Rav4EV FAQ (Owner - 2002(3) and earlier)
The Following links will jump you to the relevant spot on this page. Scrolling through the page will allow you to read all info.
Please note that this page exists because of the invaluable input from so many knowledgeable drivers. I just collect the knowledge and store it here for everybody's benefit. If you have something to add/subtract/correct, please don't hesitate to me at: info at evnut dot com.
Batteries and charging.
About the vehicle (Misc?).
Toyota service and warranty.
What do the LEDs on the TAL charger indicate?
A: The single white LED indicates that charging is taking place, no matter the SOC. If no green LEDs are lit, then the SOC of the vehicle is between zero and 24%. When the first green LED lights, the SOC is at 25%. The second green LED indicates 50%, the third green LED indicates 75% and the fourth green LED will light when 95% SOC has been reached. If all four green LEDs are lit and the white indicator has extinguished, then charging completed after 100% SOC was reached. I have heard from several drivers who assume that they are "empty" when no green LEDs light when they first plug in. In fact, the pack could be at 24% SOC without that first green LED being lit. Note: Both the analog SOC gage on the dash and Rav4INFO are active when the vehicle is being charged. Use one or the other if higher resolution of the SOC is required.)
What happens during charging with a TAL charger?
A: Lots of stuff!
Tell me about battery temps, input voltage, power and current during charging.
A: 208V (typically one leg of 3-phase commercial power) will send about 5.0 kW to the batteries, and 240V (residential) will send about 5.6 kW. In a typical charge cycle from near empty, you will see the current slowly ramp up to about 17A to begin the charge. The current will fall off as the pack fills, and just before the pack is full, you will see about 15A (and 15V on the batteries). The current tapers off because the charging algorithm is keyed to constant power. If the average battery temperature is over about 100° F, a 208V source may only let your charger deliver 13.5-13.7A or a lot less than 4KW (this is due to the power being bled off to run the battery fans on high). If the batteries are over about 120° F, the charging will be delayed while the fans (using shore power) come on to bring the battery temps down. Long wire runs to the charger (10-3 extension cords, anybody?) will lower the voltage available to the charger and will slow the rate of charge.
Q: Does leaving
the paddle in the charge port cause the Aux battery to run down?
A: No, not that we can determine. The perceived danger of running down the 12V battery while connected to the charger seems to come from two sources:
To date, the tales of the 12V battery discharging while the car was sitting connected to a charger have been tracked back to one of the above two circumstances. As the Aux battery ages, we're sure to see more "won't start" situations. The factory battery is barely up to the job - even Toyota admits this.
will work for the Aux?
A: The Aux battery is type 35. The official, higher-capacity replacement battery is Toyota PN 00544-35060-550, a Truestart battery. Others have found batteries at Sears, Costco - anywhere that batteries are sold. Nothing special about the battery - it just has to fit, and the posts have to be in the proper orientation, same as for the 1996-2000 gasoline version of the Rav4. One specific option for about $60 is Duralast 35-DL from AutoZone. A second recommendation is for an Odyssey PC1400. I personally replaced my Aux with a Yellow Top Optima.
My old Aux battery tests "OK" - why are some people still telling me to put in a new one to solve a problem I'm having?
A: Because even an older battery that tests "OK" still might not be up to the job of keeping the Rav4EV working properly. Many odd, seemingly unrelated issues in the Rav are due to an Aux battery that is not 100% healthy. Though the Aux battery is charged by the DC-DC converter while the car is running and while it is charging, a less-than-perfect Aux battery can cause the car to "Ready-off" while driving. It can cause a no "Ready-on" situation. It can cause early charge termination. It can cause erratic behavior from the charge timer. In short, an unhealthy Aux battery can leave you stranded in a car that has enough energy in the traction pack to run your house! It appears that Rav4EVs and Aux battery problems will always coexist. The RAV problems are likely due to one or more design defects in the car. Some systems seem unable to tolerate what are perfectly normal voltage fluctuations in a 12 volt automotive battery system.
