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The Great Hybrid Battery Debate

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  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    What you may have been reading over the past several years is a vocal demand,. from a relatively small driving segment, for a plugin version. In fact Toyota has been relatively cool if not down on the whole subject. Dave Hermance who was killed several years ago was Toyota USA's top hybrid guy. He wasn't in favor of them at all.

    I believe that there are two reasons.
    1) The technology is not there yet, whether Li-ion or NiMH. One is unproven and the other is somewhat limited in capability.
    2) How big is the market really for this technology and who will be the buyers?

    Toyota is at least as good a Marketing company as it is an auto-building company. I believe that they are studying how to market this. Consider:...
    Nobody living in a city who parks on the street will get any benefit from PHEVs. These owners won't be able to run a wire from two blocks down the street to their building and up 47 floors.
    If you are taking a long trip, say from CA to FL then only the first few miles have any benefit the rest are all on the 'base' technology.
    There is no infrastructure - yet - to recharge except at your home.
    How much extra will a 'double battery' or new Li-ion pack add to the current price of say a Prius?
    How much will this relatively small segment of buyers be willing to pay for the technology upgrade?
    Can the Li-ions be warranted for 10 yrs / 150,000 mi? Who knows.

    Lots of marketing decisions not to mention the technical hurdles to overcome.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Nobody living in a city who parks on the street will get any benefit from PHEVs. These owners won't be able to run a wire from two blocks down the street to their building and up 47 floors.
    If you are taking a long trip, say from CA to FL then only the first few miles have any benefit the rest are all on the 'base' technology.


    I think you've pretty much covered the typical motorist and his typical drive with those two examples.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    What you may have been reading over the past several years is a vocal demand,. from a relatively small driving segment, for a plugin version. In fact Toyota has been relatively cool if not down on the whole subject.

    I was going by all the hype from Toyota of a 100 MPG Prius. Maybe it is not a PHEV. It will be interesting to see them get more than double the current mileage without charging them up first. This was projected by Toyota for 2009 MY back in 2006. That means they should be in showrooms in the next few months. see article:

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=109981

    PS
    I thought people living in apartments in the city were supposed to ride the bus.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Actually Toyota hasn't said a single word about anything on the new Prius except that it wouldn't have Li-ion batteries when the next model comes out. Typically Toyota.

    That link from Edmunds was a restatement of an off the wall article by some writer in Europe with no connection to Toyota at all.

    All the hype you read was supposition by various 'experts' and pundits, primarily in Europe, on what the next one might be. Officially it's not even due out this year. Literally we don't have a single word on it.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    I know our hybrid friend Larsb has touted the 100 MPG Prius that was shown in Europe over and over again for a couple years. I personally thought it was some kind of trick to fool the EU into thinking a Prius was competition for a diesel car. Which we all know is not the case. It is pretty much all that is given to the US buyer. As we get the dregs of the Automotive industry here.
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,677
    A reporter is hoping to talk with hybrid owners who have had to replace the hybrid's battery. Please respond to ctalati@edmunds.com before Friday, May 16, 2008 with your daytime contact information and a few words about your experience.
    Thanks,
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
    Edmunds.com

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    This has a lot of good info:

    Hybrid Battery

    Despite eBay's booming battery bazaar, Toyota, Honda and Ford all say hybrid battery failures are extremely rare. Out of more than 100,000 Honda hybrids on the road, the automaker says fewer than 200 have had a battery fail after the warranty expired. Honda, like Toyota and Ford, covers the cost of battery replacement for the first 100,000 miles in most states and 150,000 miles in California and a few other states with tough green car laws.

    Toyota says its out-of-warranty battery replacement rate is 0.003 percent on the second generation Prius that debuted in the 2004 model year. That equals about one out of 40,000 Priuses sold, says Toyota spokesman John Hanson. That's a vast improvement over the first generation Prius, which had about 1 percent of the batteries fail after the warranty expired. Hanson says today's Prius batteries are designed to last "the life of the car," which Toyota defines as 180,000 miles. (Toyota and Panasonic announced Friday that they will build a new $200 million factory to produce more hybrid batteries to meet the automaker's goal of selling 1 million gas-electric cars a year.)

    For those unlucky few who have to replace their own batteries, the cost is coming down. On June 1 Honda is slashing the cost of its batteries from $3,400 (excluding installation) to as low as $1,968 on an Insight or as high as $2,440 on an Accord hybrid. Toyota also plans to substantially cut battery prices, which now stand at $3,000 (excluding installation), down from $5,500 on the original Prius. Both automakers attribute the price cuts to improved technology and lower production costs. But some analysts think Toyota and Honda are really trying to get ahead of consumer concerns about battery replacement. "PR is a very important factor in the hybrid market," says J.D. Power's Omotoso. "Honda and Toyota have the oldest hybrids on the road. And when a hybrid gets to be that old, you have to factor battery replacement costs into your purchase decision."
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    What do you think the dealer will charge for installation if you are the one in a hundred that needs a new $5500 battery? I would guess about $1000 to install. Making the car worthless when the battery dies.

