So, if someone is in the market for a ~$50k EV, which is the better buy?
Some of the early reviews have already tagged the Rav4 EV as a plausible substitute for the base Model S, but it makes for an interesting comparison of 2 rather different cars with similar powertrains.
1. Both have essentially the same powertrain, with 40kWh in the Model S and 41.8kWh in the Rav 4, but since the Rav4 is a CUV with higher drag coefficient and possibly larger frontal area the driving range will probably be lower.
2. Model S is a little faster 0-60 and handles better due to its lower center of gravity, longer and wider wheelbase, bigger tires, etc.
3. Rav4 seems to have a lower price, but we don't yet know the options pricing. Advertised price of $49k before tax rebates vs base Model S 40 of $57.4k
4. Cargo room is similar (36.4 cu ft Rav4 vs 36.8 MS seats up; 73cf vs 66cf max cargo)
5. Rav4 is a more manageable size (width 71.5" Rav4 vs 77.3 MS; length 181.9 vs 195.9; height 66.3 vs 56.5)
6. Luxury features - I think the Model S has more choices but at a cost
7. 17" touchscreen for the Model S - a positive for some, negative for others
8. Charging options - Model S wins here, with its 240v capable UMC
9. Rav4 has better back seat headroom (39.7" vs 36.6), but 3 in the back seat may be a tight squeeze. No rear jumpseat option.
10. Availability - for now Model S wins here
11. Rav4 has built in rear seat cupholders
Source for dimensions: Edmunds, using regular 2012 Rav4