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Toyota Highlander Hybrid Battery Pack Questions



  • Hello all. This is my first post here. A week ago I bought a Toyota Highlander hybrid and the hybrid battery has yet to show a full charge. I have the nav so I have the large engine monitor on the dashboard. There are 8 levels of charge on the monitor, indicated by horizontal bars. It is also shown this way in the owners manual. It won't go beyond level 6. The sales person said not to worry about it even though it shows differently in the manual. I plan on mentioning it at my first oil change. Can anyone add some light to this? Does anyone else get the charge level up to 100%? I like this SUV a lot. Thanks.
  • my6thsuv

    Fullest charge we have seen is 1 bar below completely full. Color becomes green.
    Lowest charge we have seen is 2 bars left and color becomes pink.
    Most of the time, 80%, we are somewhere between 4 and 6 bars, color is blue.

    We achieved "Fullest" (1 bar below full) after long descent of more than 3 miles down mountain passes.
    We achieved "Lowest" (2 left) charge after a long electric-only run of close to 2 miles over a dirt track at low speed.

    The car computer automatically maintains sufficient charge for normal use, so there is no need for concern.
  • Discussion1,

    Thanks for your answer. With only 1 week under my belt, I have a lot to learn about this new technology. It seems as if Toyota would engineer the battery so it would except closer to a 100% charge more of the time. In traffic, a battery with a fuller charge would "call" for the gas engine less. But, I'm far from an expert and they build a wonderful car/SUV. I saw another helpful post about "normalizing" the sunroof of the Highlander. I'll be doing that before the next rain. BTW, this is the 3rd SUV with a nav that I've had and the one in this is far superior to the others. Thanks again.
  • Part of the reason that the battery has such a long life expectancy is because the Toyota software does not allow the battery to fully charge or discharge. By keeping the battery moderately charged all the time, the battery will not degrade as quickly.
  • Has anyone left the HH for a week or so? I'm concerned about leaving it for a vacation. By the way, I have almost 5000miles on my 4WD Ltd with NAV and consistently get 26+ mpg.
  • Just trying to get a feel for this but roughly how far can you go-at moderate speed,say 25-35 mph-on one KW Hr?A couple of miles?
    How much energy does the battery hold-20 or so KW Hr??
    How much energy does the Prius battery hold?
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    The Toyota's RAV4 electric Vehicle has a range of 105 miles with around
    27Kwh battery. So I would guess HH being a little heavy will get a little below
    3 miles on 1 Kwh charge.
    The HH battery holds only about 2-3 Kwh.
    The Prius battery is 1.5 Kwh.

    Making these batteries 10-12Kwh and allowing them to be
    plugged in will solve most commuting needs without any use of gas.

    The software needs to be changed so that ICE dose not come on as
    soon as speed reaches 35mph. Maybe it should come on at 65mph.

  • Thanks for the info.3 KW isn't much.I think(memory) ~750 watts=1 hp,so 3KWH is about 4 hp for 1 hr-or 40 hp for 6 minutes.I think 40 hp would be enough to push the HH to 70 mph or so..I would guess 30 mph would take maybe 10 hp-24 minutes at 30 mph-about 12 miles.
    You ae right-if you could get about 3 times that you would have a decent 35 mile range-and be able to spurt to 60+ for minutes at a time.Most folks probably commute 20-35 miles.Electricity was about 10 cents KWH in New Orleans beforethe flood-.A 35 mile commute for $1 would be a winner!!A normal V-6 Highlander would cost 2+ gallons-$6+.The HH would probably cost 1.4 gallons-$4+.
    Yep,a Hybrid with plug in capability and 35 miles worth of KWH(10 KWH) battery power would be a winner.If the electricity came from something clean-Nuclear-hydro-wind-solar,it would really be a winner.Thanks.Charlie
  • Tonight I was driving home. I was on battery for the last bit into the driveway. The battery was down to 3 bars when I parked and got out to put the trash cans in the garage. By the time I got back in, it was down to 2 bars (the A/C was on).