The 12 Volt Aux battery in the Rav4EV is a starter battery, optimized to start an Internal Combustion Engine. It is designed to occasionally deliver hundreds of amps of current to a starter motor for a short time, then be immediately recharged at a moderate rate. The Aux battery in the Rav never does this, but just supports loads from ECUs and accessories. Holding voltage under parasitic load conditions and over variations in temperature etc is not the forte of a starter battery. An ICE starter motor and all of the electronics and electrics in a typical car need to be designed to operate over a wide voltage range. The Rav4EV designers seem to have missed a few items, or incorrectly assumed that the chosen components would work well enough with the assumed stable Voltage in an EV.
The RAV Aux is basically dormant as far as starter battery service, it never sees a load anything like a starter motor, but is instead apparently called on to do something it was never designed to do - to hold voltage after hours of steady parasitic loads running timers and control circuits.What may be a great starter battery, built to start an ICE in sub zero temperatures, may be a lousy RAV Aux battery. IMHO the best RAV Aux battery is a cheap one. When it starts getting unreliable in the RAV, put it out to pasture in an ICE car or some other application where it can be useful.
Q: How much energy does the battery pack hold?
A: About 26 kWh
From http://www.fueleconomy.gov (EPA):
From the DOE http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/2002_Toyota_Rav4.shtml
Q: How much current
does this thing draw/generate?
A: Rough (and variable) measurements:
Real World driving:
The DC-DC converter is capable of about 1200W. Should be enough to support 1000WAC load if using an inverter off the 12V battery with the car in READY mode.
Q: How do I
reset my SOC meter and force the pack to level?
A: For unknown reasons, the internal SOC meter in the Rav can sometimes get confused and show up to 35% SOC on the gages (analog and Rav4INFO) while in reality, the pack is completely discharged! In this instance, you are not warned with the charge light, the turtle or anything. No reduced performance, just a complete vehicle shut down. Power cycling will get it going again, but not for long! To reset the meter, and rebalance the pack, the car needs to be charged to 100%, left to self discharge at least overnight, and have the process repeated for at least three cycles (better to go five or more if possible).... all without driving the vehicle in between cycles. After doing this, it is best to drive the car down to under 5% SOC to be sure you have your full range again before you NEED it.
Q: What does Rav4INFO tell me about my battery health? Tips and Tricks? Mounting Options?
A: Lots of stuff! See the page here
Q: What are some of the common charging problems and their solutions?
A: As our cars age, we are discovering more frequent charging issues. These issues seem to boil down to one of three main (and correctable) problems with the car. In short, the problems are usually: Input capacitor, charge port fan, vent screens or AUX battery. The final point discusses the bad charger. Below, I have listed these five common situations.
Q: What is "short charging" and what are the benefits and drawbacks?
A: Short-charging is a term invented by Toyota, and describes what some of us do to purposefully prevent a full charge. We either physically pull the paddle out early, or set the HVAC system to stop the process at a given time. For some reason, Toyota blames the use of Rav4INFO (which they usually describe as a "Palm Pilot"). There is an application for the palm that helps you calculate the times to set for automatic charge termination, but the device and software don't perform any of the tasks involved. Blaming Rav4INFO is as relevant as blaming my wrist watch. Anyway, there has been no evidence that avoiding a full charge harms the batteries in the Rav4EV. There is also no evidence that *any* NiMH batteries are harmed by not being charged to full. In fact, all evidence is to the contrary: Charging to full (and leveling) creates significant heat, and that heat is detrimental to battery life. Obviously this is especially important during the hot summer months - and is the time when I cannot bring myself to let the high battery temperature terminate the charge process early (Yes, the car will terminate the charge early when it determines that the batteries are in danger - this termination is apparently acceptable to Toyota, while manually avoiding that over-heat situation is not). There are just not enough sensors in the battery tray to safely determine when any of the batteries has reached a dangerously high temperature. When my garage is at 110°, I'm not going to charge the car to full and harm my battery pack. Simple as that.
