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Extended test drive of Toyota RAV4 EV

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by ChrisHenryOC, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. ChrisHenryOC

    ChrisHenryOC Member

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    I started a thread in the Model S forum talking about why I decided to cancel my Reservation and to start looking at other cars. Here's the link....http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/10216-Cost-Anxiety-Mitigation-Program-(CAMP)

    So I started looking at the available fully EV options out there as well as the Volt. I'm not considering the Prius PHV as the range is an embarrassing 11 miles in EV mode. The primary contenders were the Leaf, the Volt, and the Focus Electric.

    The current Leaf is out for me due to the charger size and the lack of liquid cooling on the battery. It was however the leading contender after I had test driven the three due to the relatively roomy inside. I'm not as concerned with handling (2008 Prius driver = lowered standards), and the controls interface was pretty intuitive (for me). Was thinking that I would wait for the MY2013 to see if Nissan improves the charger and battery.

    The Volt is essentially ruled out because it would be tough for me to do my 42 mile daily commute in pure EV mode without needing to use the ICE to extend the range. Also, the controls interface is just plain ugly and sees like it would be a pain to get used to and train the other driver in my house to use.

    The Focus Electric has probably the best controls interface, but the tiny interior rules it out as my 8 year old son isn't going to get any smaller.

    The problem with all of the above is that they are all impressions based on Internet reading and limited test drive time. I decided that I would try and find rentals, if possible, to do more of an extended test drive. After nearly two weeks of trying to find a rental in SoCal, I was starting to get frustrated. The rental options are pretty limited, if available. I found one place in Hollywood that would rent a volt to me for $140/day plus taxes, etc. and the Nissan dealer would rent me a Leaf for $100/day. My cheap bone was aching while considering these options and on a whim, I called the Toyota dealer near my house to see if they had any RAV4's available for test drives.

    The agent replied that they didn't have any for test drives yet, but have one available for rent if I'd like to do that. The rate he quoted over the phone was $35/day for the rental. Oh hells yeah! Sign me up. I arranged to pick it up this morning and have been driving it today for my commute. I'll use this thread to document my observations, post some photos, and answer questions that might come up.

    I had a nice start to the adventure this morning. About 2 minutes after I pulled out from the dealership, I saw a gyt driving the first Gen RAV4EV in front of me on Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa. He waved and I gave him a thumbs up. A nice start indeed.

    Overall, it drives like a car. The ride is a little rougher than I'm used to in my Prius, but I definitely like sitting higher and having exta headroom. In Sport mode it accelerates like m it's EVs and generates that EV grin. Not to the same level as a MSP, but still a grin.

    My biggest complaint so far is about the way the rental vehicle doesn't come with the 110V charger. The rep at the dealer said that this was because of two reasons: the charger is a thousand dollar item that they don't want to replace, and that they are worried someone will plug into crummy wiring at home and burn their house down. The first reason seems more plausible, and the second is frustrating because I think it shows ignorance about charging, breaker boxes, etc.

    I had hoped to use level 2 charging stations near my house and the use the 110 to trickle charge over night to take advantage of at-rest time. However, now I've got to sit at a charging station while the car "fills up". Oh we'll, cost of doing business I guess.

    I'll post more info later tonight or tomorrow, hopefully with some photos.

    -Chris


    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1349328412.220601.jpg
     
  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    It is fairly well established that the 2013 LEAF will have a 6.6kW charger available (not just 3.3kW), have more interior and exterior color choices, some styling updates, a more efficient heater, and perhaps even a slight price decrease. Battery changes are not so well known, but strongest rumors are little to no change. Unlikely liquid cooled. Capacity may be the same, although range may increase slightly due to efficiency improvements with the rest of the vehicle.
     
  3. alexkiritz

    alexkiritz Member

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    It just seems so wrong because it's really just an EV conversion. It's almost a step backward from the original RAV4 EV.
     
  4. Rifleman

    Rifleman Now owns 2 Model S's!!!

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    That being said, it is a really well done electric conversion, with a little bit of Tesla's "Special Sauce" mixed in. If it was available in my market, I probably would be driving one instead of a Volt.
     
  5. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    This is a not good.
     
  6. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    How so? It isn't like Toyota made all the parts in the old RAV4EV. I think Panasonic may build the battery for both the old and new. The old RAV4EV was based on a production (gas) RAV4EV chassis just like the new. From what I can tell, Toyota & Telsa did a lot of custom work to integrate the new Tesla tech into the new RAV4EV. Sure the prototypes had some Roadster parts shoe-horned in as a proof of concept, but the production version looks very well engineered and integrated. I wouldn't consider it an EV 'conversion' anymore really. The new one has a lot more power and some more range than the old one as well, so it seems like improvement across the board.
     
  7. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    I drove it this last weekend at AltExpo in Santa Monica and thought it was one of the best EV's on the market. It drove just like a normal car. The accelerator and brake pedals were perfectly tuned. The regen was selectable at two levels and good for most drivers. The cabin was quiet and fit-and-finish were perfect. Overall it will give the Model X a run for its money (except on range).
     
  8. palmer_md

    palmer_md Member

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    #8 palmer_md, Oct 4, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
    I agree. It is a fantastic car, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for an EV and not wanting the S for some reason.




    I'm not sure I follow your logic. The original was also a conversion, but this one is a very well done conversion. Definitely a forward step.
     