    I got in and put it into Drive to pull into the garage. It came up with the "Don't put it in Neutral, it will run the battery down" message came up on all displays. I put it back into Park, then Drive again. Same message. I drove it into the garage with the message still showing and then Park and shut down.

    If it happens again, I'll be contacting the dealer.

    Anybody else see that?
  • I had that a few times and figured it was a nonimportant glitch
  • skip1skip1 Posts: 16
    I was also concerned about this since we will be driving down to Fl and taking a 2 week cruise in March. After reading the owners manual in June I was not sure if it would start, even though our 2001 Prius has never had a problem. Since I had a rental for another car we have I decided to let the HH Limited sit.

    The last time I used the HH was Labor Day Sept 5 when I parked it in the garage until yesterday Morning Sept 20th. I had no trouble starting it and went on 3 short stops of about 2 miles each. I was a little worried that it might not start after I stopped, because it was running about half the time on the batteries. but no problem with it at all.

    Brought it to work tonight without a problem.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I had that a few times and figured it was a nonimportant glitch"

    There are no unimportant glitches. Report it to the dealer, or Toyota will never know it needs fixing...
  • But I get it the same as you. It's when I'm turning off the vehicle (when it's not recharging anyway). It doesn't say that I'm in neutral. So, it could just be a random reminder not to leave the car in neutral because the battery won't recharge. Perfectly harmful.

    It's clearly not a safety issue (the only real important glitch). Not a biggie to me.
  • I asked the dealer when I bought my HH about this issue of leaving the car parked and they replied that the HH, like any car (hybrid or non) should be driven or at least started every two weeks. The response was that it was bad for any kind of car battery to sit for too long.
    So if we are going to be away for more than two weeks we ask the house sitter or a neighbor to take turns using our cars. It's worked out in the past.

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    There is a TSB of which i'm sure you can get a copy that recommends a specific procedure for the '04 and later Prius' if they are not going to be driven for 10 days or more; i.e. disconnecting the wiring harness from the 12 v battery up to the positive post in the fuse box. It essentially shuts down the system and is in addition to disabling the SKS button under the steering wheel.

    I have not seen it on the HH yet. I will look.

  • ulevulev Posts: 57
    Thanks fizban,

    Panasonic is the other supplier as well.
  • We're told the electric motor and batteries (cells) are warranteed for 8 years. This sounds good, but what does that mean? If the batteries in this car work like the ones in my cell phone or digital camera, they deteriorate with age. After a year, they may lose up to 30% of their original capacity. How will Toyota deal with a battery that has diminished capacity? Who is the judge of when/if it gets replaced? Will they even replace it unless it fails completely?
  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    Two main themes came to light when toyota did initial focus groups on hybrid cars. People were worried about battery life, and they didnt want the car to look wierd like the honda insight. Many other wishes have come to light since then, however toyota took these first concerns to heart when they produced the Highlander Hybrid and its brother the 400h. Through research toyota found the optimum range of charge the battery needed for long life. That is why it never charges 100% or discharges below about 40%. By keeping the battery in this range of charge the life expectancy was greatly lengthened. The battery doesnt work like the one in your cell phone or digital camera, those batteries go thru extreme cycles that shorten their life. It will work as well 8 years from now as it does today. Toyota feels they will last the length of the vehicle. If you have your oil changes done at a Toyota or Lexus dealer, one of the items checked during the service is a 'load test' on the battery. It is checked for quality and ablility to hold a charge every time its in for a lube. If it fails to meet toyota specs im sure they will replace it. There have been no known premature hybrid battery failures on the Prius. While your battery is a new generation 650 volt system, it is expected to provide the same level of performance.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    The whole hybrid system is warranted for 8 Years or 100K miles whichever comes first.

    As an earlier post suggests, no known problems with Prius' batteries yet. I know people who have kept their old Prius for 4 years and all is still well so far. A Canadian automotive magazine reported an incident where Toyota bought back a Prius taxi that survived 200K+ miles. Toyota wanted to take apart the car to learn what went so right.