    Used Prius for sale, BYOB (bring your own battery) :shades:

    It is good that Toyota and Honda are fessing up to the dead batteries after warranty. I would still like to know how many they have replaced while under warranty.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Batteries don't die, they degrade. A battery that can only hold 79% of its charge is only worth slightly less than a battery that can hold 80% of its charge. Regardless, a used Prius with no battery is still not worthless. It's got to still have the utility of a used Corolla.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    everytime this issue comes up the single most important question of all is NEVER asked....

    "What's ANY car worth that has 180K - 225K miles on the ticker?"

    I know what the answer is, I see it every week. It's worth less than $300. No moron is going to put a $2000 or $3000 or $4000 battery or a tranny or any other major repair like that into a vehicle that's worth only $300.

    This discussion always deteriorates into the absurd. If the hybrid battery only goes 327,459 miles....How many angels can fit on the head of a pin? The batteries don't break down except in the nightmares of the 'flat worlders'. The rest of us just drive them til we want to get rid of the vehicle. That's reality.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    The rest of us just drive them til we want to get rid of the vehicle. That's reality.

    I'm not the one that posted the reality that Toyota and Honda had both SOLD replacement batteries to hybrid customers that were not covered by warranty. That means they felt it was worth the money to go a little further with their hybrid. We have had Insight owners complain of deteriorated batteries that Honda refused to change under warranty. If you are not part of the 1% of the Prius owners that have drawn the bad battery, you are one of the lucky 99%. To you a vehicle is worn out at 150K miles. To me that would never happen. I am close to 95k miles on our 19 year old Lexus. If we had to replace a battery we would be unhappy with Lexus. It is still running good. I doubt any of the hybrids will still have all their original power train including battery after 19 years. Almost 5 years now on the current Prius. The first one was a gimme and part of the R&D.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary, you know the average person does not keep a car 150K miles. We went through that discussion a few months (or years) ago, and I posted stats showing that only around 5% of USA owners try to "drive it until the wheels fall off."

    I don't know of any Honda refusals of warranty battery replacements. If it was under warranty, Honda was LEGALLY REQUIRED to replace it, if replacement was the technical remedy.

    And there is no where near 1% of the Prius owners with a "bad battery." It's no where near 10,000 Priuses with battery problems. That would have been trumpeted from the highest buildings/mountains by all of 'Yota's competitors if it was that frequent.

    And you yourself have mentioned the multiple thousands of dollars you have spent keeping that Lexus of yours running. What would have been the difference if the thousands had been spent on a new battery or on whatever you really did spend it on? Nothing, that's what !! No DIFFERENCE AT ALL!!

    Thanks for bringing out the point that a replacement battery on a hybrid is just another maintenance cost, like replacing the tranny.

    And like others have said - a battery losing charge capability does not DISABLE a Prius - it just means the hybrid drivetrain contributes less to the propulsion, and the car will get worse gas mileage.

    I can't wait until a few more years pass and I get to tell/show you how wrong you have been about hybrids and longevity. Already been 10, almost 11 years now, and we are not hearing about droves of Priuses sitting dead in junkyards, are we?

    NOPE, and we never will.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    Honda was LEGALLY REQUIRED to replace it, if replacement was the technical remedy.

    Well there were two Insight owners at least that posted their Insights were losing ooomph, indicating a deteriorating battery. The Honda dealers in both cases would not replace them because they had not failed to a certain point. Whatever that may be.

    And there is no where near 1% of the Prius owners with a "bad battery."

    You posted that statistic NOT me.

    As far as the cost of maintaining our Lexus in top condition. That was purely a dealer over charging for insignificant repairs in many cases. Before my wife and I were married. When they tried that crap with me I found a great independent shop. I believe total maintenance over the 19 years is about $18k. Several $1000 routine checkups and oil changes. The Lexus dealer she bought the car from does not treat customers fairly. The car's engine and transmission is all original. The only major parts were suspension related.

    I stand with my statement. I do not believe ANY hybrid battery will last 19 years. For those of us that do our part to conserve by keeping a car a long time the hybrids are probably not a good option. That being the reason I prefer diesel. The simpler the better. I have a line on a 20 year old diesel Land Cruiser in Canada. That is legal you know.

    PS
    If you want to count the 9 year old Prius. We can bring up multiple problems they have encountered including MANY battery failures.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    Seems there is more to your link.

