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The Toyota RAV4 Prime is a hybrid compact crossover SUV that stands out among its many competitors.
This vehicle can run on its electric battery and switch to gas as required. It offers an estimated 42 miles of electric range and another 38 combined mpg after that. So if you’ve been looking to get into a hybrid vehicle, this would be a great option.
You might be new to electric cars and have questions about charging.
If that’s the case, I’ll take you through all the basics of charging your new plug-in hybrid so you can get the most out of your vehicle. I’ll also give you tips on charging at home or on the go and what to consider when choosing how to charge.
How to Charge a Toyota RAV4 Prime
Now that I’ve covered the basics of charging, I hope it’s all sounding less intimidating. Buying a new car is one of the most exciting purchases, and it shouldn’t feel overwhelming.
I also want to remind you that charging isn’t even necessary with the Prime. The car will keep running if there’s gas in the tank.
Of course, it’s less expensive and more eco-friendly to keep it charged. But just to remind you, you can have peace of mind that you won’t lose power during a long road trip.
Let’s get into it.
Charging at Home
I want to cover everything you need to know about charging your car at home.
You have two options for charging, and there’s a vast difference in the amount of time they take.
The simplest option is to use the charging cable that came with your car at the time of purchase. The Level 1 charger fits into a standard power outlet in your home.
If you take short commutes every day, it’s effortless to plug your car into a standard 120V electrical outlet at home, and the battery will be back up to 100% by the next day. If the battery is empty, this could take about 12 hours.
If you drive more frequently, you may want quicker charging times.
It is possible to install a 240V outlet to allow more power for a Level 2 charger. A Level 2 charger is the type you would use at a public charging station. This type of charger only takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge the RAV4 Prime.
You can have an electrician come out to your house to install a 240V outlet for a Level 2 charger, but it’s a costly feature to have.
Here’s a video on how 240V outlet installation works. Remember, you should use a qualified electrician to install this.
It might not be worth it to some people, but if you are driving your car frequently, it would be convenient to have fast charging at home.
The cost is $700 to $2,000 to install a level 2 charger at home.
I’ll talk more about level 1 and 2 charging later in this article.
Using a Charging Station
If you do a lot of driving, you will want to know where you can find public charging stations.
I suggest using PlugShare. When you access the site, there’s a map showing every charging station in North America, and of course, you can narrow it down to your area.
There are stations everywhere: pharmacy parking lots, hotels, grocery stores, schools, car dealerships, hospitals, and more.
When you arrive at a charging station, remember that when you lock the car, the charger locks into place. Simply unlock the vehicle to remove the plug, close the cap, and you’re ready to keep driving.
PlugShare is awesome because it shows pictures of the chargers from other users and has details about what’s around and whether or not parking is free.
There is a cost when charging your vehicle, but it is not as much as gasoline. In a public station, the average cost is $0.30-0.60 kWh to charge your RAV4 Prime.
A charging cost calculator will be below to help you determine the costs.
Charging Settings and Scheduling
Inside your vehicle, you have the option to schedule when you want to charge.
Let’s say you know that your electricity is cheaper at 2AM. You can plug in your car before bed but not have it start charging until 2AM. In this case, you are taking advantage of “time-of-use” (TOU) rates.
Here’s a quick video explaining how TOU rates work.
Scheduling can reduce electricity costs by scheduling your charging during off-peak hours. You can also schedule it to finish charging by a specified departure time.
Use the multi-information display (MID) or multimedia system screen (if equipped) to access these settings.
Here’s a useful video explaining how it works:
Charging Cost Calculator
To help you understand the exact cost of charging your Toyota RAV4 Prime, I’ve created a cost calculator!
Simply enter your cents per kWh below and click “Calculate”.
It will cost $0.00 to fully charge your Toyota RAV4 Prime.
Note: I strongly encourage you to enter your own electricity rates for the best accuracy. Rates vary widely depending on many factors.
This calculator works by multiplying your expected electricity costs by the total usable capacity of the Prime’s battery. Read more about the battery size below.
Important RAV4 Prime Charging Specs
I know that charging your car might sound like a new and daunting concept to some. But once you do it once or twice, you should feel quite confident.
I promise it’s a simple process, and once you have all the facts, you will feel confident driving and recharging your new EV.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime has a battery size of 18.1 kWh. However, it is estimated that only 14.5 kWh of the battery is usable.
Limiting the usable capacity of the battery prevents over-draining of the battery which can damage it permanently.
Charging Port Location
So you’ve got your new RAV4 Prime, and now you are ready to charge it.
