How Does the Toyota RAV4 Prime Work?

For maximum efficiency, a plug-in hybrid vehicle supplies every need. One of the top choices right now is the Toyota RAV4 Prime. But how does the Toyota RAV4 Prime work, and is it a good choice for daily driving? 

In this guide, I show you how the RAV4 Prime powertrain is configured. I reveal how to charge the RAV4 Prime. Plus, I show the differences between this PHEV and the Hybrid model

toyota rav4 prime in supersonic red

An Overview of the RAV4 Prime’s Powertrain

The RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). It utilizes batteries to power the electric motor, but there’s also an internal combustion engine that uses gasoline. You can charge the PHEV by plugging it into an external source.

The RAV4 Prime can run strictly on electric-only power while the battery is charged. Once the battery becomes depleted, it will switch to the gas engine instead. 

The traction battery pack stores electric energy and powers the vehicle’s electrical components. The RAV4 Prime has an 18.1 kWh Hybrid Vehicle (HV) battery pack containing sealed Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cells. These are lightweight but can also store plenty of energy.


Charging the RAV4 Prime’s Battery

Toyota RAV4 Prime charging looks different from the more common RAV4 Hybrid. There’s a charging port located above the tire on the rear quarter panel. You will have to open the cover to get to the port.

rav4 prime charging port

The Toyota RAV4 Prime uses a J1772 charging port. This is the same port used by every EV manufacturer except for Tesla, so you will be able to use most public charging stations. You can also plug the PHEV into your home charging station.

With the included 120V home charger, it will take about 12 hours to get a full charge when the battery is depleted. Using a public charging station (or 240V home charger) cuts down the time dramatically. It will only take about 2.5 hours for a full charge in that case. 

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid doesn’t plug in, making the Prime unique. However, both models take advantage of regenerative braking and use the engine to charge the battery while you’re driving. 

Differences Between the RAV4 Prime and RAV4 Hybrid

I’ve already touched on the charging differences between the two. That’s the main aspect to consider since the RAV4 Hybrid never needs to be plugged in.

However, the RAV4 Prime also has a larger electric battery. This bigger battery provides a longer electric-only driving range. With EV mode, you can go up to 42 miles without using any gas in your Prime model. In comparison, the RAV4 Hybrid is only rated for up to 0.6 miles at very low speeds. 

There’s also the difference in the price. You will spend more to get behind the wheel of a RAV4 Prime. Not only that, but they can be challenging to find. Because of the RAV4 Prime’s availability, you may actually spend more than the sticker price on this PHEV. 

It’s also important to compare the efficiency of the two. Aside from driving in electric-only mode, there’s a difference with EPA fuel economy estimates when driving on gasoline only. Here are the current ratings.

  • Toyota RAV4 Prime: 38 mpg combined
  • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: 40 mpg combined

Plus, the RAV4 Prime has a more powerful engine configuration. You can enjoy 302 combined horsepower from the Prime model, while the Hybrid is only rated for 219 combined horsepower.

Yet, with all these differences, it’s still important to consider what the two models have in common. Not only do they measure the same and look similar, but they have many of the same features. On top of that, neither RAV4 model qualifies for the federal EV tax credit anymore. 

(Motor Biscuit)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Toyota RAV4 Prime can be plugged into a household charger or a public charging station. It also utilizes regenerative braking technology to keep the battery charged. Aside from that, when the engine is running, a charge is restored to the batteries. 

The RAV4 Prime partially charges itself when the engine is running because of the onboard charging technology. It also uses a regenerative braking system during deceleration. To get a full charge, you want to plug the RAV4 Prime in. 

The Toyota RAV4 Prime can drive up to 42 miles on a single charge when using the EV mode. This is one of the longest electric-only driving ranges of all PHEVs. The Toyota RAV4 Prime’s MPGe is also rated at 94 combined miles by the EPA.

Primed and Ready for Charging

The Toyota RAV4 Prime has so much to offer, which is why it’s hard to find. The superior electric-only driving range paired with the high-tech cabin makes this a desirable PHEV for any driver. 

If you have trouble getting a Prime model, you may need to settle for the RAV4 Hybrid instead. While it’s not nearly as capable, it’s undoubtedly not going to disappoint. In a few years, the RAV4 Prime should be more available, and you can upgrade then. 

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  1. Andy Campbell says:

    I am considering buying a RAV 4 Prime and use a Tesla/J1772 plug-in adapter. Would it be wise to install a 60 amp connectivity in my home garage producing 48 amps to charge the RAV 4 faster and for future requirements? I have a 200 amps power panel which should be enough to satisfy this new installation.
    Also, can the RAV 4 Prime use 48 amp charging?
    Andy in Ottawa, Canada