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OT: RAV4 EV to fill 'gap' while waiting... and waiting... for Model X?

My ML 350 Bluetec lease expires 5/2014, and I may not receive my Model X P83 for almost another year. :mad:

What to do in the meantime while waiting for the X? I have an older ICE SUV for long distances, so I'm thinking of leasing a RAV4 EV for local driving. At least it has Tesla engineering. Toyota is only making 2,600 of these CA "compliance" EV's, aka Toyota's Experimental Vehicles. Only 709 have been sold/leased since July, probably because it only has 103 mi EPA range with a 41.8 kWh Tesla battery pack. Now they have this CA lease deal to unload them for only $299+tax for 36 months, which is amazing for a $50K MSRP vehicle. 0.00001 money factor, and $19K residual value, although I would not keep it except as a collector's item.

Comments? Does anyone own one or have test-driven a RAV4 EV and what did you think?

Thanks!

Regional Lease Offer Ends 09/03/2013
Lease a 2013 RAV4 EV for $299 a mo. + tax after $15,400 Bonus Cash
$299 per month tax for 36 months
$3,999 due at signing
After $15,400 Bonus Cash is applied
Sales tax not included and is calculated before bonus cash is applied.

Lease Bonus Cash must be applied to lease down payment. Lease available only through Toyota Financial Services to qualified buyers. Offer excludes applicable taxes and fees. No security deposit required. You pay excess wear and tear, plus $.15 per mile over 36,000 miles at lease end. Lease payments may vary from dealer to dealer based on final negotiated price and equipment chosen. Lease offer is example only and applies only to new 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV Model #4480. Example vehicle may not be available at all dealers. Must take delivery by 9/3/13.

PS. George B. wrote me back on March 1st:

"
I think you are going to LOVE Model X. I can't wait to get mine so all our driving will be "electric."

Have a great weekend!

George
"

Let's all hope he's right! :biggrin:
 
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A bunch of folks own them. Go check out Toyota Rav4 EV Forum - Toyota Rav4 EV Forum for the Rav4 Electric Vehicle. TonyWilliams has one and sometimes posts here.

His tune has changed from "fantastic car" esp. due to its range vs. his former Leafs and I'm assuming its acceleration to not so happy due to it being out of service for over 30 days w/most replacement parts being of the Tesla supplied bits.

Given its puny sales (see below), some of the problems being apparently fairly widespread are troubling:
July 2013 Dashboard - HybridCars.com
December 2012 Dashboard - HybridCars.com

Unreliable Toyotas are uncommon but this seems to be an exception. (FWIW, I am somewhat of a Toyota and Nissan fan and own an 06 Prius and also now lease a '13 Leaf.)

Here's part of a post I made in another forum in response to someone asking.
-- begin quote --
The powertrain, really? What specifically?

A LOT of cars have problems with electronics, even cars considered to be really reliable like Toyotas have problems with electric windows, nav systems, etc...
Examples... I don't have time to dig everything up.

Tony's complaint rant:http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=409

http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6664
The Rav4 EV has had a number of technical problems, some of which are still unresolved. My particular car has had the motor assembly replaced, the heater, the DC to DC computer and the battery pack was dropped to replace the charge port that failed. Over 30 days in the shop in 9 months of ownership. My car is not isolated in these issues.

traction motor noise/hum:
http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1641
http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=251 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LiI5xmDRbw is Tony's motor/gearbox noise. Toyota replaced his motor and gearbox assembly.
http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1724#p1724
http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3175#p3175

http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4590#p4590 has a link to a YouTube videos of another guy's before motor replacement and after.

Check EV System warning message - car can end up being undrivable or difficult to "start":
http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=338 - common cause appears to be the Tesla supplied gateway ECU; http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6924#p6924 example of someone having it happen to a brand new vehicle
http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=590 and http://www.myrav4ev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7516#p7516 - difficulty made worse due to that guy being in Hawaii where they're "served" by Servco.

Remember, the sales numbers of the Rav4 EV are TINY (http://www.hybridcars.com/july-2013-dashboard/ and http://www.hybridcars.com/december-2012-dashboard), esp since Rav4 EV is only a CA compliance car and isn't sold outside CA. Compare that to http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/july+2013+sales+chart.htm and http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/december+2012+sales+chart.htm.

Tesla Model S sales are also quite small compared to the top ~100 vehicles in the US at http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2013/08/usa-vehicle-sales-rankings-by-model-july-2013-ytd.html. There's a footnote there "Tesla Model S sales totalled 12,200 units through six months, which would be good enough to place it in the top 145 overall. "

In comparison, I'd been following the Prius since late 05, including the introduction of the Gen 3 (2010+) Prius along w/2012 Prius v wagon, PiP and Prius c. If the percentages of problems on those vehicles were as bad as the Rav4 EV, we'd have a seen MASSIVE #s of problem reports. We didn't and off the top of my head, reliability stats on the Prius liftback and c (esp. the c) are excellent.

