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The Great Hybrid Battery Debate



  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    So using your example and the two vehicles that you chose lets see which costs less to purchase and to drive over 6 yrs.

    Assumptions: Yours are accurate IMO except that RESALE VALUES are not factored in.

    Hondas and Toyotas lose about 10% per year in Resale Value as they age. Lets say that both the gasser Civic and the HCH both lose 60% of their value over 6 yrs.

    $24000 * 60% = $14400 Depreciation
    $20000 * 60% = $12000 Depreciation
    Net Extra cost: $2400

    6 * 15000 mi = 90000 mi driven @ 45 mpg = 2000 gal used
    6 * 15000 mi = 90000 mi driven @ 32 mpg = 2812 gal used

    Cost of fuel is
    812 * $4 = $3248
    812 * $5 = $4060

    CD interest 'foregone'
    $4000 * 4% for 6 yrs = $1060

    Initially you spend $4000 more for the HCH but on resale you recover $1600 of that. However in buying the HCH you 'forego' $1060 in CD interest over that period of time. Your net extra cost is ~$3500.

    In fuel expenses..
    @ $4 a gallon on average you will save ~$3250 over 6 yrs and 90,000 mi.
    @ $5 a gallon on average you will save ~$4050 over 6 yrs and 90,000 mi

    It looks like a wash to me. Both vehicles will cost about the same to purchase and drive over that specific time and mileage. Take your pick.

    Currently there is a small Fed Tax Cred on the HCH and some states waive sales tax if you buy a hybrid. Hey it looks like the people in the Marketing Department at Honda did a good job of pricing each vehicle.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576

    Thank you for your reply.

    >"Your math is WAY OFF here in regards to the Civic gasser vs HCH. At most it's about $3000."

    I'm thinkin that If anything, my $4000 for comparison may have been a bit low.

    I just went back to Edmunds and checked the MSRP on a few vehicles, for the sake of comparison, Using the automatic tranny. We know, that how a car is actually equipped will reflect the actual MSRP as well as the actual selling price.

    I don't know how the base or the high end models are equipped.

    The Civic Hybrids ranged from $23,550 to $26,750
    The Civic gassers ranged from $16,205 to $22,205
    Extra cost for Hybrid................$7,345 to $ 4,555

    Toyota Camry only showed 1 hybrid. The price is $26,150
    The gas Camry ranged in price from $20,195 to $22,815
    Extra cost for the Hybrid ranges from $3945 to $5,955

    The Prius Ranges from $22,000 to $24,270.
    The gas Corolla Ranges from $16,150 to $20,050.
    Extra cost for the Prius ranges from $5850 to $4220.

    Using the Edmunds "Comparator", The Corolla is closer in size to the Prius than the Camry is. Actually the Corolla is a bit larger than the Prius. The Camry is larger than either. So I compared the Corolla to the Prius. I gave the low to high ranges because the different equipment can require that maybe a a base gasser is not equipped as well as a base hybrid and so forth.

    We also need to consider that the dealers are going to hold the Hybrid prices as high as possible, and possibly even add on a "Supply and Demand" fee to the bottom line. Where as they are "dealing" on the gassers as the market is becoming flooded with them.

    The "Hype" is on as you pointed out with:
    >"As an example last July USED 1 y.o. Prius' which originally has an MSRP of $22000, with 10-12000 miles on them, were going for $26000 - $28000 at auctions. Not only was there no depreciation but the buyers actually had 25% appreciation."

    Why anyone would want to pay the dealer that $26K-$28K PLUS dealer profit for a used Prius is beyond logic to me.

    >"If I keep a vehicle for 'X' number of years ( pick a number ) then which of the following two vehicles will cost me less over that timeframe and miles driven factoring in fuel costs, maintenance, insurance and resale value"

    That sounds one fair way of saying it! In my above post I was simply trying to point out the possible length of time the average driver would/could expect to drive before he was getting out of the "Extra cost" Hole. Getting to the Break Even point of owning a Hybrid rather than a gasser. :)

    Seems that everyone is jumping on the Hybrid band wagon right now. So we don't know the value of todays hybrids in the future. Batteries as we know them may be a thing of the past, which would hurt the resale of present day technologies. Of course, gassers may also be a thing of the past.

