Toyota Rav4 EV Forum

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 Post subject: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:12 am
Posts: 5
Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to share our experience with the Rav4 EV and hopefully it can serve as a cautionary tale for potential buyers. I know that there are some in this forum (Tony Williams and the like) usually in California, who know this car inside and out and if you are located in that area there is a good chance you will have a very different experience. My wife and I live in Washington state just south of Seattle and from the first day we got this car it was non-stop problems. What really made things difficult is that it seemed like nobody could service it. I know this will not be everyone's experience but I would encourage you to factor the availability of quality service into your decision making.

We bought the car in November of 2016. The day after we drove it home we plugged it in and it did not charge. Would charge for a few seconds then give the flashing lights error. The car had charged the day before while we were test driving it but for some reason it was now unable to charge. This caused our first extended service trip to Toyota of Kirkland. It waited in service for nearly a month for a Tesla rep to be flown in and parts to be ordered and I was handed a $3000 repair bill for a failed heater. I negotiated a discounted repair bill with an extended warranty purchase and felt like I would be safe from future problems. This was mistake #2, if you do buy an extended warranty for this car only buy the Toyota Warranties. Despite buying the warranty from Toyota of Kirkland it was not through Toyota. It was from protective, which I was assured was a great warranty. Unfortunately this warranty company was not familiar at all with what they were covering and denied multiple claims.

It was not all bad and we had a good run of about 2 years with minimal problems. However we would still get strange behavior from the car. It would stop charging halfway full but then would go back to functioning perfectly. If we had taken it in for every little strange error it would have been at least every 3 months. I took it in after a few errors and it was functioning fine by the time I got to the dealership. They showed me how to clear the errors and suggested maybe a charger problem. We changed chargers... earlier this year it left me stranded. Had never seen this problem before. Car would turn on and not go into gear with the familiar take to dealership message. We had it towed to Toyota of Kirkland. The last two times we had the car serviced at Toyota of Kirkland seemed different than the first. I am not sure if the relationship broke down with Tesla to the point where they were no longer willing to come work on the cars or what, but all of our recent services were done by a Toyota Hybrid Tech working off instructions given to them from Tesla. The tech spoke with Tesla who told him to drain the battery and charge to full again. This service cost us $500. I would not have agreed to this had I realized that the tech was simply driving it around until the battery was empty. I was under the impression that the car was still not operable. Somehow the car started running again after it was towed in. This started a pattern where the car would simply not start or charge, we would take it in for service and it would after a time start working again. The problems we encountered were random and hard to duplicate. They happened on multiple chargers and worst of all the warranty would not cover it as "nothing was repaired". Essentially they could not figure out what was wrong. We would simply drain the battery, clear the error messages and tell us it was fine. This last six months was nearly weekly charging failures with a full on no drive about once a month. Usually it would start working again after a few hours.

We have finally parted ways with the car at well below its KBB value. I loved how it drove, I loved the $4000 we saved in gas and if service wasn't so expensive and hard to get I might have had a different experience. Unfortunately the gas savings was more than offset by repair bills/cost of chargers and installation and the loss we took selling a car with problems. Be careful buying this car outside of California even if the dealership tells you they can service it. The Kirkland dealership said I would have no problems getting it serviced and that was not the case. Hoping the best for all of you. Wish this car would have worked out.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:55 pm
Posts: 186
Location: Duvall, Wash.
Member KurtManz had terrible service at ToK. When I bought my 2014 in Aug2017, I shopped for the Toyota extended used car warranty, and ToK had the best price for the area, so I paid their $150 inspection fee and bought the warranty through them. I sometimes buy parts there, because they're convenient on my commute. But I don't let them touch the RAV4 EV.

Toyota of Seattle has been pretty good to me for service. They have several drive unit replacements under their belt, and did mine, and the heater, and the DC-DC converter. However, they did sit on my car for two weeks last time -- needed a battery replacement -- before finally admitting that I would have to deliver (ship) the car back to Calif. for the "free" battery replacement. Why couldn't they have told me that two or three days in? Hell, I guessed and told them it was a battery issue when I had it towed to them.
Toyota did eventually send me a check to reimburse for $800 shipping cost south, but getting it back to Seattle was on me.

[Oh, and I had to fight Toyota Roadside Assistance to reimburse the towing. They wanted to tow to the closest dealership -- ToK! -- and I said absolutely not, and I paid the tow driver out of pocket to tow a further 10 miles to ToS instead. Took a couple of phone calls, but the did eventually send a reimbursement check for that out of pocket tow expense.]