Electric window and nav system problems (at least on Priuses) are pretty rare, except for the infamous 04-05 Prius MFD problem (http://techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/cars/mfd/). I intermittently have the problem w/the volume control on the JBL stereo of my Prius: http://priuschat.com/threads/2006-p...issues-radio-knob-issues.118153/#post-1680636.
-- end quote --

Personally, if leasing an EV works for you for that amount of time, the Rav4 EV's range works for you, you don't need DC fast charging (there's no CHAdeMO port nor support for any other DC fast charge standard) and you're willing to put up w/a potentially unreliable vehicle w/a fair amount of downtime (hopefully these are resolved for good, eventually), it's probably fine. It blows every other currently sold EV in range except the Model S. In terms of acceleration, I think only the Model S and the Spark EV are faster. See bottom of Testing Electric Vehicles in the Real World.

I wouldn't be surprised if you hit the dreaded "check EV system" messages and inability to start, requiring replacement of the gateway ECU and a new motor/gearbox if yours starts getting noisy. Both seem not so rare.

TonyWilliams got 130 miles on a charge on a rental before buying: My Nissan Leaf Forum View topic - Official Toyota RAV4 EV Thread.

Current Rav4 EV range champs: Toyota Rav4 EV Forum 300km Club (186.4 mile)

I posted some great videos at Toyota Rav4 EV Forum View topic - Interesting videos. Lots of pics at 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV Driving Impression (Warning: Bandwidth HEAVY) | PriusChat.

I have test driven one of these 2x on a short test drive at AltCar Expo (great event, BTW). I test drove it a few days after it went on sale. It's very fast and it's easy to squeal the tires. Too bad its not RWD or AWD.
 
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efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Moderator
Can't touch the thoroughness of Cwerda's post, but will say that the Rav4EV I've driven was spirited, and fun to drive. Toyota has crippled the charging system, which is a shame, but I think that the deals out there now for leasing this vehicle are quite attractive (Check out Dianne Whitmire at Carson Toyota--tell her Evan Fusco sent you) and would be a cost effective option for getting into an EV while waiting on the X.

I keep toying with temporary EV options for my wife while we wait, but I think we'll keep thrashing our high mileage hybrids for now instead.
 

Lloyd

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 12, 2011
6,405
2,339
San Luis Obispo, CA
Own one, and love it. No problems whatsoever. 10K miles now. I tend to get more miles than shown by about 20%, and I don't drive conservatively. My only complaint is that Toyota wants to see the car for a day every 5K miles which is a pain.


edit........................

This has been talked about before, but they really needed to provide better information about charging. The car only came with a 110V charge adapter which is painfully slow.
 
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Send a PM to Lloyd and ask him to chime in. He's had one for a year or more IIRC.
Seems impossible for it to be more than a year or even a year, considering the below from Toyota | Toyota All-Electric 2012 RAV4 EV Rolls into California :
The RAV4 EV will go on sale the week of September 24, 2012 through select California dealers, focusing on major metropolitan markets.
I test drove it 2x at AltCar Expo and my pics are dated 9/28/12. They told me it had gone on sale just a few days before it.
 
Yes, on sale: September 24, 2012

Month - Monthly -- Cumulative Total
Sep 2012 - 61 ........... 61 ("mandatory" sales to dealers mostly)
Oct 2012 - 47 ........... 108
Nov 2012 - 32 ........... 140
Dec 2012 - 52 ........... 192
Jan 2013 - 25 ............ 217
Feb 2013 - 52 ............ 269
Mar 2013 - 133 .......... 402
Apr 2013 - 70 ............ 472
May 2013 - 84 ............ 556
Jun 2013 - 44 ............ 600
July 2013 - 109 ......... 709 of 2600 total production is sold
Aug 2013 - 231 ......... 940, only 1660 more to go, about April 2014 sell out.
 
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I'm assuming the RAV4 doesn't have anything in the way of remote access to the car. No app to check on charge state, lock/unlock, precondition the cabin, etc. it might be a fine EV, powered by Tesla battery and drive train, but without that access, a good portion of the benefits of the MS or prospective MX are missing. Hope I'm wrong and such exists...
 
I'm assuming the RAV4 doesn't have anything in the way of remote access to the car. No app to check on charge state, lock/unlock, precondition the cabin, etc. it might be a fine EV, powered by Tesla battery and drive train, but without that access, a good portion of the benefits of the MS or prospective MX are missing. Hope I'm wrong and such exists...

Yes, Toyota has most of that with "Entunes".

You can't lock/unlock remotely.
 

Lloyd

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 12, 2011
6,405
2,339
San Luis Obispo, CA
I'm assuming the RAV4 doesn't have anything in the way of remote access to the car. No app to check on charge state, lock/unlock, precondition the cabin, etc. it might be a fine EV, powered by Tesla battery and drive train, but without that access, a good portion of the benefits of the MS or prospective MX are missing. Hope I'm wrong and such exists...

Yes, It has, Charge Management, Charging station Map, Eco Dashboard (records driving history), remote climate control, Vehicle location map, and in car applications, including opentable, movie tickets, I heart Radio, Pandora, and preloaded destinations in Mapping.