What *can* happen with short-charging: The pack doesn't get ballanced. And the SOC meter may become confused. So the car might be full, and only indicate 80% SOC. Or the pack might be at only 80% while the car indicates 100%. Or, most commonly, the battery pack might be at 0%, and the car still indicates 10 or 20 or 30%. Because of this situation of confused SOC, it is possible to drain your batteries completely - without realizing it - because according to car, you have plenty of charge left... but the batteries know otherwise. This has the potential to leave you stranded, and can be stressful to the weaker batteries. This is where having Rav4INFO is crucial. When the high and low battery voltages suddenly start to vary widely (this means bigger delta than 0.3 or 0.4V), you are empty. When the lowest battery dips to 10V or below (even when the average may still be at 11V or above) you are empty. Without Rav4INFO, the gauge on the dash may still be indicating in the green, and the V needle may also look healthy. But the fact is, the car is "empty", and the car is not reporting correctly.
There are only two ways that have worked to fix this confused SOC situation. The SOC reset procedure is is to charge to full, let the car self-discharge at least 5%, then charge to full, let it self-discharge, etc without driving between. Do at least three cycles. Five is considered better. Doesn't always work, but if it does, you've saved yourself lots of time, aggravation and money. The other way is to have the EV tech reset the SOC manually with their special tool. The problem with this method is that the EV tech is given no official instruction on how determine 0% SOC, and it is left up to his experience and skill - not a repeatable process in most cases! I can tell you that the technique works, but now zero is where the tech thinks it *should* be, and the car works with the new parameter. Why the car isn't capable of resetting itself is a mystery to me. How it gets confused in the first place is is also a mystery. There are many Rav4EVs out there that are charged to full every day, and they still get confused SOC meters. There are cars that are almost never charged to full, and their SOC meters remain accurate and reliable. Toyota calls this rock-solid evidence that short-charging causes the confused SOC issue. In fact Toyota goes the next step to claim that short-charging causes battery degradation. Yet none of this is clearly the case.
Toyota claims that not charging to 100% every time voids the warranty. Well, since none of us are under warranty any longer, I guess we don't have that to fear any longer. What's nuts is how much energy is wasted in a typical full charge (that Toyota claims is required for the car to operate properly). If you charge to full every evening (let's say when you come home from work at 6pm), when you drive off in the morning, you are at approximately 95% SOC due to self-discharge - often lower. Add that up for a month. Five times per week for four weeks times 5% loss. Being conservative, every month, you are throwing away one *complete* charge of your battery pack. What did you get for it? More wear on your battery pack (from having to recharge that 5% extra every day, and the degradation aspect of the battery heat), you have heated your garage, and for those of you without solar, you have paid for that extra full tank every month. Can you imagine the response to telling the motoring public that every month they are expected to toss one tank of gas away?
Q: What happens after I get a "refurbished" pack from Battery MD?
A: You receive a document like this that spells out what to expect.
Q: What Toyota
parts/accessories will fit my 2002 or 2003 Rav4EV?
A: Many of the factory accessories from the model year 1996-2000 gas model Rav4 will fit our vehicles. Here are some Toyota parts and accessories that we KNOW will work:
I have also added aftermarket accessories that work well:
Q: Why can't
I set Pre-AC or Time Charge to start 30 minutes from now?
A: For unknown reasons, there is a black-out period of 45 minutes from the current time. If you attempt to set Pre-AC or Time Charge for any time that is within 45 minutes of the current time, the indicators over the relevant buttons on the charge controller (Pre-AC or Time Charge) will not light, and will not function. Nobody has yet found a way to circumvent this "feature" so the only fix is to be sure and set the delay for at least 45 minutes from the present time.
is the proper tire pressure, and why so high?
A: The official tire pressure is 44psi for all four tires. This is higher than most passenger cars because the Rav4EV uses specialized Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires. The higher pressure assures proper performance and life from the tires. I personally run 46-50 psi in my tires. The compact spare (exterior, under the cargo floor) requires 60psi. The tire pressure can only be checked and adjusted by lowering the tire from the cradle (unless you flip the spare, or add a remote tire valve). The pressure in the spare should be checked at least every six months - and I would not count on the scheduled six month service to keep on top of this. My car was delivered to me new with about 30psi in the spare.
Q: What low
rolling resistance tires came on the Rav4EV?
A: The Ravs were shipped with one of two different types of tires:
At one time, the Yokohamas could be found here for an astonishingly low price of $36 (plus $25/tire shipping): Tires-Easy.com. Deal seems to be over now.
