Toyota Recalls All RAV4 EVs To Fix Faulty Tesla Component


Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota RAV4 EV

Here’s the press release from Toyota on the recall that involves all RAV4 EVs ever built:

Toyota Recalls Certain Camry, Highlander, RAV4 and RAV4 EV Vehicles

March 11, 2015

TORRANCE, Calif., March 11, 2015 – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., today announced it will conduct safety recalls of approximately 2,500 Model Year 2012 – 2014 RAV4 EV vehicles; and approximately 110,000 Model Year 2015 Camry, Camry Hybrid, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, and 2014-2015 Model Year RAV4 vehicles.

  • In the involved RAV4 EV, components in the Electric Vehicle Traction Motor Assembly, which is part of the propulsion system, may cause the vehicle to shift to “neutral” due to a software issue. This condition will also trigger a “Check EV System” warning message on the instrument panel and turn on a malfunction indicator lamp. If the vehicle shifts to “neutral”, this will result in a complete loss of drive power, which can increase the risk of a crash.

Owners of the involved vehicles will receive a notification by first class mail. Toyota dealers will repair the electric vehicle traction motor assembly.

  • In the involved Camry, Camry Hybrid, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid and RAV 4 vehicles, a circuit board for the electric power steering (EPS) may have been damaged during its manufacturing process. This can result in the loss of power steering assist; an instrument panel warning lamp will also come on. Manual steering is maintained, but the loss of power steering assist results in increased steering effort at low vehicle speeds and increases the risk of a crash.

Owners of the involved vehicles will receive a notification by first class mail. Toyota dealers will inspect the steering column assembly and replace the power steering electronic control unit, if it falls within the affected range.

Toyota is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities caused by either condition.

A Toyota spokesperson says that Toyota dealers will be repairing a Tesla supplied component.

And here are additional details on the potential crash-causing condition:

recall 1recall 2

Categories: Tesla, Toyota

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35 Comments on "Toyota Recalls All RAV4 EVs To Fix Faulty Tesla Component"

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I remember reading on insideevs about Tesla and Toyota engineers fighting over RAV4 EV software.

And software is a “component?”

Using the word “component” implies it is a hardware issue.

That’s gonna suck for people that bought RAV EVs and shipped them out of state. Aren’t the only dealerships that service RAV4 EVs in CA?

So far so good for me here in New Jersey, I’ve had software/firmware updates performed on my Rav4 EV at my local dealer by one of Toyota’s traveling techs so this recall should be a non issue for the out-of-staters.

I’m curious how well my Illinois Toyota dealer will cooperate with the notice

I’m guessing Toyota is more concerned about the 110,000 Camrys and Highlanders they are recalling.

So Right, KDawd. I suspect, however that the Takata Airbag Crisis may be more of a compelling concern for Toyota and other OEM’s affected by it.

“Q4: Which and how many vehicles are covered by this Safety Recall?

A4: There were approximately 701,300 Toyota vehicles covered by the DSF (D3F) Safety Recall in the US. Approximately 145,150 vehicles originally covered by DSF (D3F) are now part of Superseding Safety Recall E04 for High Absolute Humidity locations.

There are now approximately 556,150 covered by Safety Recall DSF (D3F). Vehicles covered by Safety Recall D0F that received a replacement airbag inflator module are not included in either action.”

Link Goes To “Safety Recall DSF (D3F)
2003 – Certain 2004 Model Year Corolla, Corolla Matrix, and Tundra Vehicles
2002 – Early 2004 Model Year Sequoia Vehicles
Front Passenger Airbag Inflator Module”-


Thomas J. Thias


Another example of why “Over the Air” Software Updates are the way to go for computer controlled vehicles.

Can’t wait till people start freaking out about the multiple software bugs in their “Autonomous Mode” vehicles. 😉

I sincerely hope that Toyota is not going to have dealers open the drive unit to replace something like a speed sensor. The design of these drive units was frozen very early in the Model S production cycle. There are obviously several improvements that have been made in the intervening years. My hope is that they do rotating rebuilds on these drive units and all available improvements are included in the rebuilds. If they don’t, they will end up swapping the drive unit anyway for other reasons like excessive transaxle noise within the 5/60 powertrain warranty.

I also find it interesting that this action was announced shortly after the very last new RAV4 EV was sold.

After the last RAV4 sold and right as the Mirai is launched.

Think of it as one last parting “Goodbye Gift” from Toyota, to the folks at Tesla. 😉

This sounds suspiciously akin to the Ford Focus Electric “Stop Safely Now” error that involved a complete loss of power. Since the update, it has never happened again.

I suspect the issue is more similar than not, and the (13 if I recall) complaints from Ford owners got this into a recall.

I had this happen to my RAV4 EV just last month, and I reported it to… and here we are. My entire drive motor assembly was replaced (the second for me with two cars).

Sorry to hear you’ve had so much trouble with the car. That’s sad because it is the only >100 mile range EV that is somewhat affordable.

Then again, they are all sold out.

Hope the fix can be done quickly and solve the problems.

There is a very strong secondary (used) market for these cars, particularly out-of-state.

Once this glitch is resolved, I believe most of the important ones will be done. The motors will keep on howling, but Tesla keeps replacing them. My 2012 RAV4 EV with its second motor will likely need a third motor before the warranty expires.

We’ve been told that Tesla redesigned the motor, and if that meant replacing the failure prone ceramic bearings with old fashioned steel ones, that’s the motor I want!!!

Yes, I’ll take the 0.2% reduction in range.

Software issue?
So,i guess Toyota is incapable of sending over the air fix?
It figures!

Coding and testing new software for discontinued unprofitable compliance car may be more expensive than simply replacing components. And of course Tesla will get the blame and its first true recall.

Toyota probably does not have over the air update, so car need to be brought to Dealer anyway. So added component costs are probably minor.

My comments have been removed. I see no explanation in my email box.

I’ll repeat my assertions: This headline seems an attack on Tesla Motors. It is at best, a poor headline as Toyota’s press release, nor the listed FAQ sent to RAV4EV owners cites Tesla, or Tesla’s part as the problem. Re-read them carefully, and Tesla is not mentioned once. So why the misleading headline?

A source who goes unnamed is quoted in one sentenced tacked on at the end. Here is what it says – “A Toyota spokesperson says that Toyota dealers will be repairing a Tesla supplied component” . I’ll keep typing this in as many times as the writer erases my comments. It’s unreal to me that the author goes to that extreme to cite Tesla as the maker of the software that caused the problem, when Toyota didn’t even choose to cite Tesla at all.

This isn’t the Takata airbag debacle. Again the headline on this article seems unusually biased against Tesla for some strange reason.

Can Eric explain?

As you are aware, the site does not allow personal attacks/slander of others, which you did against the author of this piece. Further to that you stated the site has a bias to another automaker and a “anti-Tesla” stance, which is flat out not accurate and would be obvious given the body of stories the site has published on the automaker. The story above contains all of three sentences of text by the author, none of which is inflammatory in the least. The rest is all press releases and data. It was Toyota who highlighted the fact it was a Tesla part that needed to be repaired, hence the title. That is why the comment was removed, and why any further comments in the like manner will also be removed. Because it was 100% ENTIRELY inaccurate, and also fairly abusive in both the content and the tone it was deliverd. It is also why the above comment was not removed, because you did not violate the code on conduct. To answer your question the Toyota representative that said the company will be repairing a Tesla component was Cindy Knight. You are more than welcome to comment, discuss, critique, agree or… Read more »
Here is a poorly written article that posts a photo of an ICE Rav 4 and states 112,500 Rav4s have been recalled. This is right under their headline: “RAV 4 Recalled By Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) For Repairs Due To Faulty Tesla Motors Inc Components” guys are not stupid. You know once that title is registered, like yours – that once Googled, “Faulty Tesla Components” comes up right at the top. I expect more from you. I expect you to not hype some form of Tesla controversy, even when the information chosen clearly shows only 2500 Rav4EVs were effected. There are also many examples of each of my assertions – too many to list. Sure it’s just my opinion, but when you post a headline: “Tesla Model S Finally Gets Rear Seat Console With Cupholders” – The word “Finally” really stands out. That isn’t a news headline as much as an editorial opinion wrapped in a headline. “Finally” projects a negative – not “Tesla Model S Gets Rear Seat Console Option with Cupholders”. See the difference? It clearly connotates an attitude. The responses to the article also skewed way negative. It’s the power of the media to sway it’s… Read more »
Perhaps a software update, or a Toyota rep sloughing off attention of their other hundreds of thousands of recalls that have nothing at all to do with Tesla, Tesla products or Tesla services, and focusing on 2500 RAV4 EVs that do – is worthy of a headline. I disagree. You see from my example above how people are picking this up – and yes, other editors respect what InsideEVs puts out there – and the misinformation THEY publish and the snowball effect of negative Tesla news just increases. Is that what InsideEVs wants to do? If it is – I won’t visit this site the umpteen times per day I presently do. I do feel that is not the goal of, and that we all do stand together as proponents of electric drive. Nitpicking one company and heralding another ICE company who seriously is not “all-in” for electric cars – is noteworthy, IMHO. BMW runs a TV spot now – it states i3, “with a carbon fiber frame”. Which is complete falsehood. I’ve stated here many times that if Tesla pulled that sort of stuff in promoting their cars, they’d be ridiculed off the planet! Surely you’d be correct… Read more »
James, I’m going to wade in on this a bit directly. I read the story, and the comments thereafter (both here and what was removed). However, this story is completely on the level. You have over-reacted here, which is fine – we don’t moderate based on a person’s interpretation/reaction, but the manner in which you did was not/is not acceptable. There was a recall of all RAV4 EVs, Toyota says it was a Tesla part that needs to be repaired. Perhaps the comments are negative in this story because this a recall story about a defective part and nothing else. As to the other bit. An author of a piece is entitled to somewhat of an opinion…if you have issue with this story or a “finally” in a Tesla cupholder story, and deem it necessary to give the author and this site little put-downs and jabs at every opportunity when a story doesn’t fit your sensibilities, well that is not ok. You of course are free to point out your opinion on how the story could have been better, or to whole-heartedly disagree with it. — And while we are always still learning and trying to improve the process, we… Read more »
@Jay I call ’em as I see ’em. If you take my commentary on a poorly-written article as a “personal attack”, so be it. On your point of running the most articles. I’ve always said quality over quantity. It’s not news that some of the writing here – and choices – like the Tiffany run of saucy commentary – have been ( not-so-professional ). You guys are brand-new in this business and I admire you for taking some chances and feeling out your place in the giant auto journalism scheme of things. I will call out bias. I just will. I will call a turkey a turkey as I see it. You’re certainly free to delete my words, and/or disagree. If websites were graded by sheer volume of stories, InsideEVs would be #1 by a large margin. I point out when an article about a nugget of information shouldn’t really be an article. It would be one thing if I was some grumpy-grump and the odd-man-out. I’m not. Others point out the same things…Nearly always. I wish I had the tools to pick through years of InsideEVs to find all the positive comments and posts I have entered. There are… Read more »

Well, I would have hoped you would have realised that directly slandering an author, another commenter, or the site in general was not ok.

Bottom line, is – it is ok to criticize, agree or disagree, say “I don’t think this topic should be covered here” or “the tone isn’t appropriate”, etc., the fact is we moderate almost never…and when we do it is always for abusive behavior and not for any particular automotive topic or opinion.

99.5% of the time, I do appreciate your presence and involvement here James, and I am not trying to discourage you at all. I think you need to just take a step back for a moment and realize your passion sometimes goes a touch too far and it puts us in an awkward situation.

Anyway, I won’t allow anyone here to be slandered or accused of undue/unseen bias, it is not fair to other people participating and lessens the community spirit…and just makes everything unpleasant. I’d ask you to just listen to/appreciate this request and we can all just move on, no worries. No one is saying you can’t be critical of something, just consider the way it is delivered.

I will opine that the titles sometimes do seem slanted for or against certain automakers, and tend to get picked up by other sites that are anti-EV.

That said James, Inside EVs won’t take my comment down for stating such opinions. They respect my opinion and I respect their stance on allowing that expression.

Piling onto authors repeatedly for bias in an unprofessional way is not the best way to get your point across. Whenever I see someone attacking someone personally, it’s hard to not question their credibility. I know we all love EVs and it is easy to get flustered about certain things (myself included) but personal degradation doesn’t solve anything.

Just my 2 cents. When there are no personal attacks I genuinely enjoy your passion and the comments you post.

Myself and others who point out that bias may be considered by – the management – as a yap dog biting at their heels.

Also – when we call out a two-line “article” about a concept vehicle that most likely will never see the light of day in America, followed by a twenty paragraph press release put out by the company…

I’ll point that out too. I believe people who become “fans” of a website or magazine soon fall in line and become opinionless zombies of sorts. If I’m unpopular with some, I purely do not care. You can bet they hear us though – and I believe it makes journalists better and publications better.

Lost in all this fuss are all the positive and humorous posts I make nearly every single day.

“Lost in all this fuss are all the positive and humorous posts I make nearly every single day.”

That’s where my last statement above comes in James, I like all those posts. 😉

The component for which the RAV4 EV is being recalled is a Tesla-supplied component. Therefore, the headline is 100% accurate and the statement from Toyota supports this entirely too.

I’m not trying to pile on here, James, but I do appreciate an occassional ‘negative connotation’ on the stories regarding automakers, and like the fact that I can be critical of a TESLA DESIGN without having the paragragh instantly expunged due to being ‘Disloyal to Tesla’, even though I’m a Tesla Owner. I’ve said before that NEMA 14-50P tesla provided was designed by an incompetitant, and, somewhat less pointedly I stated I’m unsure as to the Nema Class of the Gearbox used in the S, but it appears to be too delicate for the horsepower it must endure. It comes as no surprise to me that subsequent to my posting those ‘barbs’, there have been articles about overheating plugs, and software fixes, and of course, its the inspectors and electricians all at fault, as well as murmering gearboxes. Whatever. I’m just saying, as I think you’ll appreciate, InsideEvs allowing this info to be printed, since I’ve personally been thanked by other users here for giving unvarnished comments even though I’m an owner. InsideEvs is to be congratulated that they don’t immediately expunge everything against particular products, even if occassionally killing some advertising revenue. As a for instance, I’ve been highly… Read more »

@Bill Howland.

You and I have disagreed before, and no hard feelings. Other times we see eye-to-eye.

Such is life.

My daughter just came in my office and asked me to fix her Lego box. We fussed with it and it truly appears the latch is a poor design. Disappointing, since Lego is a multi-billion dollar company.

Today, there are legions of Lego fans – the biggest spenders are adults! These are called AFOLs or, “Adult Fans Of Legos”, and they sometimes have entire garages filled with every Lego product from A-Z ( I know, I feel the same way you do ). My point is – Lego has a huge following, and if I pointed out the poor design of this storage box’s latch – I surely would come under fire. That’s OK – it’s a free world.

I can’t recall a single time I have made comments on A) An auto manufacturer or one of it’s products, or B) An article or headline on InsideEVs wherein nobody agreed with me. Jay can go back and look for that, too – if he has the time. If we don’t have a right to our observations and opinions, I believe we have no rights at all.

Bottom line: I’m a realist, not a contrarian.

Jay, Eric and I can disagree on this also.

Relations between Toyota and Tesla seem to be at quite a low. Toyota calling out Tesla by name on the recall and Tesla calling fuel cells ‘extremely silly’ and ‘fool cells’. Well, all’s fair in love and (car market) war, I guess.

Like most here, I’m on Tesla’s side.

Since the same speed sensor component has failed in 100,000 other Toyota cars, I’ll guess that the speed sensor isn’t from Tesla, but instead (as is normal in the auto world) from another vender.

The programming, however, should never stop the car just because it can’t read a sensor… that’s all on Tesla.

Since I play an airline pilot in real life, the programming in an airplane never shuts down the power!!! Yes, sensors fail all the time.

Isn’t an aircraft turbine designed such that even with a blade broken, the turbine must still provide a minimal amount of power?

Electric Motors probably aren’t designed to handle stuff like that, so throwing in neutral for a non-detect of rotational position may be the best thing to do.

The article doesn’t indicate the solution exactly, but the problem is indicated as a software bug that made it so the drive inverter ECU can’t detect the rotational position, not that the issue was responding to a speed sensor issue with shifting to neutral.

Where’s the fix? It’s been over a month and Toyota Rav4 Ev owners are still waiting! What’s going to take for Toyota/Tesla to get off there butts and do something…a fatality?