    The HH has 2 places to show battery charge, the NAV screen and the small status screen under the speedometer. My best guess is that if either display shows the battery unable to hold a charge, it is time to check the system. Either batteries are dying or something else is wrong. In either case, they have to repair or replace within the warranty period. This is the one time when owner and mechanic can "see" what is wrong with a car.

    I believe the batteries come from Panasonic, the metal case NiMH version. Panasonic claims the battery is able to maintain 80% of its performance even at the tail end of its life. Hopefully, this is not just a boast.
  • Thank you very much for that information on the battery. Where did you get it? I would like to know where to look for that sort of thing in the future.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    go to Toyota's website for an 'official' position on hybrids and batteries.. -->Hybrids --> FAQ.

    Also here on the 'Great battery debate' thread has useful references if you can get through the fears and naysayers.
  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    My specific information on that post came from the Sunday New York Times magazine two months ago when they did an indepth article on new hybrids, written by clive thompson.
    I read so much stuff that the sources can blend together in my mind but that article in particular is a great read.
    That article also has a picture of the gear assembly that blends both the electric and ICE (internal combustion engine) power. It is quite a blend of engineering. Also in that article is a San Jose professor that has made a hybrid that will go 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds. His batteries cost ten grand, last only four years and the car will be 250K. He wants to go into production and sell about twenty of them.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    From Toyota's website: ---> Future vehicles the Alessandro Volta

    And the Volta's 408-hp Hybrid Synergy Drive® (a 3.3-liter V6 with an electric motor for each axle) not only delivers 435 miles on a 13.7-gallon tank, but 0-60 acceleration in a mere four seconds.

    It's a concept car built in Italy with
    Toyota's HSD technology.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    We have discussed that car before - WHEW !! 31 MPG for a 408 HP sports car, are you kidding me ?!?!?

    The "midlife crisis sports car" for Generation Xers in 2012 - The Alessandro Volta !!!

    ( the oldest Generation Xers will turn 47 in 2012 )

    I think this belongs in "future hybrids" forum - I'm moving my post...
  • Hey guys,
    New reader here. I have a question about the "B" on the drive shift. The salesmen said it would allow me to drive on Battery only. I can see myself running to the store and setting it to B only to save gas? Is there any truth to this and can I just run on Battery until it is dead and then use gas to charge it again?

  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Engine braking "B" is most effective at lower speed, anywhere from 65 MPH down. 65-mph is the edge of its effectiveness, beyond 65-mph, it is not longer useful, so hit the brakes!
    The manual has more to say about this.
  • I'm very curious and I can't find any posts about this: What happens when a HH runs out of gas? Does the whole thing shut down or can I go a mile or two in EV mode to get to a station? If it does run in EV mode, how fast does it go and how far can it go?

    Any true stories out there?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Youre right there arent any I've seen on the HH but there were plenty on the Prius which is the same system. I am a big risk-taker with my vehicles owith regard to using the last ounce of fuel in the tanks. It's not good. With my previous 4 Camry's I knew that I had about 3 gal left whent the light came on and I could drive nearly 100 mi with it on.

    When I got my Prius last Nov I drove normally on the 3rd tank and when the warning came I continued in order to get to my regular station about 30 mi away. Well I didnt make it and got a 'triangle of death event'.

    Essentially what happened was that the computer shut down the ICE and it looked like a Times Square Billboard upfront. I was able to do a U-turn and drive a mile back to a closed station driving only in EV mode at a reduced output.

    In reading about this on priuschat I found it occurs often! if a driver pushes the envelope as I do. Moral: When the vehicle says it's hungry feed it NOW. Driving just on battery without the ICE there to keep the SoC maintained could severely damage the Ni-Metal-Hydride battery.

    Figure a mile at best in an emergency.
  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    kdhspyder is correct you do not want to run out of gas in these vehicles. If you do run out of gas you will have three trys to start the engine. If the engine cannot start it will shut down to protect the main battery and need a tow to the dealer. Any attempt to drive on battery only with no functioning engine can result in permanent and expensive battery replacement.
  • how offten do you need to replace them?
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