In my experience, the Yokohamas wear better and provide better traction. Others have had the opposite experience, so you're pretty much on your own with that choice! Regular (non-LRR) tires of the same size will work just fine, at the expense of some range. Some good info on LRR tires here. Torque for wheel nuts is 76 ft-pounds.
Q: Can I
use regular tires on my EV?
A: Yes, though your range will be somewhat reduced. Several Rav4EV owners have begun to use more "standard" tires once the expensive LRR units wear out. I have heard of no downsides to doing this, except for mildly reduced range. Regular tires should be cheaper, provide a more compliant ride, and should wear longer.
Some options reported by Rav4EV drivers:
Q: What are
the wheel alignment specs?
A: From the 2002 shop manual (pages SA-5 through SA-9):
Camber: -0°19' ± 45' (-0.32° ± 0.75°)
....LR error: 45' (0.75°) or less
Caster: 1°36' ± 45' (1.60° ± 0.75°)
....LR error: 45' (0.75°) or less
Steering axis inclination: 10°31' ± 45' (10.52° ± 0.75°)
....LR error: 45' (0.75°) or less
Toe-in: A+B -0°04' ± 12' (-0.07° ± 0.2°)
....Toe total: C-D: -0.6mm +/- 2mm (-0.02" ± 0.08") (Distance between front of tires minus distance between rear of tires)
Camber -0°50' ± 45' (-0.83° ± 0.75')
....LR error: 45' (0.75°) or less
Toe-in: A+B 0°06' ± 12' (0.1° ± 0.2°)
....Toe total: C-D 1mm ± 2mm (0.04" ± 0.08")
Q: Is my speedometer
showing my actual speed?
A: Probably not. Toyota's official stance is that the speedo can read about 9% high, and still be within their tolerance. In my experience, the speedo in all of these cars reads about 4mph high at freeway speeds. An indicated 60mph is actually 56mph. That 4mph difference can make a substantial difference in range. The good news is that it makes it a wee bit easier to drive slower if you THINK you are going faster. Here are the specs from the service manual page SS-21 in MPH.
|Actual speed||Allowable indication|
|100||98-110 (higher than speedo reads)|
Q: Are there
any repair or service manuals available for the Rav4EV? Where can I get them?
A: Yes, there are official sets of Rav4EV repair manuals for the various years:
They can be found here: ToyotaWorld (choose Rav4EV - only 2001 manuals listed here as of this writing)
They were once available by calling the Toyota Material Distribution Center in Rancho Dominguez, CA. 800 622-2033. I paid $48 for the Electrical Manual and $92 for the Repair Manual - however several callers have now been informed that the manuals can only be purchased through dealers now. And recently even some dealerships are saying that the manuals are not available to end users.
Another option for the manuals is to visit techinfo.toyota.com and subscribe for 24 hours for $10. Do it on Saturday morning, and you will have two full days to download files. For a fully linked manual, download each file and place it into a folder hierarchy that matches the link itself. You will have to create folders as you go. When you are done, however, you will have pdf's with hotlinks in them that link to other sections of the manual. Don't forget the electrical wiring diagram and the wiring repair manual under the body repair section. TSB's and Campaigns are also of interest. All of this can be had for $10 and a few hours work.
Q: What are
the paint codes?
A: This isn't as simple as you would think, and you apparently can't trust the dealership to figure it out!
What maintenance needs to be performed?
A: Toyota wants to see the car every six months. The service visit consists of rotating the tires and checking the OBD2 port for error codes. Eventually some fluids are checked and changed as well. For the first three years of lease/ownership, the six month service is provided at no extra charge (every dealer seems to finally know this, now that we're all coming up to our last service!).
Q: Why does the
Rav "shudder" or "cog" at low speeds?
A: All permanent magnet motors want to naturally cog at low rpm. Vehicles like the EV1 used electronics to eliminate the cogging for near-perfect smoothness plus the EV1 does not use a PM motor. Toyota did not bother to attenuate the cogging on the Rav, so you get to feel exactly what the motor wants you to feel.
How do I stop the brake squeal?
A: The cheapest and best solution is to install proper aftermarket pads, and use anti-squeal grease on the back. For some reason, Toyota's official fix at one point was to switch to more traditional iron rotors (on the 2002 that came with Al rotors). Here is my page on the brake job.