    Still, hybrids don't hold their value as well as their gasoline-powered siblings, batteries aside. For example, a three-year-old Honda Civic is worth about $12,000, retaining about 60 percent of its original sticker price of $20,000, according to Blair. But a hybrid Honda Civic holds only 58 percent of its original sticker price after three years, giving it a used price of $13,630, down from a new price of $23,500. "The new car buyer is more into bells and whistles, while used car buyers are all about value," says Blair. "If a hybrid is near the end of its warranty, what could creep into the mind of the used car buyer is, 'I still have a doubt about the battery, and it's just one more big thing that could go wrong.'"
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    GM seems to have done a far worse job with their little piddly battery than 'Yota has done:

    GM battery on the leaky side?

    With gasoline at $4 a gallon and the Toyota Prius flying out dealership doors, General Motors' mild hybrid vehicles are stuck in neutral because of battery-pack failures.

    GM had to use 9,000 battery packs to replace leaking ones it recalled, a company spokesman says. GM diverted those batteries from new hybrids for sale this year.

    GM planned to sell about 27,000 mild hybrid vehicles this year, possibly more given the sharp rise in gasoline prices. But insiders say GM will fall far short of that goal because of problems with its Michigan-based battery maker, Cobasys, a joint venture of Chevron Technology Ventures and Energy Conversion Devices.

    GM discovered an internal leak in the nickel-metal hydride batteries that Cobasys made for GM's 2007 model hybrids. The leak caused the hybrid powertrain to shut down. The vehicles could still be driven, but not with the hybrid system.

    The vehicles affected were the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line and Saturn Aura Green Line hybrids. A GM spokesman says the company recalled about 9,000 vehicles to replace battery packs. That slowed the launch of the 2008 Saturn hybrids and the new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

    Custom-built batteries
    Cobasys' batteries are specifically designed for GM's mild hybrid system. That means GM cannot switch suppliers until it brings out the next generation of mild hybrids in 2010, a source familiar with GM hybrid engineering said.

    GM initiated the recall in late December when it began receiving reports of battery failures. Cobasys halted production for at least a month while it fixed the problem and revalidated the batteries, a GM source familiar with the mild hybrid program said.

    "I don't know how many hybrids we could have sold, but we would have had at least 9,000 more batteries for the pipeline," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said. "It's not an insignificant number, but it's also part of what happens with a brand-new technology."

    Repeated calls and e-mails to Cobasys were unreturned. But a person who answered the phone at the company's Springboro, Ohio, plant said production had resumed. And the GM source said the automaker is now getting the batteries it ordered.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    That's very subjective, and depends on the comparison and the area of the country. I can compare a 2004 HCH hybrid versus the most comparable EX and the HCH comes out with a higher resale value.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    Remember the Prius had leaky battery terminals that had to be recalled. It all has to do with rushing into the hybrid hysteria to LOOK GREEN.

    Toyota says its out-of-warranty battery replacement rate is 0.003 percent on the second generation Prius that debuted in the 2004 model year.


    And of those 2nd gen Prii sold how many batteries are out of warranty. That is a typical Toyota play on words. I would be surprised if 5% of the Prius sold are past 100,000 miles, the normal warranty. None have reached the 8-10 year. The oldest gen 2 Prius is not 5 years old yet. If Toyota wanted to be honest with their customers they would say how many batteries they have repaired or replaced in or out of warranty. They are too slick to do that. It would cause a panic in the hybrid market.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,690
    That's very subjective, and depends on the comparison and the area of the country. I can compare a 2004 HCH hybrid versus the most comparable EX and the HCH comes out with a higher resale value.

    Again, it was stated in your link with half truths about hybrid batteries. I can attest to the fact that a GMC hybrid PU had very good resale. I only lost about $3000 owning it for 2 years. Not great in my book but I did get rid of it before anything quit working.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    After all you really know, to keep saying 'Yota only "looks green" is getting kind of tired Gary. You know better.

    Some people buy Priuses for business travel and put 35K miles on it a year. Someone who bought one outside a CARB state could be out of warranty in 3 years easy.

    And your definition of "being honest with it's customers" flies in the face of the reality of marketing. As a manufacturer, you don't EVER intentionally point out things you have done wrong or problems that your vehicles have had. From a marketing standpoint, that's just a Big Ole DUH.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Again, that was one example of what can be thousands. My EDUCATED guess is that in most areas of the country, especially the large city markets, hybrids are holding their value better than comparable gas-only versions. I know that's true in Phoenix because I KBBed it.

    And can you point out a "half-truth" in that article for me? I missed them I guess......
This discussion has been closed.