2002 RAV4 EV not running

Discussion in 'General' started by Jerry Cecil, Nov 1, 2017.

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  1. Jerry Cecil

    Jerry Cecil New Member

    My 2002 RAV 4 EV is not running. It has 104,000 miles. Each time I have connected it to the charger, I get errors. The high and low side capacitors were replaced 2 years ago. And really, even when it was running it only had a 20 mile range. I'm no battery expert but I'm thinking that the pack has had a dead cell for sometime. It may have comprised the whole pack. Anyone know of a pack replacement possibility in Arizona?
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  3. That's a tricky situation to be sure. Your Rav4 EV has a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery. I understand there may be reconditioned ones for sale, though I can't say where. Will try to look around for more information.

    In the meantime, Transport Evolved ( an EV video news site) has a write up about problems they had with their 2002 Rav4 EV that might give you some insight into the problem you're experiencing. > click here for that <

    Ultimately, your choices may be either recondition the pack you have, if possible, replace it with another NiMH pack, or do a lithium battery pack replacement.
  4. Jerry Cecil

    Jerry Cecil New Member

    Thanks for the info Domenick. I appreciate any info you can find.
  5. Counterpoint

    Counterpoint New Member

    A full battery pack replacement with a new NiMH battery would get the Rav4 running again for another several years (at least from a battery perspective), but from what I've read Toyota has discontinued production. And with a 15-year-old battery, reconditioning is unlikely to produce lasting results. At this point, I think unless you're an electrical and/or automotive engineer who can retrofit a new battery, you're out of luck.
  6. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    If it was me, I'd talk to my local Toyota service center about the possibility of swapping out a battery pack salvaged from a scrap yard. But frankly I think that's a long shot. In general, neither auto manufacturers nor auto dealers are interested in helping you refurbish your old car; they want to talk you into buying a new one instead.

    And going to a third party for swapping out the battery pack would, I think, put you into the situation of having a car no more reliable than a conversion EV. Without Toyota being involved in swapping out the pack, there's no way to be sure that the BMS (the electronic Battery Management System) would be properly programmed. That would be a crap shoot as far as the car functioning properly, and also a crap shoot as to how long the car would last before a major malfunction left you without a usable car.

    Sorry to be so negative, but the more complex they make cars, the harder it is to be able to rely on a third party for reliable maintenance. Unfortunately, the era of the "shade tree mechanic" has long passed. :(
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  8. Jerry Cecil

    Jerry Cecil New Member

    I appreciate the feedback
  9. Jerry Cecil

    Jerry Cecil New Member

    I appreciate the feedback. I don't think you are being negative, it's just reality.
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Oops! My bad; we're talking about a NiMH battery pack, not a li-ion battery pack. I'm not even sure a NiMH battery pack needs a BMS, and there's no need to worry about a refurbished/replacement pack getting out of balance, as there is with a lithium-ion pack.

    Actually, I think the best advice I can give is for you to join the EAASV e-mail discussion group, and pose your question to those guys. There are a lot of people on that discussion list with lots of experience building and driving their own EVs, and they can probably advise you far better than just about anybody else.

    (Yahoo! ID required)
  11. No problem.
    There's an outfit that used to recondition the packs or swap yours for a refurbished one called Battery MD, but I understand they recently stopped offering those services. I linked the website to their name, and I suppose it wouldn't hurt to get in touch with them to see if there some other alternative for your vehicle. If there is, they would surely know about it.

    The other option is a lithium battery replacement. This would be good in many ways, but I imagine expensive to have done properly.

    If you want to keep driving electric, you could always put your Rav4 EV up for sale. I couldn't find one sold recently, so I couldn't guess how much you could get for it. If it's in good shape, though, I wouldn't be surprised if someone wanted it. For the right person, it might be a great project vehicle. Feel free to list it in our classified section at the bottom of the Forum front page.

    If you really like the Rav4 EV, there are the more recent generation with Tesla batteries available 2nd hand, though they seem to all be in the $15,000 - $16,000 range. You could also consider any number of other used electric vehicles, like the Leaf or oh, I know! Still a little pricey, but probably better supported than even the newer Rav4EVs.
    Kia Soul EV.jpg
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  13. PRS

    PRS New Member


    I came across this thread when doing some other searching on old BEVs. The lack of replacement NiMH replacement batteries is entirely the fault of Chevron and their ongoing patent encumbrance that prevents large format NiMH batteries.

    That's the bad news. But the good news is that it's theoretically possible to build your own replacement NiMH pack using commonly available NiMH cells.

    You should be able to replace the stock Toyota/Panasonic NiMH battery pack by building your own pack that will have the same or higher capacity. You basically start with 240 D-cell NiMH you can get here:


    Get the NiMH D cells rated at 10,000mah. Put 10 of those together in one pack and you have something that is very close to the 12V/95ah the original Panasonic batteries had:


    Get them assemble the 12V battery packs for you:


    But then you still have to build a custom enclosure with the necessary wiring... or have it built for you. I'm guessing when all this will cost at least US$5000. But then you'll have a battery pack that uses commodity cells that would be much easier and cheaper to replace.

    If you don't have the electrical skill and knowledge, I suggest contacting a local company that has done BEV conversions and see what they can do for you... like this place:
    Domenick likes this.
  14. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    It should be possible to test the individual battery cells and just replace any bad or marginal ones with a comparable new or refurbished ones.
  15. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Having read the Wiki description, the original battery modules are no longer available. However, it is possible to do a parallel-serial equivalent. It won't be cheap but it is doable especially IF there is at least one working module:
    • 11 NiMH modules in series is functionally equivalent of a 12V battery
    • wiring cells in parallel makes a functionally, large NiMH battery cell
    One working module is needed to understand the power and control electrical interfaces.

    Where in Arizona and what time limits?

    Today there are 10 Ahr, "D" size, cells. So 10 in parallel, 11 in series makes one module, 110 "D" size, NiMH cells per module. They run about $13-14/cell ... less if bought in bulk. So we're looking at about $1400 per module replacement not including the salvage case and connectors.

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019

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