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    In your analysis you mentioned comparing vehicles of roughly equal equipment.

    The Civic hybrid is roughly equal to the Civic EX, No leather and No Navi. icledata%23%23-1%23%23-1%7E%7Ef64%7C%7C536564616e%7E%7Enf51%7C%7C436f6d70616374
    The respective Base prices are $19510 and $22600,i.e. about a $3000 difference.

    The Prius is not comparable to a Corolla. The Prius is a 5 door hatchback the Corolla is a 4 door sedan. The Prius is more accurately comparable to the Matrix which is also a 4cyl 5 door hatchback
    The respective prices, with similar equipment, are $20400 and $24400,i.e. about a $4000 difference

    The standard TCH is very close in equipment to the 4c XLE Camry gasser.
    The respective prices are $27400 and $29200 ( both have cloth, SR but no Navi ), i.e. about an $1800 difference.

    The auction prices that I mentioned in my post were NOT the resale prices being asked to the public. They were the purchase prices being paid by professional buyers on behalf of the dealers in order to secure those vehicles. Then the vehicles had to be transported back to the buying store, prepped, financed and resold. Some stores had as many as 20-40 of these in stock and the public willingly understood that they were paying $5000 - $10000 above the original sticker. The market speaks.

    Again there is no 'Break Even' point unless you are generating income with your vehicle. What you actually have is two columns of expenses, one for vehicle A and one for vehicle B.
    In the case of the Civic / HCH comparo the bottom lines are about equal at 6 yrs but the HCH costs less if the vehicle is kept 10-12 yrs.
    In the case of the Prius / Matrix the costs are about equal at about 5 yrs but the Prius costs less if the vehicle is kept 10-12 yrs.
    In the case of the TCH / Camry the costs are about equal at 2-3 yrs but thereafter the TCH costs much less than the gasser sibling.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    >"The standard TCH is very close in equipment to the 4c XLE Camry gasser.
    The respective prices are $27400 and $29200 ( both have cloth, SR but no Navi ), i.e. about an $1800 difference."

    WHEN, a Hybrid of comparable size and weight and equipment can be bought at $1800 more than a gasser, it will be a value.
    You and I both know that just ain't happening. The battery pack alone cost more than that.

    Also the dealers are not "dealing" on the Hybrids. They are "dealing" on the gassers. If anything, they may tend to add more $1500-$2500 "Protection" to the hybrids. Such as, pin stripe, fabric protection (scotch guard), and the infamous acid rain paint protector. These items are added by the "Get Ready" department at the dealer. Biggest cost to the dealer is the wage paid to the guy spraying, washing, and stretching the tape.

    Add to that the "Supply and demand", sticker and the "We just aren't going to deal on this one" mentality, and there is a huge difference in the price of a Hybrid and Comparably Equipped, same size vehicle. Your dealership may be different.

    >The auction prices that I mentioned in my post were NOT the resale prices being asked to the public. They were the purchase prices being paid by professional buyers on behalf of the dealers in order to secure those vehicles. Then the vehicles had to be transported back to the buying store, prepped, financed and resold. Some stores had as many as 20-40 of these in stock and the public willingly understood that they were paying $5000 - $10000 above the original sticker."

    There ya go !. When used ones are selling for $5000 - $10000 more than the new MSRP, How much is the price of a new one jacked up?

    Just so we are on the same page or at least in the same book, I personally feel that the Toyota and the Honda are be best values in the automotive world. Everything considered.

    However, right now, I don't think the Hybrids are worth the real world "Extra" cost.

    >"Again there is no ' Break Even' point unless you are generating income with your vehicle."

    At $5,000-$10,000 extra cost for the Hybrid, you are right. There is no ' break even' point.

    In this case, For me, "Break Even" is : When the higher initial cost of the Hybrid is compensated for by fuel savings, the "Break Even" point is reached. It has cost as much to own one as the other. From that point, I'm saving money, until time to replace batteries or something else went wrong that is Hybrid exclusive.

    I don't understand how/why you feel there is only "Break Even" for those using the car to generate income. Please explain ! :confuse:

    Thanks, :)
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The $1800 pricing difference is right off the Toyota website. There's no getting around it. What you saying about the pricing difference is incorrect because while the TCH with similar equipment does cost more than the I4 non-hybrid but it also costs less then the V6 non-hybrid by about $1000.

    All the other stuff that you note about protection and worthless addons is only a local/regional issue. It also depends on one's ability to say 'NO'.

    I don't understand how/why you feel there is only "Break Even" for those using the car to generate income. Please explain

    'Break Even' is a specific accounting concept that occurs when income equals expense ( usually fixed expense ). If you are the normal retail buyer then you don't generate any income by the use of your vehicle.

    If you were a small business ( which in fact you are with your family budget ) the correct way to do an analysis is that you or your accountant would do an analysis of two vehicles; add up all the expected expenses over the expected life of the two vehicles then you'd choose which vehicle cost you less in total expenses. That's the only valid comparo to make.

    In almost all cases the hybrids cost less then the non-hybrid versions.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I checked at the first dealer on the list here in San Diego. Mossy Toyota.
    All 2009 except noted:
    Camry Hybrid 5 each $32,129
    Camry XLE 2.4L 3 each $26,269
    Camry XLE V6 one each $29,429 (2008)
    Prius 11 each Start at $24,869 to $28,844
    Matrix 12 each from $19,519 to $23,879 with AWD

    That is $5860 more for the Camry hybrid over the Camry XLE 4 cyl. I cannot see ever getting the value form a hybrid in CA. Your prices may vary. We have 11 dealers and they all have similar or higher pricing.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It's only a matter of ordering properly. In your example you're talking about specific vehicles in stock. There can be twice that many either on order or enroute with completely different prices and equipment combos.

    In the first two vehicles you compared a loaded TCH with leather, Navi and Sunroof to a standard XLE 4c without leather or Navi. Your comparo is the most specific of all specific cases....actual inventory on hand. There's no valid conclusion that can be drawn from looking at actual inventory on hand unless you wanted to drive away this afternoon in one.

    That XLE V6 has to be a Used one or off-Rental vehicle. The new 2008s were gone on President's Day W/E in Feb. The current MSRP for a 2009 XLE V6 is ~$32600.

    Go to the website. Approximate numbers
    XLE V6 $32600
    TCH ... $32100
    XLE I4 $30800

    The Matrix FWD with PO, KE, AA, VS and Z1 is about $20600 MSRP
    The Prius Pck#2 with similar equipment is $ $24400.

    You can get Navi in the Matrix XRS with a SR but not with Bluetooth nor with leather. However this will put you into the $25500 range as opposed to a Package #5 Prius @ $27900 ( Navi / No leather ).
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    It says new 2008 XLE V6. You know how car dealers lie though :blush: .
    Check out the prices. I just picked the top of the list Toyota dealer. They have 3 XLE 4C at $26k. 046381e013c6654b5a8df8f&useHistory=true
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Toyota stopped making the 2008's last December.

    My guess is that this is a 'down demo' that a manager or owner or member of the owner's family has been driving from Jan til now. It still is regarded as a 'new vehicle' since it's never been sold at retail and never titled. If it's like in VA the 'down demos' have to be parked at about 5000 miles so that they can still be sold as 'new'.
  • QUESTION: The toyota Hybrid Prisu has the ni-mh battery "prismatic" module from panasonic which is 7.2 volts and only 6.5 amphours; how is that so much better than a comparative lead acid battery? IE: A lead acid battery is 13.5volt @ 127 amphours= 1714 watthours. IF you stack nimh modules into the normal lead acid size battery box it comes out to about 17volts @ only 104 amphours = 1768 watthours;
    plus ni-mh modules cost massively more money?
    Can you explain this situation , are we missing something? Sure
    ni-mh lasts longer but we were under the impression that they were also much
    higher power (like 30-50% higher amphours for approximately 14volts systems).
    The "normal" standard of industry is the 20 hour rate of draining.
    Maybe they use a different rate schedule for the ni-mh (normally
    battery amphour ratings are at the 20 hour rate). In other words if a battery is
    rated at 6.5 amphours and that is the true 20 hour rate. That is the
    energy you can get from it over 20 hours. IE a 100 amphour battery means that over 20 hours you can get 5 amps steady draw for 20 hours = 100 amphours.
    Faster draining is less IE . same 100 amphour rated battery drained at 10 amps
    would only last "perhaps" 7-8 hours (its not linearly proportional).
    Thanks for any information you can give on this.
    We really thought the ni-mh was at least 30% better energy density.
    Thanks, Inventor
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "We have not reached 9 years on the first gen Prius that had the batteries recalled. You do not have any statistics on how many of those batteries were replaced. I doubt Toyota would ever give that information to the public. The current Prius is barely 5 years old. Toyota will probably luck out as most people that buy them are high mileage drivers. The ones I will be watching are those that only put 10k miles per year or less. They will stretch the EPA/CARB warranty to the max. So father time has another 5 years to go."

