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The Great Hybrid Battery Debate

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Comments

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    I wonder how big of a job it will be to replace a cell. Have you seen one of the packs open? According to that article the Civic HCH uses the Panasonic batteries along with the Prius and Insight. I doubt they are drop in units. They may have spade clips to interconnect the cells. Then a change would be fairly easy. You would have to be able to test each cell to determine which was not holding a charge.

    You are right that we have not seen people complaining about battery failures. If they are like lead acid batteries they go bad about a month after the warranty date. :=)
  • YOU DON'T NEED TO REPLACE THE BATTERY.

    Sorry to shout, but it seems to be the only way to get people's attention. The battery in a hybrid only uses ~30% of the capacity, so as to avoid causing internal damage, and therefore extend battery life = engine life.

    You won't have a problem replacing the battery, because you won't need to.

    Troy
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    IF a pack has to be replaced it will be about the time that gary is pushing up daisies. Get over it already! The battery is a NON issue.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Sorry to shout, but it seems to be the only way to get people's attention. The battery in a hybrid only uses ~30% of the capacity, so as to avoid causing internal damage, and therefore extend battery life = engine life.

    You won't have a problem replacing the battery, because you won't need to."

    Hmmm, have any studies to support that statement? Specifically, ones that use the batteries in the same manner as the Hybrids? Just because they aren't drained like camera batteries doesn't mean they won't fail eventually, which is what you are saying.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I guess he supports his statement by what has been shown in the field to date. I myself have not heard of any failures. I guess it's just a waiting game now.
  • In the lab - Toyota tested Prius to 200,000 miles with no degradation of the battery.

    In the field - Insights/Priuses exist with over 200,000 miles (see ebay for some examples).

    Expert opinion - I'm an electrical engineer. I've read all the research I could find, and it shows that a battery will last indefinitely, as long as it's held within 30-70% of capacity. This cycle avoids the under-and-overcharging that kills batteries & extends life indefinitely.

    .

    Now I admit that if you abuse your car (example: drag racing) it will kill the battery. But such abuse will also kill the engine. And the transmission. And the suspension.

    I don't think anyone here would abuse their car in that fashion. For us, the battery/engine/et cetera will last well past 200,000 miles.

    In fact, I expect the battery will last longer than the engine will.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but as to your examples:

    "In the lab - Toyota tested Prius to 200,000 miles with no degradation of the battery."

    I'd like to see some independent studies, rather than from the manufacturor.

    "In the field - Insights/Priuses exist with over 200,000 miles (see ebay for some examples)."


    We do not know the state of the batteries in the Ebay Priuses.

    Hopefully, your independent analysis will prove true for the Hybrid implementation.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    In the field - Insights/Priuses exist with over 200,000 miles (see ebay for some examples).

    I have tracked Prius and Jetta TDIs on My Ebay for the last 6 months. The only Prius I have seen offered with 100k plus miles is a 2002 that they have a $4250 high bid on. Of the 60 or so used Prius I have tracked only one sold. The rest were "reserve not met" That one was a 2002 that they sold for $11,994. Only a fool would buy one for blue book with a 100k miles and no warranty. There have been a few that were "salvage title" sales in the $6k to $10k range. I have only read about one cab in Vancouver BC that had over 100k miles. Toyota bought it back. I would like to see some proof of the battery longevity of 200k miles. As long as you dump your Prius while it still has warranty I think you are safe.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    In the field - Insights/Priuses exist with over 200,000 miles (see ebay for some examples).

    I think you meant to say check out the 3 Jetta TDIs with over 200k miles. A 1999 with 238k miles is up to $4511. A 1992 Jetta TDI with 259K miles at $1585. I doubt you ever see a hybrid with 259k miles still running good. If the batteries don't crap out all the other wizardry will die and not be worth the price to fix it. At this point the battery debate is hypothetical becasue NO ONE has driven a hybrid over 200K miles. At least not that has gotten into our hybrid forum. I could be wrong and will admit it when the evidence is exposed.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    That taxi operator in Vancouver went "almost 200,000 miles" according to this article. If he had battery problems, he never told anyone about it.

    "That Yellow Taxi May Be Turning Green"

    By MATTHEW L. WALD (NYT) 522 words
    HYBRID cars' first buyers were environmentalists willing to pay extra for a vehicle that was cleaner and more efficient. The next market may be taxicabs.
    Andrew Grant, a taxi owner-operator in Vancouver, British Columbia, bought a 2001 Toyota Prius in the fall of 2000, and drove it nearly 200,000 miles before he replaced it with a 2004 model. ''The car actually pays for itself,'' he said."