Q: What are the wheel bearing parts (and prices paid)?
A: List of bearing parts and Toyota numbers, followed by amount paid in 2008
Q: Best rear shocks?
A: Do yourself a favor and skip the OEM replacments. For about the same price you can get higher-quality with a lifetime guarantee. Some drivers have had great luck with KYB Gas-A-Just Shock Absorber, model: KG4738. A pair should cost about $75. Many sources can be turned up with google. (easier than posting links that go out of date so quickly!) First I put on factory shocks, then the KYB Gas-A-Just
are the differences between model years 2002, and 2003?
A: Here are the only items that each model year has that the other model year lacks:
Q: What is the
Rav4EV lacking (I mean, besides an engine, gas tank, exhaust, pollution, etc)?
A: My opinion only, of course:
Q: How many
Rav4EVs have been on the road?
A: Fleet numbers:
Q: Specs of
dimensions: 156.7"long, 66.7" wide, 64.4" high
(Volvo 3CC proto: 153.5" long, 64.0" wide, 52.0" high)
(EV1: 169.7" long, 69.5" wide, 50.5" high)
weight: Rav4EV (2002) 3440 lbs curb
GVWR 4316 lbs (4266 lbs for 1998 version of the EV)
GVAR Front: 2258
GVAR Rear: 2297
Max load 825
(Rav4 gasoline (2000) 2668 lbs curb)
(Rav4 gasoline (2000) 3946 lbs GVWR)
motor: 67hp, 50kW peak, 20kW continuous, 190nm (140 ft-pounds) torque
traction battery pack capacity: ~27kwh (more battery data, and traction pack pictures).
Reliability Report (So. Cal Edison)
Q: What was the
warranty for the Rav4EV?
A: The basic "bumper-to-bumper" warranty is for 36,000 miles (or 36 months, whichever comes first). The traction battery warranty, the power train warranty, the EV-specific parts warranty, and the restraint systems warranty all last for 60,000 miles (or 60 months, whichever comes first). The rust-through warranty is for 60 months, regardless of mileage.
The EV-specific parts warranty covers the traction motor, motor revolution sensor, motor control inverter, ECU, unit controller fan, accelerator sensors, shift position switch, IG control relay, battery ECU, blower assembly for main battery, battery sensor computer, ground fault detector, system main relay, motor mounts and seals, and the transaxle, transaxle seals, mounts, and gaskets, and the front-wheel drive system -- the final drive housing and all internal parts, axle shafts, constant velocity joints, front hub, bearings, seals and gaskets. (Warranty booklet, page 9.)
The warranty is automatically transferred to subsequent owners. The last warranty will expire on Sept 15, 2008 - five years after the last retail Rav was placed.
happens now that the warranty is expired?
A: Well, we're on our own. Just before they all expired, Toyota was warning us about the high prices of all the components though. Undaunted, we soldiered on.
Q: Who should
we contact to alert Toyota that we want more EVs and/or PHEVs? (Plug-in Hybrid
Yukitoshi Funo-sama ( email@example.com)
U.S. Corporate President
Toyota Motor Corporation
P.O. Box 2991
Torrance, CA 90509
Q: Where are
the official Rav4EV dealerships?
A: All 25 listed here.
Q: What was the
price of these things again?
A: Original purchase price (before incentives): $42,510 plus tax.
Total cost of ownership (before incentives) if purchasing vehicle after three year lease
$23,144.76 + 26,815 = $48,195.76 plus tax.
There was a $9,000 state (ZIP I) incentive (paid $3,000 over three years) and a one-time Federal tax credit of $4,000. For a total of $13,000 of incentive possible over three years for a theoretical net cost of $29,510 + tax on the $42,520 if purchased originally.
Q: Why were the cars
eventually sold/leased to individuals in 2002-2003?
A: In late 2001, a Toyota official speaking to a large EVS audience, stated that nobody wanted to buy a Rav4EV no matter how hard Toyota tried to sell the vehicle. Greg Hansen was allowed to make the point that the vehicle had never been available for sale to the public - only as business leases. In March 2002, the first retail cars were being delivered to individuals (for purchase or lease). Though the approximately 300 vehicles built for the retail program were expected to last for 24 months, every car was placed by the end of November 2002, and the program was terminated early. The official reason for ending the program was "lack of demand."