    First of all, the Prius is now 11 years old, as the first ones were sold in Japan in December 1997, making them now 11+ years old.

    Second of all, I told you in the last post that the Gen I Prius "recall" was merely to reseal the battery terminals. They had nothing to do with the performance or failure of the battery.

    You are right about a lot of things Gary, and I like discussing things with you. But you are wrong about these batteries.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    First of all, the Prius is now 11 years old, as the first ones were sold in Japan in December 1997, making them now 11+ years old.

    Kind of hard to prove that when Japan's average car is only 6.6 years old. I don't know the actual number of first gen Prius sold here. It had to be very small numbers. The real test will be when the big selling 2nd gen Prius starts to age. 5 years down and counting.

    This all started with my question of longevity on Li-Ion which has a HORRIBLE life span history in laptop computers. Cell phones, who keeps one more than 3 years? My last two laptops out of 6 I have owned were Li-Ion. My current one just passed 3 years and out of warranty. The battery does not last more than an hour now. It would go 4 hours when new. My first Dell laptop using Li-Ion went through 2 batteries in less than 3 years. These are Identical to the 6000+ AA cells in the Tesla. I look for the early innovators to start screaming in about a year from now.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Did you really miss out on all the battery management techniques that the carmakers use to preserve the life of the battery?

    Toyota Prius II Battery Pack

    Battery Pack Thermal Management

    "The purpose of a battery thermal management system is to keep the batteries operating within a desirable temperature range; prevent the batteries from exceeding a high temperature limit that can damage the batteries and/or reduce life; and maintain battery temperature variations to low levels to prevent highly imbalanced batteries. Pack imbalances can reduce performance and can also damage the battery and/or reduce life. Thermal management of the battery pack is typically accomplished with the combination of two approaches. First, a cooling/heating system is designed to extract/supply heat to the battery pack. Second, the battery controller adjusts the vehicle’s use of the battery pack based on the conditions in the batteries."

    These systems are nothing like the battery systems in cell phones, laptop computers or even Segways.

    'Yota would not warranty them for 10 years/100K miles if they were not confident that the batteries would last that long.

    Here is a PDF that talks about the Li-ion batteries in the test Prius:

    Read This All Ye Who Doubt Li-ion

    Here is info on how the Tesla system will avoid "early" battery failures
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    'Yota would not warranty them for 10 years/100K miles if they were not confident that the batteries would last that long.

    They would not warranty them for 10 years and 100k miles were they not forced to do it by the EPA and CARB. And in the CARB states it is 10 years 150k miles.

    Reading about a battery and it performing valiantly for 10 years is not the same thing. We shall see how the auto companies deal with the 10 year warranty on the Li-Ion batteries. I would consider that a safe bet as I do with all the hybrids. Most people are not keeping cars 10 years. I just do not see any hybrid that would work for me on the market. So it is a non starter issue.
  • Is Chevron/Texaco holding the NiMh (large format) battery hostage? To suppress the EV in america? To hold the price of oil high? Did they conspire with GM (who sold contol of the patent for nimh to Texaco in last part of 90's) ? Was GM so frantically afraid of losing the gas car parts business because they make more on parts than on the new car sales ( similar to the inkjet printer scam in which they almost give you the printer because they know you have buy expensive ink forever more)? OUR EVIDENCE IS BELOW:

