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Toyota won't crush RAV4 EVs; pressure continues; KQED Perspective airs
Jul 15, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
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Here's the latest news from the dontcrush campaign:

Toyota has agreed to stop crushing salable, useable RAV4 EVs!!!! With several hundred cars left out there, this is dontcrush.com's biggest win yet, and we applaud Toyota's choice to be responsive to their customers!!!

During the course of a 2-hour meeting with Toyota today, the dontcrush.com negotiating team worked out the following points, which will be finalized in writing over the next few weeks:

  • No more usable cars will be crushed- the definition of "usable" is still to be worked out.
  • Current lessees shall have the option to continually renew their leases as long as the vehicle is usable, as defined by Toyota and the consumer.
  • Toyota will re-examine their policy of not selling fleet RAVs and attempt to give current lessees the option to purchase their vehicles outright.
  • Toyota will create a process by which RAV4 EVs deemed not salable or usable will be dismantled for parts to be used by the remaining vehicles.
  • Vehicles neither re-leased nor purchased will continue to be used; they will be sold to the public, used in the Toyota corporate fleet or made available for use by non-profit organizations.

The specifics of these points will continue to be worked out by dontcrush.com, but this is a huge victory!!! We'd like to thank everyone involved in supporting us through writing letters, providing statements, donations etc. Until these steps are finalized and put in writing, however, it's important that we will be at Power Toyota of Cerritos on Saturday, July 16, 2005, from 1-3pm: Power Toyota Cerritos 18700 Studebaker Rd Cerritos, CA 90703. Come join us in our ongoing victory - we look forward to seeing you there, and will continue to keep you posted!

CalCars supported the effort (see http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/­group/­calcars-news/­message/­64) along with so many groups and public officials listed at dontcrush.com, and we couldn't be happier with the result. Thanks to the dedicated band of advocates and drivers!

In the spirit of keeping on the pressure, tomorrow KQED 88.5FM in San Francisco and KQEI 89.3FM in Sacramento will broadcast my two-minute "Perspective" on the topic. Taped last week, you can hear it live Friday at 6:07, 7:37AM and 11:33PM and Sunday at 7:37AM

Here's the transcript:

A green guy sees red. Felix Kramer has this perspective.

Usually, I'm all for recalls. I applaud firms that take back products with problems -- like unsafe toys or toxic drugs.

But what if there IS no defect? What if a car maker just wants to repossess electric cars that drivers now lease and love?

THAT kind of recall makes a green guy like me see red!

Who's the repo man? Can Toyota, that pioneer of clean cars, really treat smoothly running, silent vehicles like piles of empty beer cans?

Alas, it's true. According to dontcrush.com, Toyota plans to take back hundreds of electric SUVs as soon as their leases expire.

I don't get it. Why can't Toyota just let RAV4 EV drivers buy the zero-gas cars they now lease? They're a passionate bunch. Indeed, one recently announced, paraphrasing Charlton Heston, "You'll have to pry my keys from my cold, dead hands."

Recently, Ford agreed to sell ITS Ranger EVs to leaseholders -- after being excused from liability and lifelong service. Why won't Toyota cut the same deal? The company offers lame excuses about being short on replacement parts. But here they're crushing their best supply of spares. Important people are asking questions. State EPA Secretary Alan Lloyd, who helped get Toyota incentives for introducing EVs, has encouraged the firm to do the right thing. State Senator Sheila Kuehl has called on Toyota to hang onto its image of "corporate responsibility and concern for public health."

Some RAV4 EVs recharge from rooftop photovoltaic systems and emit nothing. Those that run on California's electricity are two-thirds cleaner than gasoline cars. And contrary to the prevailing wisdom, even when fueled by our dirty, half coal, national grid, they're forty percent lower in greenhouse gases.

Still, Toyota treats these SUVs like black sheep. RAV4 EVs do THEIR part for energy independence. They deserve honor, as predecessors of today's popular hybrids -- and future advanced hybrids with the option to plug in.

Please, Toyota, don't crush your creations -- the cars that people love to refuel at home.

With a perspective, I'm Felix Kramer.

Felix Kramer is founder of CalCars.org, a group that just turned a Toyota Prius into a 100+miles per gallon plug-in hybrid.


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