You can find the charging port on the right side of the rear quarter panel. It’s directly above the tire.
The port will be underneath a cover, so push in to pop it open.
To charge, go to the right side, and to pump gas, go to the left.
Charging Plug/Port Type
Your RAV4 Prime comes with a charger for the convenience of charging at home, but what charging stations will be compatible if you’re on the go?
The Toyota RAV4 Prime’s charging port type is J1772. Other than Tesla, every electric vehicle manufacturer uses the J1772 port type. This means you’ll be able to use almost any public charging station you can find.
J1772 charging stations are everywhere, giving you the peace of mind that you’ll be able to get a quick charge while at the mall or grocery store.
Charging stations continue to pop up throughout North America, making plugging in more accessible.
Level 1 vs. Level 2 Charging
When it comes to charging cables for your car, you have two options.
A Level 1 charger is suitable for those who may not do a lot of driving and have time to charge at home overnight. The average time for a full charge is 12 hours using the Level 1 charger.
A Level 2 charger would be better for those of you who have a much longer commute and need a quicker charge. You can achieve a full charge in under three hours with the Level 2 charger, which is a massive difference from the Level 1 cable. You must have a 240V electrical outlet installed in your home to use a level 2 charger.
Level 1 and 2 chargers require different electrical outlets. Level 1 chargers work fine on standard 120V outlets, while level 2 chargers require a 240V outlet.
Let’s take a closer look at level 1 and 2 chargers affect charging times.
Now to the question most people have been asking. How long does it take to charge a RAV4 Prime? The answer varies, so let’s dive in.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime comes with a 120V level 1 charger that can plug into a standard 120V 12A outlet in your home. Charging at home will take about 12 hours for a full 0-100% charge.
Now, if you are charging the battery at a public station or with level 2 charger, you will only have to wait around 2 hours and 30 minutes for a full charge.
So, why is it so much faster at a public station?
Charging stations typically use a 240V outlet with a level 2, 6.6 kW charger (32A). If you crave the same fast-charging power at home, it is possible. You can have a licensed electrician come to your home and install a 240V outlet for a higher-powered charger.
Charging Cable Length
The Toyota RAV4 Prime comes with a Level 1 120-volt charger that is approximately twenty-four feet in length.
Twenty-five feet is the maximum charging cable length allowed for electric vehicles, and you should not use an extension cord as it may overheat. It’s also wise to avoid using multi-outlet power strips, surge protectors, and similar devices.
Charging Cable Options
As mentioned before, there are two types of charges available depending on whether you have a 120V or 240V outlet installed in your home.
Here are some great options for RAV4 Prime chargers.
Level 1 Charger (120v)
A Level 1 charger should have been included with the car when you bought it.
You can plug this charger into a standard outlet in your home (120v). It takes about 12 hours to charge fully, and you can expect to get roughly 4 miles of driving range for each hour.
I recommend the Lectron NEMA 5-15 cable for level 1 charging. This is a reasonably priced, yet high-quality option that uses the J1772 charging protocol required by the RAV4 Prime. It has a cable length of 21 feet which should provide ample length for you to reach an electrical outlet. It also includes indicator lights to show charging progress and warn you of faults in the cable.
Level 2 Charger (240v)
You can only use Level 2 chargers in 240v outlets, so you’d have to have an electrician come to your house to install one. Some newer homes might’ve been built with 240v outlets, so you might already be equipped with a Level 2 charging cable if you’re lucky.
If you have a level 2 charger, you could cut your charging times dramatically. The Level 2 charger will fully charge your RAV4 Prime is less than 3 hours.
I recommend the Morec NEMA 14-50 cable for level 2 charging. This is a 40-amp 220-240 volt charger that meets SAE J1772 compatibility standards for the Prime. It’s made of high-quality, durable material.
Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
When it comes to electric vehicle charging, there are some additional considerations that make the experience different from filling up at the pump.
This is especially true since charging takes significantly longer than fueling with gasoline. Limited charging station availability only makes this process more challenging for drivers.
Because of these limitations, there is some etiquette that you should be aware of as a new EV owner.
- Don’t skip the line — sometimes there will be a line of EV owners waiting to charge
- Abide by any EV charging time limits
- Don’t unplug someone else’s car
- Only charge what you need if there are people waiting
- Only park in EV spots when you need to charge
Frequently Asked Questions
The Toyota RAV4 Prime is a great vehicle. I hope you have a greater understanding of how to use it now.
Also, feel free to check out some more modifications and accessories available for the RAV4 Prime.
If you need more information or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me!
You may also be interested in learning more about the RAV4 Prime’s tax credit status. Check out my video below: