The Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling car in the world, moving over 1.1-million units last year. Sitting at the top of the lineup is the plug-in hybrid variant, the RAV4 Prime. It’s a compelling choice if you’re shopping for a PHEV, since it has an attractive electric-only driving range of 42 miles thanks to its 18.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The increased range however, means increased charging times, so it’s definitely worth considering a Level 2 home charger if you own a RAV4 Prime.
But before you go and hire an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet in your garage and purchase a new EVSE, there are a few things to consider. For starters, you should know that Level 2 charging speeds actually differ based on the RAV4 Prime model you own. The optional 6.6-kW onboard charger is only available on the XSE model. Otherwise, you have a 3.3-kW onboard charger, which means noticeably slower charging rates.
If you’re debating whether or not you should get a Level 2 charger, read on for all the details so you can make an informed decision.
Level 1 charging
Toyota includes a charging cable with every RAV4 Prime that works with your standard household 120-volt outlet. It’s a Level 1 charger that provides about 4 miles of range per hour, which means it’ll take around 10.5 to 12 hours to fully recharge the battery pack from empty. Since the RAV4 Prime’s range is a bit more than many PHEVs on the market, some owners might be able to live with just Level 1 charging. If you’re able to do your daily commute within the driving range and charge overnight, there may not be a compelling reason to purchase a Level 2 charger.
But if you take multiple trips throughout the day and are able to charge in between those trips, a Level 2 charger could be beneficial. This is especially true if your daily driving exceeds 42 miles and you want to maximize the range you’re driving only on electric power. For example, if you know you have two hours in between trips, Level 1 charging will only net you about 8 miles. Level 2 charging however, can get you noticeably more driving range depending on which onboard charger you have.
If you plan on only doing Level 1 charging, then it doesn’t matter if you have the 3.3- or 6.6-kW onboard charger. A 120-volt outlet for Level 1 charging only provides 1.44 kW of power, so no matter which onboard charger you have, you’ll still need anywhere from 10.5 hours to 12 hours to complete a full charge.
Level 2 charging
With the 3.3-kW onboard charger, the RAV4 Prime takes roughly 4.5 hours to fully charge from empty. If you own the XSE model with the 6.6-kW onboard charger, that time gets cut to about 2.5 hours. Whether you need the 6.6-kW onboard charger is largely dependent on your commute. If you have a gap in between trips, then the faster charging rates could pay off.
Knowing which onboard charger you have is also important when it comes time to choosing a Level 2 charger. If you have the 3.3-kW onboard charger, you won’t reap any benefits from purchasing a higher-amperage Level 2 charger. In fact, if all you care about is charging your RAV4 Prime and don’t plan on ever upgrading to a BEV, you can purchase a 32-amp EVSE and it’ll be sufficient for any RAV4 Prime model because its max output is 7.7 kW.
Non-XSE models with the 3.3-kW onboard charger will get 9 to 10 miles of range per hour of charging on a Level 2 charger. The 6.6-kW onboard charger provides about double that amount — 18 to 20 miles. That is, of course, assuming the charger provides at least 6.6 kW. Charging rates can be impacted by various conditions, but this is a good approximation.
Recommended Level 2 home EV charger
Since the maximum charge rate of the RAV4 Prime is 6.6 kW if you have the XSE model, a 32-amp charger is all you need. But if you ever plan on purchasing an EV in the future, you may want to invest into a 40- or even 48-amp charger. It’ll be more than enough to charge your RAV4 Prime and when you get that new BEV, you’ll be setup to charge it as quickly as possible from home.
Remember, any Level 2 charger requires a 240-volt outlet if you’re going with a plug-in option. There are also hardwired EVSEs and you’ll need a separate circuit breaker that can accommodate it.
If you decide that you can take advantage of the faster charging rates Level 2 has to offer, we recommend the JuiceBox from Enel X. It’s available in 32-, 40-, and 48-amp versions. Again, the JuiceBox 32 is all you need for the RAV4 Prime, regardless of which onboard charger you have. It will offer 7.7 kW, which is higher than the 6.6-kW max acceptance rate on the RAV4 Prime XSE. Invest into a 40- or 48-amp charger if you plan on owning a BEV in the future.
The JuiceBox is one of the most reliable chargers we’ve ever tested and we actually use the commercial versions at our EV Pulse office to charge the cars we review. The home version is WiFi enabled and with the JuiceNet app, you’ll be able to remotely control your charger. That gives you the ability to schedule charging times to take advantage of lower rates, set reminders, get notifications, and more. You can even yell commands at your charger with Amazon Echo or Alexa if you want.
Updated (12:37 p.m. EST, 1/17/2023): Fixed a minor grammatical error.