Nearly every major Tesla part has been replaced on my 2014: DU, battery, DC-DC converter, onboard charger, heater (Denso). Knock on wood, the Tesla/Toyota Gateway box has not crapped yet. No problems on the Toyota side. I guess maybe the flaky scheduler, that I could blame on Toyota, but really it's the Tesla parts that have failed. Toyota's dealers give uneven service. It's very much a YMMV situation. Next up will likely be one or more of the coolant pumps, or the Gateway box.

I'm considering trading down to a MB 250e, as they're coming down to a more reasonable price on the used market. Paramount Motors NW has a couple for sale in Seattle, I may go drive one. Longtime member GlennD had two of them and seemed to like them. Less range, better ride I'm hoping. The RAV4's ride is beginning to get old at 60 miles/day; otherwise, I still really like it. My major hesitation with the 250e is that it's a MB. I've owned several, and while all were beautiful cars, none have been reliable. Something is always broken, and I'm no longer interested in that much maintenance for a DD.

We have a Model 3D and it's too low (both seat and roofline) for easy ingress/egress for me, I hate the door handles, and I do not like the touch screen for adjusting mirrors, wipers, etc. Fortunately, my partner is short ;) I like the RAV4's seating position and seat height, as well as its utility. It's a form factor that works well for me.

What did you replace your RAV4 with?

_________________
Regards,
Al Savage
2014 Rav4 EV, Shoreline Blue Pearl, #2609, first use 04Jun2014, 49k miles (Aug2017), OpenEVSE 40A. First DU replacement May2018 59k.
2018 Model 3 LR AWD, blue. 9.6kw solar
1999 E300 on B100 (sold Sep2018)
http://nissandiesel.dyndns.org


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:13 pm
Posts: 1806
Location: Los Altos, CA
Unfortunately, the error reporting in the RAV4 EV is really terrible. It is possible that the on-board charger doesn't like something about the electrical power at your house and that's why it stops charging randomly. Another owner in the California Sierra foothills had a similar problem and they finally found out that there was a problem with their electrical service. After the utility fixed the problem, the car charged perfectly.

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2012 Shoreline Blue #1462 w/JdeMO | 2018 Tesla Model 3 LR | 4.32kW Motech/Enphase PV Solar + 2x Powerwall 2 AC| Leviton EVB40 40A & Jesla Home Charging | 2015 e-Golf LE (returned)


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:12 am
Posts: 2
asavage wrote:
I'm considering trading down to a MB 250e, as they're coming down to a more reasonable price on the used market. Paramount Motors NW has a couple for sale in Seattle, I may go drive one. Longtime member GlennD had two of them and seemed to like them. Less range, better ride I'm hoping. The RAV4's ride is beginning to get old at 60 miles/day; otherwise, I still really like it. My major hesitation with the 250e is that it's a MB. I've owned several, and while all were beautiful cars, none have been reliable. Something is always broken, and I'm no longer interested in that much maintenance for a DD.


I looked at the MB 250e previously. The drivetrain components are very similar to the RAV4 EV. Both have Tesla sourced drive units, traction battery and chargers. Maybe the later ones got more recent versions of the Tesla drive units...

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2012 Blizzard Pearl RAV4 EV


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:50 pm
Posts: 4096
Location: San Diego
RAV4Ever wrote:
I looked at the MB 250e previously. The drivetrain components are very similar to the RAV4 EV. Both have Tesla sourced drive units, traction battery and chargers. Maybe the later ones got more recent versions of the Tesla drive units...


The 2014-2015 Mercedes B-Class ED uses the GEN1 Tesla hardware, the same as the 2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 EV.

The 2016-2017 Mercedes B250e uses the GEN2 Tesla hardware. The GEN2 stuff is much more reliable.

_________________
Tony Williams
QC Charge
1780-104 La Costa Meadows Drive
San Marcos, California 92078 USA
tony@QCcharge.com
www.QCcharge.com
Twitter: QCPower
1-844-EV-PARTS
1-844-387-2787
1-760-798-0342 Office
Hours M-F, 9-5 Pacific Time


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:50 pm
Posts: 4096
Location: San Diego
Gazoo wrote:
Hello Everyone, I just wanted to share our experience with the Rav4 EV and hopefully it can serve as a cautionary tale for potential buyers... Hoping the best for all of you. Wish this car would have worked out.


I think that this can be distilled into a few simple issues:

1) You already realized that a dealer will sell you anything that makes them money, and tell you anything to get you to buy. With a little due diligence, you know that the Toyota PLATINUM warranty is the ONLY way to go for dependable warranty repairs on RAV4 EV.