  9. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    I think if you will drive one you'll feel quite differently. It's a hell of a vehicle.
     
  10. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    The old one was very beautifully engineered. I had a good look under the hood a couple of years ago. CHAdeMO (old TEPCO version) on it too. I hope the new one is too.
     
  11. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    (compared to 85kWh) Or acceleration performance, or cornering/handling performance, or touch screen features, or, ...
     
  12. ChrisHenryOC

    ChrisHenryOC Member

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    #12 ChrisHenryOC, Oct 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2012
    So I've had the rental for a about 32 hours. Below are some thoughts and impressions so far.
    • As I noted in my original post, the rental did not come with any sort of charger. Not having any sort of charging options with the rental at home do heighten range anxiety. Of course, the ultra-slow rate of charge on 110v (the Toyota web site quotes 44 hours for a full charge at 12A/120v) could also create range anxiety in unfamiliar users. That said, if the 41kWh battery is charged in 44 hours and gets ~100 range, the 110v would charge at about 2.2 miles per charging hour, providing about 22 miles on an overnight 10 hour charge. It's not much, but it would decrease the amount of time a person would spend waiting at public charging stations for the vehicle to charge.
    • With the A/C on Eco Low mode, the mileage estimate on a full (not range-extended) charge drops from 92 miles to 72 miles. I'm thinking that the EPA testing had the climate control turned off. Still, 72-75 miles of range in a given day with the climate control turned on is easily within my parameters.
    • The center-console controls are taking some getting used to. The little "home" button below the display is right where I tend to rest my thumb while looking for buttons on the touch screen and I keep accidentally hitting the home button.
    • The "B" driving mode engages the regenerative braking a lot like the Model S does. It also provides more aggressive regen during braking than in standard mode. I find myself switching frequently back and forth between regular and "B" mode depending on the driving situation. The gear shifter is right below where my right-hand hangs from the center arm rest and is easily manipulated during driving. The only thing I've had to get used to is the location has changed from my 2008 Prius, and I keep reaching for the center dash to change gears and bumped the seat heater button accidentally a couple of times.
    • Turns out the seat heaters are very effective and heat up quickly.

    I gotta get on the road home to pick up the family. More later.

    -Chris
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Toyota and Panasonic have a jointly owned factory that produces the batteries. Originally Toyota had planned to purchase the batteries from Panasonic but they had problems with life (only a few weeks). It turned out that batteries used for automobiles have to have much greater quality control. So they opened a factory where Toyota supplies the quality control and Panasonic the battery expertise. (Ref: The Prius That Shook the World ISBN 4-526-04376-1)
     
  14. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    thanks for the write-up!
    I was very curious how the vehicle handled!
    In my mind this is indeed the cheaper alternative for a 40kw Model S!

    If Toyota does not want to sell the car outside of california, I hope Tesla will rebadge it, and sell it around the world!
     
  15. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

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    I think so too, cheaper and smaller, but less cachet (which may be a plus for some) and no 17" screen.
     
  16. ChrisHenryOC

    ChrisHenryOC Member

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    I turned in the Rav4EV this afternoon and was fairly sad to see it go. I had a blast driving it over the last couple of days, and getting back into my 08 Prius was a big change. I've always felt that my Prius was roomy inside, but after driving the bigger car since Wednesday, the Prius definitely felt small inside.

    I stopped and took a bunch of photos this afternoon before dropping it off.

    Here's a link to the full gallery.

    Some of the better photos:

    [​IMG]

    Rear cargo area with the seats folded down:
    [​IMG]

    Underneath the car, looking towards the rear:
    [​IMG]

    Front with Daytime running lights on:
    [​IMG]

    VIDEO of 0 to 50 acceleration. I was near the local police station, and was in a 40MPH zone, so I didn't hit the accelerator SUPER hard, but I did jump on it. :biggrin: Click the image to see the video.
    [​IMG]

    There's about a dozen more photos in the full gallery linked above.

    Enjoy,
    -Chris
     
  17. rabar10

    rabar10 FFE until Model 3

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    #17 rabar10, Oct 6, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
    Thanks for all the details and pics, Chris!

    How much "coaching" was included or offered when you picked up the RAV4-EV for rental? Agree that not having any EVSE included means missing out on one of the big EV advantages - filling up while parked at home.
     
  18. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    Thanks for all your details!

    What is your verdict?
    Is it a buy, a lease or not considering for now?
     
  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Stumbled on something somewhat related:
    Yahoo! Groups
     
  20. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    I am a newby here, but I drove a RAV4 EV at the Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica which I attended with a friend. My friend went to the nearest dealer in the evening of our test drive and put a deposit on one. It took me a couple days more to get the fever. The RAV4 EV did rock my world. I had just completed the conversion of a 1973 VW Super Beetle and was figuring that I needed my existing ICE SUV for the occasional day trips that I take that are around 100 miles. The RAV4 EV caused me to reexamine that assumption. I also put a deposit down a few days later and hope to get one before year end so I can take advantage of the tax credit.

    My friend and I both have solar panels on our roofs so our increment energy costs are zero. I love the simplicity of driving my Super Beetle and the incredible torque I feel when I pull away from a signal or stop sign. I live in a small beach town in Southern California and there are several free parking charging stations that I have used, not for range extension, but for the free parking which is always a rare thing in my little town. I think the RAV4 EV will be the perfect complement to my other EV and I am excited about the idea of not being dependent on gasoline for locomotion.
     

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