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20 Electric Cars That Arrived Before The Tesla

Cameron EittreimOctober 22, 2019

Toyota Fine S via Bing
Toyota Fine S via Bing

3. Toyota Fine-S Concept

Toyota is the carmaker that revolutionized the world with the Prius. This was obviously the first mass-produced hybrid car that just about anyone could own. But Toyota was also the first brand to design an all-electric sports car. Where do we start with the Fine-S Concept? The car is a unique blend of sportiness and functionality. In fact, the concept was a line of different concept cars in a serious. You had the Fine-S, which was the sport concept, and then you had a hatchback variation as well.

Toyota was shooting for a conceptual design with this one. When you look at the Fine-S Concept, you know that the car is far too advanced for production. But the Fine-S Concept still managed to show off what kind of technology Toyota was capable of getting their hands on. The car was sleek and managed to offer some excitement at a time when electric cars were still on the horizon. We like what the Fine-S Concept has to offer, and it’s one of the more memorable electric car concepts of the last decade.

RAV4 EV via Bing
RAV4 EV via Bing

2. RAV4 EV (First Generation)

Right as GM was marketing the EV-1 as a viable electric car to consumers, Toyota also introduced a massively popular electric vehicle. The RAV4 EV was the first electric consumer vehicle that was based on a gasoline model and featured a completely functional interior. The RAV4 EV was mostly confined to California, although fleet models made their way to some other locations around the country. Almost everything about the RAV4 EV was the same as the production model except for a tailpipe.

There were a total of 1,484 RAV4 EV models that hit the market during the original run, and 1200 of these cars are still in use today. From a design standpoint, the RAV4 EV wasn’t a revolution, and shoppers liked that. The RAV4 EV was a practical electric car that you could drive anywhere and it didn’t make you feel like you were in a spaceship. It also helped that the RAV4 EV hit the market at a time when SUV models were selling like hotcakes.

RAV4 EV via Bing
RAV4 EV via Bing

1. RAV4 EV (Second Generation)

Another limited run of RAV4 EV models hit the market for a second time. The second generation of the RAV4 EV kept the same magic that made the original model a success story. 2,489 examples of the second generation RAV4 EV were sold over a few years. The interesting part of the story is that the second generation of the RAV4 EV was developed in conjunction with Tesla. The little SUV had all of the features that made the first model a success and the low-key styling was a hit with shoppers. The RAV4 EV second generation also featured a third-row seat.

The RAV4 EV captured a portion of the electric market. You’ll still see the second generation RAV4 EV driving around California and these cars are exceptionally reliable. If you wanted the joys of owning a RAV4 and the thrill of an electric vehicle, the RAV4 EV was a ride that you could feel good about driving. We have to wonder if there will be a third-generation RAV4 EV soon.

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