Tips and Tricks
You need to download and install two files:
Install these files on your Palm via HotSync, just as you would install any other program. The files can also be beamed from another Palm device. You might already have the mathlib.prc file for some other reason, but it won't hurt if you download it again.
do the Heater and AC controls work?
A: Below is the executive summary of the function. Fan on for all situations.
With AC button NOT manually activated:
With AC button manually activated:
system chooses temperature in demist zone (indicator light
** Dehumidification only available with AC button on and in cool or demist zone. **
Even though the fan switch is on, fan action may be delayed up to a few minutes in the red and demist zones until the system has reached operating temperature.>
In the demist zone, with the AC button manually activated, the indicator light may be delayed up to a few minutes until the system has reached operating temperature.
In demist mode, incoming air is first cooled (dehumidified) and then warmed appropriately. Output temp is chosen by the climate control system.
When the slider is all the way to the left (upper registers only) the center dash vents will blow ambient air when the heat is on. All other positions will blow conditioned air out the chosen vents.
Q: When does the coolant pump run?
A: The water pump is switched on/off by relay R/B No6 (relay box in under the hood, left front) and is supplied from a 15A fuse (in a fusebox next to the relay box). The water pump relay (pin 1) is controlled by the EV Control ECU. It turns the water pump on if:
How to reset the Low Tire Pressure warning light?
A: TIRE PRESSURE WARNING SYSTEM INITIALIZATION
In case of having the tires or wheels replaced, be sure to perform the system initialization.
(a) Inflate all four tires properly.
(b) Using SST (or a paperclip), connect terminals Ts and E1 of the DLC1. (SST 09843-18020)
(The DLC1 is located under the hood (see below). It has a little flap cover that snaps open. Use a piece of wire with hard pins on the end (a paperclip will do!) to jumper Ts to E1. DO NOT SHORT OTHER PINS! - (unless you follow the instructions below for the charging error codes).
(c) Turn the motor switch ON (not READY) and push the tire pressure warning standardization switch ("SET" switch).
(d) Check that the tire pressure warning light blinks 3 times and it goes off then.
Make sure the car is off, then bend a metal paperclip into a U shape, use it to connect pin E1 with TC. See image below. Make sure not to connect any other pins as this may result in an expensive malfunction.
Have paper and pen ready, climb in behind the steering wheel with your key.
Do not start the car (Ready), but turn the key only to the "on" position. Any charging DTCs present in memory will now show in the charge panel display. Some other DTCs in memory will display by how many times the malfunction indicator light (red car icon with exclamation point directly below Ready light) flashes. For example DTC 85 would display as eight flashes followed by a one and a half second delay, then five more flashes. Don't worry if you miss some codes. After flashing every code in memory (many are the same over and over), it will pause for several seconds then start all over again. There is a 2.5 second pause between codes and a 4.5 second pause at the end of the cycle. Flashing on and off quickly (0.26 seconds) means no codes present. Starting on page DI10 of the Toyota Repair Manual for the 2002 Rav4EV are DI codes that I *assume* match up with the flashing sequences. (can anybody verify?)
To clear the codes: With the jumper between E1 and TC on the DLC1 connector and the car on, you turn the EB switch on the shift lever ON/OFF 3 times or more within 5 seconds.
Q: Why are the ABS and Tire Pressure warning lights both lit?
A: We have a theory that the ABS system needs at least one working brake light bulb to provide a path to ground in order for the controller to sense the pedal switch. Check and replace all three brake bulbs as needed.
Know any tricks for maximum range?
A: Yes. Drive downhill and down wind... both ways. But seriously, here are some tips to remember:
* Note: Once you get good at this, you'll be amazed at how relaxing it can be, and how much your driving skills improve. These techniques can also turn a 30mpg ICE into a 40mpg ICE.How can the battery fans be operated with Toyota's hand-held scanner?
Best shipper when I sell my car?
A: One recommendation: Autozipper; 562-430-0020. Talk to Brian.
You must have more ideas for this FAQ. Please send an email: info at evnut dot com