• Jun 2nd 2008 at 2:27PM
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Rendering of the Chevy Volt battery pack

As hybrid models such as the original Toyota Prius and Honda Insight get older, consumers are beginning to wonder how much it will cost them if the battery eventually fails. It's a reasonable concern as those batteries can be quite expensive to replace. According to an article on Newsweek, though, that once astronomical price is going down. Honda, for example, will be lowering the cost for its hybrid batteries on June 1 from $3,400 to $1,968 for the Insight. The Accord hybrid could still be as much as $2,440. Similarly, Toyota's Prius battery is down to $3,000 from $5,500.

The good news, though, is that the chances of needing to replace the battery in your hybrid is low, even after the warranty coverage is up. Honda says that less than 200 of its hybrid batteries have failed post-warranty, despite over 100,000 vehicles on the road. How about Toyota? Its post-warranty battery replacement rate sits at just 0.003 percent.

Modern hybrid vehicles are designed to minimize the strain on their high-power batteries. Battery management systems have been programmed to only allow a certain amount of the battery's available charge to dissipate, which greatly extends the life of the unit. So, when considering a hybrid vehicle, perhaps the battery shouldn't be too much of a deterrent. Thanks for the tip, Joseph!

[Source: Newsweek]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Everyone seems to overlook the fact that anyone can get an unending supply of complete Prius traction batteries from smashed cars for $300. Check eBay. The reason they're all $300 is that's the price a Toyota dealer will give you to take one back for recycling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius#Battery_life_cycle Also, if a Toyota pack fails (that 0.003 per cent equates to 30 cars out of the one million sold in America, or less than one in each state) it's typically a single cell that's gone bad, not the entire pack. Any honest dealer will replace just that one cell, and not insist on replacing the entire pack (although that's easier and has more profit). It's the equivalent of replacing a flashlight and both batteries because one of the batteries went dead. Honda Civic battery failures are a different animal. Their software (or quality control) eventually causes multiple cells to charge and discharge at different rates, so the total capacity of the pack is reduced. IMHO, Honda dealers should have a plan to repair these packs for a nominal fee, since it's merely a case of automatically controlled charge-discharge cycles that takes a few hours. (You may remember your laptop computer having similar instructions and tools to fully discharge, then fully recharge the battery pack to restore maximum capacity.) Plans exist on the internet to build or buy your own Honda battery discharge/charge unit for $100 - $150, though it's not practical for ordinary people to mess around with high voltage. This would be a hobbyist or professional task. http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/diy-solutions-honda-hybrid-battery-problems-insight-civic-13610.html Honda's sad response is to update the software to largely neuter the battery. Sad because it's a cheap, but poor and ineffective response that does not address the actual problem. Hobbyists that race radio-controlled cars with rechargeable batteries go to great lengths to match individual cells in a pack so they all charge and discharge at the same rate to get maximum power -- same idea. Wake up, Honda!
      • 7 Years Ago
      my '08 prius in California has a 10year/150,000 mile battery warranty. I won't own this car for a decade. I may keep it for that 150k but by then I should be able to afford a used Tesla Whitestar :)
      • 7 Years Ago
      paulwesterberg, those outdated gas stations with no gas to sell will be called "Battery Swap Stations".
      • 7 Years Ago
      Actually theres tons of Gen 2 Priuses that have well over 150 200K.

      Salesmen and taxi service loves them and those are HARD HARD miles
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      1.3 kWh NiMH battery pack in the Prius.

      I doubt pricing it at $3000 is losing money for Toyota.
      • 7 Years Ago
      hm im at 190k with my 04 prius, i remember having a maximum voltage of 250+ something... at 75% S.O.C but now since my CANVIEW is dead, kinda hard to know!

      i'd be more concerned with the classic prius owners since their battery is outdated and more expensive since the 04 + priuses batteries are smaller in design and probably of a new generation.
      • 7 Years Ago
      still think hybrids are a good idea? now you have to dispose of your battery's(polution) and produce another one(more polution). now that you have all those miles get ready to replace the gas engine too. time to scrap it and get another one.then you get robbed at the dealer again. do you really think you are saving anything?
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Toyota's Prius battery is down to $3,000 from $5,500."

      Cripes, the reality of hybrids will start to be apparent once you have 9 yr old Priuses lugging around dead battery packs by owners unwilling to put 3K into an 9 yr old economy car. And then consider the cost of any electronics that need replacement. Talk about increasing the cost of hybrid ownership beyond what is reasonable. And don't forget, the 3K is for the cost of the parts, not the installation.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Where can i buy the battery, or the cells to replace the 3 bad ones in the car? I have a 2001 Prius. The dealer ship wants $4000. to replace my.

        Thank You
      • 7 Years Ago
      If the battery packs were made of modular configurable standardized user replaceable cells and the battery controller could monitor cells and flag those that under perform then the cells could be replaced piecemeal for less cost.

      This would allow the cells to become commodity items that you could buy at those roadside stores that used to sell gas. What will they be called in the future when there is no gas to sell - cell stations? charging centers? coffee shops?
      • 7 Years Ago
      any price lowing of the honda civic hybrid?
      • 3 Years Ago
      what difference it will make if the default battery is disconnected and use the only on fuel thanks
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