RAV4 EV operation in extreme heat?

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Well-known member
Jun 4, 2014
San Luis Obispo, CA
I had some unusual behavior occur with our 2014 RAV4 EV this last Sunday when I took it on a round trip to Salinas and back. In the morning on the way up, there was no problems charging in Paso Robles at the EA site and King City at the Chargepoint site. When I left Salinas and arrived at King City at 12:37PM I had to charge for about an hour since the peak charging rate was only about 25 kW. The ambient temperature was around 97 degrees. The A/C was on and set to "normal" when charging. After charging I attempted to back out of the charging spot. Although the vehicle showed it was in Reverse, there was no power. The ready light was on but the vehicle would not go into gear since it just rolled back. I tried to turn the vehicle off and then on multiple times but after the first power cycle the ready light would never come on and it would never go into gear. After charging, but prior to leaving all indicators were normal on the instrument panel. After the first power cycle the vehicle would not go into ready and the brake system warning light turned on. Since I was unable to get the RAV4 to go into ready, I turned the vehicle off and then disconnected negative terminal of the battery. After the power cycle the RAV4 EV started up and was able to go into READY. It was the first time this behavior had occurred since we got the RAV4 EV new. On a side note the A/C was left in "normal" during driving as well to cool the battery as well as the cabin.

I was able to charge at the Camp Roberts southbound DC fast charger but only at 10 kW due to the reduced power output of the DC fast charger. The ambient temperature was at least 111 degrees by this point. Again the A/C was set to "normal". I charged for about 30 minutes and then I continued south to Paso Robles.

At Paso Robles where the ambient temp was at least 111 degrees, I attempted to use the EA charger and the session was aborted after at least 4 attempts. I reset the JDEMO by pulling the fuse labeled charger a couple times. After multiple attempts to try charging at the EA site I called Tony Williams who speculated the battery pack was over temperature and the JDEMO was shutting down the charging session due to high heat. He suggested cooling the battery by placing ice near the battery heat exchanger or using a L2 EVSE. I had no ice, so tried using the L2 EVSE for about an hour. There were indicator messages showing a charger error but it did charge slowly. It sounded like the charger was clicking on and off. After the one hour charge on the L2 EVSE, I tried charging again on the EA charger and it was able to charge at a reduced rate of 20 to 30 kW. The ambient temperature was most likely low to mid 90's by that point.

So it looks like there may be some possible issues with the RAV4 EV and extreme heat, but it's hard to be certain. I would have say beware of high temperature issues when operating the RAV4 EV in extreme heat.