Additionally you can pre-program the climate control to have the cabin at the temperature you desire daily. (7 day scheduler.)
 
Additionally you can pre-program the climate control to have the cabin at the temperature you desire daily. (7 day scheduler.)
Except that the charging schedule feature has lots of bugs and sometimes just arbitrarily skips days. (Some skipped days are predictable, such as day 31 in any month that has it.) My Rav4 EV decided not to charge last night again, but luckily I had enough juice to get to work and back.
 
Yes, It has, Charge Management, Charging station Map, Eco Dashboard (records driving history), remote climate control, Vehicle location map, and in car applications, including opentable, movie tickets, I heart Radio, Pandora, and preloaded destinations in Mapping.

Additionally you can pre-program the climate control to have the cabin at the temperature you desire daily. (7 day scheduler.)
Cool. didnt know that. we'd look at the RAV4 when our Volt lease ends next October, if they were available here. Not sure if the Mercedes B Class will be available by then and if so at what price. But while I have an X deposit down, I'm not sure if we can afford another Tesla S/X, esp. given the little we would need a second car for (since we got the MS on 4/18, we've put a grand total of 800 miles on the Volt). And we do have 2 kids under 3, so we need some space.

But a heavily-discounted RAV4 sounds like it could fit the bill nicely. The frequent service checks might be an issue though from PHX.
 
@ Jomo25
I also have one for about 3 months now while waiting for my X. Started around 2400 miles or so I got the gear high-pitched whine. I also have a Volt and the cabin sound signature is definitely different, even before the whine. It was not as quiet as Volt which is a shame since the sound system is great.
Given all the problems that other RAV4 owners have experienced I think I am still somewhat lucky to be hit with "only gear whine" ;) Hopefully the luck will continue till I move closer to CA next year to get it fixed. Since no Toyota dealers outside of CA will be reimbursed by Corporate for warranty repairs without the owner make a big fuss about it.
 

timf

Active Member
Apr 14, 2013
1,044
171
Michigan
It's very discouraging to see the steps Toyota has taken to try and prevent their cars from being sold outside of California. The Rav4 EV by all accounts is a great performer and perfect compromise for someone who wants the power of a Tesla but can't comfortably afford it. There are clearly buyers who want it, but again a big automaker is trying to create the impression that nobody wants to buy EVs by artificially limiting the market. It would be at the top of my shopping list if they were committed to electric vehicles, but instead it further cements my dislike of Toyota.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,481
2,933
Redmond, WA
A few years ago I talked to a couple of Toyota employees that were showing off a pre-production Plug-In Prius. I said something positive about electric cars (I assumed they would just nod, given the product they were showing)...and they got upset. Didn't I know they (the company; not these employees who were relatively new) had tried so hard to sell EVs in the past, put so much marketing in to it, and sold almost none of them? It was clear that nobody wanted them.

I pointed out they had sold and leased every RAV4 they built, and in fact had to scrape together some frankenstein builds in order to deliver on what they had sold, and they cut off sales the first day they were legally able to do so - while orders were still coming in. They weren't having it, and got really mad. No! Nobody wanted them - look at how few they sold - and that's why they stopped selling them! They were very emotional; it was clear they believed this. Even though I told them I far preferred my 2003 RAV4-EV to my 2008-converted PHEV Prius, and had paid above-new prices for my 6-year-old RAV4 because they were in high demand. It was really surreal.

You can always make the argument that nobody wants something - as long as you define "wants" by how many are sold, and you control how many are built (and tell customers that try to buy one that they suck). Toyota's strategy has not changed at all.

In retrospect, they may have been right - their dealers are their customers, and the dealers clearly didn't want them. (Speaking in the aggregate; there are obviously exceptions like Dianne). I had called a California dealer in 2000 to ask about buying one; I have never encountered a car dealer less interested in making a sale.
 
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@ Jomo25
I also have one for about 3 months now while waiting for my X. Started around 2400 miles or so I got the gear high-pitched whine. I also have a Volt and the cabin sound signature is definitely different, even before the whine. It was not as quiet as Volt which is a shame since the sound system is great.
Given all the problems that other RAV4 owners have experienced I think I am still somewhat lucky to be hit with "only gear whine" ;) Hopefully the luck will continue till I move closer to CA next year to get it fixed. Since no Toyota dealers outside of CA will be reimbursed by Corporate for warranty repairs without the owner make a big fuss about it.
Thanks, I've basically decided that the RAV4 is out of the running. It is possible that I consider trading the S in for the X. But love the S so far. And might stick with the Volt as our second car, either buying the one we have after the lease (or more likely leasing a newer one).
 

wycolo

Active Member
May 16, 2012
3,120
482
WA & WY
> I far preferred my 2003 RAV4-EV to my 2008-converted PHEV Prius, and had paid above-new prices for my 6-year-old RAV4 [ChadS]

If 2003 is not a misprint then this would be like a Ford Ranger EV, completely pre-Tesla (really?). And what is your 6 year old RAV4 like?

Would be interesting to contact these Toyota employees today to see if they've figured out the compliance-dealer mindset.
--
 

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