2) Yes, being outside of the major California metropolitan areas makes servicing the RAV4 EV more difficult. But, I'm not aware of Toyota actually abandoning ANY of the cars, wherever they may be. There are literally hundreds of these cars outside of California, as well as outside of the USA.

3) The onboard charger issue could have been anything, and clearly, this dealer was way out of their element. I wish you would have called us at QC Charge, even if just for free advice and emotional support. We repair these cars almost daily.

4) I'm more perplexed that you would essentially "give the car away". We are a buyer for troublesome cars.

_________________
Tony Williams
QC Charge
1780-104 La Costa Meadows Drive
San Marcos, California 92078 USA
tony@QCcharge.com
www.QCcharge.com
Twitter: QCPower
1-844-EV-PARTS
1-844-387-2787
1-760-798-0342 Office
Hours M-F, 9-5 Pacific Time


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:50 pm
Posts: 4096
Location: San Diego
miimura wrote:
Unfortunately, the error reporting in the RAV4 EV is really terrible. It is possible that the on-board charger doesn't like something about the electrical power at your house and that's why it stops charging randomly. Another owner in the California Sierra foothills had a similar problem and they finally found out that there was a problem with their electrical service. After the utility fixed the problem, the car charged perfectly.


Yep. It could have been as simple as a GFCI or ground issue in the house. Or, a utility transformer issue.

_________________
Tony Williams
QC Charge
1780-104 La Costa Meadows Drive
San Marcos, California 92078 USA
tony@QCcharge.com
www.QCcharge.com
Twitter: QCPower
1-844-EV-PARTS
1-844-387-2787
1-760-798-0342 Office
Hours M-F, 9-5 Pacific Time


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:50 pm
Posts: 4096
Location: San Diego
asavage wrote:
I'm considering trading down to a MB 250e, as they're coming down to a more reasonable price on the used market.


I've owned both the 2014 original B-Class ED, and currently have the 2017 B250e. Those cars have less room than RAV4 EV, less power, less "utility" (no roof rack option, no trailer hitch option).

We now have JdeMO available for the Mercedes, just like the RAV4 EV.

If you want a car that is more dependable, and is mostly like a RAV4 EV, I'd recommend the 2016-2017 B250e.

_________________
Tony Williams
QC Charge
1780-104 La Costa Meadows Drive
San Marcos, California 92078 USA
tony@QCcharge.com
www.QCcharge.com
Twitter: QCPower
1-844-EV-PARTS
1-844-387-2787
1-760-798-0342 Office
Hours M-F, 9-5 Pacific Time


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:55 pm
Posts: 186
Location: Duvall, Wash.
Thanks, Tony. I went and looked at one today, 2016, 21k miles, $20k. It looks better in person than I'd thought. I need to do some homework.

I don't need the power the RAV4 EV has -- it's nice, but not necessary in my world. I don't need a receiver hitch; I like the idea of being able to tow a small util trailer, but the reality is that I sold my util trailer five years ago and haven't really missed it -- rented one twice in that time. I have a AWD Sienna that I used last month to tow serious stuff to Oregon, reminds me why I keep the minivan around.

The 250e does look smaller in back, and that may be an issue. I have a dog cage I use in the back of the RAV4 -- two black labs -- and the cage just barely fits. I think it may not fit in the 250e. Maybe it's time to graduate the dogs to cage-free. Kinda doubt it: black labs are not retrievers.

Really, I need to decide if I can live with the lower range. My 60 mi. daily commute is 2/3 highway, 60 MPH, and the 250e's better aero may be OK-enough to compensate for the overall lower range. Dunno.

_________________
Regards,
Al Savage
2014 Rav4 EV, Shoreline Blue Pearl, #2609, first use 04Jun2014, 49k miles (Aug2017), OpenEVSE 40A. First DU replacement May2018 59k.
2018 Model 3 LR AWD, blue. 9.6kw solar
1999 E300 on B100 (sold Sep2018)
http://nissandiesel.dyndns.org


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 Rav4 EV Owner Since 2016 - Owner Experience
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:55 pm
Posts: 186
Location: Duvall, Wash.
From what I'm reading, seems like the same motor coolant leak problem that affects our RAV4 EVs is an issue with the MB 250e.

_________________
Regards,
Al Savage
2014 Rav4 EV, Shoreline Blue Pearl, #2609, first use 04Jun2014, 49k miles (Aug2017), OpenEVSE 40A. First DU replacement May2018 59k.
2018 Model 3 LR AWD, blue. 9.6kw solar
1999 E300 on B100 (sold Sep2018)
http://nissandiesel.dyndns.org


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