    Our small one time admittedly test with a small Li-Ion told us to stay away from them as they can't take the beating for very long . Also MIT was hyping there trailblazing drive across country using Li-Ion (hundreds of small ones soldered together).. I think they got as far as illinois before quitting. Basically you might remember that Ni-Mh was used in the EV1 and witnesses (users who leased it) say it went 100 to 130 miles at about 70mph. Toyota Rav4 EV's that survived the toyota recall *(some courts ordered toyota to sell the leased Ev's to the leasers ) are still on the road with the same nimh batteries. Also virtually every Hybrid is using NiMH , and why? Obviously the H car was hyped to distract us from the already great Ev's that were crushed by GM. Same for BioGas, etc. Notice how every year they keep saying " Next Year, the volt ev, phev's, blah blah blah, " Like a broken record and they have been doing that for 10 years!
    Its all a scam,, the biggest joke is that now GM and the others are getting Billions more when in fact they caused this whole economic mess, yes economies soar when energy (oil) is cheap).
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    This is from a Hybrid specialty repair shop in San Francisco that replaces a lot of Prius batteries.

    Based on experience within our walls and in discussion with technicians across the country, we can fairly call Gen 1 Prius battery failures “common” and even “predictable.” The youngest we’ve seen served 130,000 miles, some make it past 200,000 miles. Overall we’ve found 150,000 miles a reasonable expectation of how long the packs will last.

    What the car needs is a new high voltage battery. There are three potential approaches:

    1.) Replace the battery with a new one from Toyota

    Despite prevailing rumor, new battery packs from Toyota are not unreasonably expensive. While they are a significant financial investment, they can be expected to last as long as originals, as they are brand new and OE grade.

    Given increasing number of Gen 1 battery failures, OE replacement packs are often backordered. Expect to wait 10-14 business days for delivery from Japan.

    Installation: $600
    New Battery Pack: $2,499
    Tax: $212.42

    Total: $3,311.42

    This shop works on hybrids that are out of warranty. So they will have no solid figures on warranty battery replacements. I would say Toyota did their engineering well to have the batteries last the limits of the warranty.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    And they did even BETTER on the second gen Prius battery:

    Second generation Prius batteries are similar to the Gen 1’s design but chemically much improved; we have never seen a Gen 2 pack failure in our shop (though we have many cars with mileage exceeding 300k) and have only heard of a few isolated cases from dealer techs across the country. (These failures have been blamed on contamination during manufacturing and show up early in the car’s life.) To be fair, the Gen 2’s battery control software is also improved, which also accounts for extended pack life.

    Gen 2 Prius are far more common and used parts are much easier to obtain. The Gen 2’s modules are the same individual voltage (7.2) but fewer in overall number (28, for a nominal voltage to 201.6), so it takes two Gen 2 packs to build one replacement for the Gen 1. This also takes more labor. But the good news is that these packs can be purchased used for much less than the Gen 1’s and can also be expected to last as long as new ones, if not longer. (Pic of Carolyn working on a Gen 2 pack)

    You can even replace Gen 1 battery modules with Gen 2 battery modules.

    That's very cool.
  • Could gen 2 packs be used to power regular all electric ev? thanks
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    There are much less expensive options. The battery in the Prius is about 90 lbs and may be good for 2 miles at most. You would need at least 10 to get you very far. The old Toyota RAV4 had 900 lbs of NiMH batteries and the cost was over $20k to replace.
  • Tell me the less $$ options , thanks.

    We found that that some ev cars like Zap Xebra Pk for instance , can go 25 miles (albeit at 45- mph) on just 6 high capacity 114amphour lead acid batteries. The prius 04+ packs have really just 28 modules weighing 1.04 kg each =~64lbs so 6 of them would 384 lbs. We were thinking that 6 packs could be used to replace the zap batteries and could double the mileage? What say you?
    FYI: High Capacity lead acids weigh about the same , and are a little less volume than prius batteries. The power in the 28 modules is slightly less at 104 amphours (7.2v x 6.5 ah x 28 = 1.32 kwhrs vs 12v x 114ah = 1.368kwhrs). Obviously the prius batteries lifetime is much greater being NiMh which is the only advantage / value in them. (The ev1 and rav4 ev nimh large format batteries are a differnent animal with much higher power density than prius prismatic types).
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