The all-electric compliance crossover born out of the Toyota-Tesla marriage is having an issue. According to Toyota, the RAV4 EV could inadvertently shift into neutral because of fault with the Tesla-made software, forcing the automaker to recall all 2,500 models floating around California.
Here's the official word from Toyota:
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.
The RAV4 EV was sold between 2012 and 2014 as a compliance car to meet CARB requirements for zero-emissions vehicles. At the time, Tesla and Toyota were still enjoying a partnership, with Tesla purchasing its Fremont, California factory for $42 million and Toyota taking a $50 million stake in the electric automaker. Part of the deal between the two companies involved Tesla supplying the drivetrain, controller, and electronics that powered the retrofitted electric crossover.
Toyota still holds a stake in Tesla, although it started to sell off its shares in late 2014 and it's not clear how many more it will sell later this year. Considering Elon Musk's "fool cells" comments, it might be a lot and it might be soon.