| Stats & Impressions | Charging the RAV4
| Inside the RAV4
The charger we use for the RAV4 EV is a cousin to the
MagneCharge GM EV1 charger,
having been manufactured under license from GM/Hughes by
Toyota Automatic Loom (TAL) Works division of Toyota. Like the GM EV1's
charger, it uses inductive coupling to eliminate shock hazard,
but with a physically smaller
paddle and car-to-charger communications via an infra-red link instead
of the RF used by GM. The charger itself will actually still communicate
via RF, so it is backward compatible with a GM EV1 with the use of a
Of course the RAV4 EV is not compatible with
the old GM charger since the charger paddle is too large and does not
have IR communications capability. This makes our old GM charger
unusable with the RAV4 (grrr...).
The charge port of the RAV4 is at the front, slightly offset to the right
side of the car, making it almost unimportant as to which side of the car
the charger is mounted in our garage (good design!). However, one strange "feature" of the
RAV4 is that the charging port is covered by a locking cover which can be
shut from the outside, but only opened from inside the car. This makes it
possible for someone to disconnect the charger and lock the charge port,
making it necessary to open the car before it can be charged again. While
this might seem unimportant, it makes it
possible for passers-by to interrupt charging at a public charger, and
impossible for some good samaritan to start the charging again!
Clearly, this was designed by a gasoline car engineer. I don't think there's any
possibility that someone will steal electricity out of the car. Nor would
I care if someone unauthorized charges the car up for me!
Another annoyance is that if the charger paddle is pulled out while the
charging is in progress, the paddle cannot be simply re-inserted into the
car to continue charging. Instead one must insert the paddle into the charger
to reset the charger and then put into the vehicle to resume charging.
A power failure during charging will similarly leave the charger hung up
so that charging will not automatically restart. Bad design! In this
respect, the EV1 and its charger was a better design.