    So to say that there are "no" Priuses out there with that many miles is conjecture at most.

    And remember: there are 1997 model year Priuses in Japan, so those guys could EASILY be exceeding 200K miles if used heavily.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    And remember: there are 1997 model year Priuses in Japan, so those guys could EASILY be exceeding 200K miles if used heavily.

    That is conjecture. Cars in Japan usually rust away before the engine dies. That is why we get all those used engines from Japan.

    Your example of the Taxi in Vancouver has been covered many times. His is a good example of a good use for the Prius. I have never read anything of any trouble he had, so assume it was a good car. I don't think miles will be the downfall of the battery. I think it will be years of inactivity. We already have cases where people left the car sitting for a few weeks and the battery discharged and was ruined. We have a case where one sat at a dealer for too long and when it was sold they had problems and had to return it. I agree with those that claim IF you keep the battery in a middle range of charge. Not overcharged or run down it will last a very long time. I am not sure that will happen over a 10-15 year period.

    One final note. A 2002 Prius is currently on eBay with 100k miles. It is currently at $6350. It ends on Dec. 1st. I'll keep you posted as to the final price. I bet it does not reach half of the blue book value because of the mileage.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    "And remember: there are 1997 model year Priuses in Japan, so those guys could EASILY be exceeding 200K miles if used heavily.That is conjecture."

    Yes, but it is EDUCATED CONJECTURE rather than a broad generalization. Educated because by doing the math, 7 years since 1997, 28K per year = 200K.

    "One final note. A 2002 Prius is currently on eBay with 100k miles. It is currently at $6350. It ends on Dec. 1st. I'll keep you posted as to the final price. I bet it does not reach half of the blue book value because of the mileage.-"

    Sure, any high mileage 2002 car is going to take a BIG HIT. Nothing AT ALL to do with the fact that it is a Hybrid or that it has a battery. I had a 2002 Avalanche with high miles that took a $5000 hit on trade value JUST because of high miles, and it is NOT a Hybrid. That is completely based on uneducated conjecture to assume that it is because of the battery issue.

    And remember: Ebay is not a good model for selling or buying cars. Look at the Edmunds TMV to get a value based on ACTUAL SALES AT DEALERSHIPS. Ebay car selling is not indicative of real msrket values, usually. You either get a heck of a deal or you pay too much.

    Lastly: TMV for a 2002 Prius with 100K miles is 12K-16K.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I find it odd that someone who has no interest in buying a Prius does the MOST research on it. Just curious why Gary seems to be so stuck on finding fault with this incredible car.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    Just curious why Gary seems to be so stuck on finding fault with this incredible car.

    Remember I test drove one and liked it back in 2000 when they were selling at $20k. They were also backed by a 100k mile 8 year bumper to bumper warranty. Now you cannot get a straight answer as to what is covered under the mandated CA 150k mile warranty. They are selling for way more than they are worth. There are people on the forum that want to hear the whole story not just the positive aspects of the hybrids.

    Maybe you can tell us, are you happy with your Prius or are you still kicking tires like most of us this forum.

    I don't want to buy a car that is worthless after 2 years and 100k miles. Some here think because a car is on a lot for X amount of dollars that is what it is worth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any car is worth what you can get someone else to pay for it. Does not matter if it is listed on eBay or the Trader. Cars sold in the Trader will never give you the selling price. Last car I bought through the Trader was asking $8k. I gave him $4500 cash and he jumped on it.

    Edmund's says the eBay car should sell between $15k and $18k. This is on a Toyota dealers lot in Washington DC. So if they don't pull a fast one, to save their butts on this one, we should see what the real value is of a 2 year old Prius with a 100k miles. It is at $6600 right now. If you watched car prices as I do you would see that most of the Prius never get close to the reserve. That is what makes this one unique it has no reserve.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary, how much credence do you put on E-Bay motors prices versus Edmund's TMV? I think an E-Bay expert like yourself can realize that what I said is mostly true: E-Bay is not a good model for selling a car and CERTAINLY not a good model for Buying a car. Who in their RIGHT MIND would buy a car without seeing it, touching it, driving it first?

