly catching on. 

If Toyota can produce the Prime at a tempo that meets demand, it has the potential to attach Toyota’s hybrid strengths to the electrical future, at scale. With out it, there’s doubtlessly a lot to lose.