    I think what you said about "a car is worth what you can get someone else to pay for it" is absolutely true. But the fact is that here in the good ole' USA, we have a system called "Blue Book Value" that dictates a car's worth, like it or not, agree with it or not. Smart buyers do not go by prices on a "bad model" like E-Bay. If you want to buy a car unseen, then you are risk taker and deserve to either lose your money or get a good bonus if you find a bargain.

    Here is my main point, pay attention: "Just because you can get one yokel out of 280 million Americans to sell a Prius for $6600 does NOT MAKE THAT PRICE THE NORM."

    And my second major point: Any car, Hybrid or not, with 50K miles on it per year WILL LOSE MASSIVE AMOUNTS of value. That is an incredible, unusual amount of mileage that will cause an avalanche of depreciation.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    Gary, how much credence do you put on E-Bay motors prices versus Edmund's TMV?

    They are both a point of reference. I personally have never bought or bid on a car on eBay. I have friends that buy cars all the time on eBay. It is best to look and drive a car for sure. This particular Prius has my interest because it is on a Toyota dealers lot. Why hasn't he sold it to a local? It is also the first one I have seen for sale with 100k miles. That being the battery warranty for most of the USA, it may be a sale killer. This is a very high mileage car also. 50k miles per year is excessive. I find the book value to be excessive for that amount of miles. How many 2002 Prius have been resold? I think Edmund's TMV is unrealistic. Maybe a 2004 with 100k miles would be worth $13k. Not a 2002 that sold for $20k to start with. I think we agree that 100k miles is near the useful life of many cars. You expect stuff to quit. None of our cars have 100k miles on them and two are 15 years old and the Suburban is going on 7 years old. The only thing I would buy with that kind of mileage would be a classic.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Let's attack this like a lawyer would.

    In light of the IRREFUTABLE fact that high mileage on new cars is a KNOWN resale price KILLER, I present the fact that ANY 2002 vehicle with 100K miles is going to be worth a FRACTION of MSRP, Hybrid or not. Look at ANY of the used car sites, including Edmunds, and find a 2002 with 100K miles and look at the resale value compared to MSRP.

    And in addition, it is a known fact that ANY car dealer will tell you that when a vehicle reaches that mythical "100,000 mile mark" it's resale value will plummet accordingly.

    Your hypothesis that the "battery issue" is resale price killer is based on what evidence, other that your assumption?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    Enough with the ALL CAPS - it really looks hostile, guys. Also, if you're veering off the course of batteries and back to resale values, you know where that conversation belongs.

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Sorry about that, I often times use all caps to "stress" a word, not to hostile it. I will REALLY try to curtail, but that's my style - see my previous posts.....thanks....
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    Your hypothesis that the "battery issue" is resale price killer is based on what evidence, other that your assumption?

    I based my thinking on the fact that Edmund's says a dealer should get $18k for a 2002 Prius with 100k miles. Yet we have a Toyota dealer with a 2002 Prius that he claims is in excellent condition that is selling on Ebay for less than 1/2 of what the Edmund's TMV says it should sell for. Either the Toyota dealer is lying about the condition. Or no one is interested in a 2 year old Prius with 100k miles on it. Which means that the TMV for that car is way below what Edmund's is claiming it should be. If I was looking to buy a car that had unknown reliability in the form of a battery that may cost $5000 or more to replace. Plus many other very expensive components. Remember one poster had over $15k worth of warranty work on his Prius. I believe it is the unknown that will drive the hybrids resale down until they have a history to back up the hype.

    By contrast there is a 1999 Jetta TDI with 202k miles that is up to $4600 that is close to the Edmund's value for that car.

    If people are not afraid of the battery why hasn't that dealer in DC sold that Prius? I think time will prove they do not hold their value as well as people are trying to prove on this Forum.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I don't lend much credence to eBay pricing. Let's face it, the just had a $28,000 cheese sandwich auctioned not too long ago (with the virgin mary's face).
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    That don't say much for all the Prius they have on there. None of them are worth as much as a cheese sandwich.....
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    All of these posts are "Prius Research" and have zip to do with batteries. Take it to another discussion (maybe the Prius?), but stop posting about it in here.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    OK,
    I don't know how that happens, it just does.
  • High mileage TDIs routinely sell for more than book. Due the way diesels work, a 99 TDI with 80K miles isn't much better than a 99 with 200K miles.
    In fact some would argue the 200K mile one is better because it's more likely to be highway miles.
    If it has proper maintenance records, I wouldn't hesitate 2 seconds before buying the 200K TDI at 4600.

    Hybrids can't even hope to achieve those lofty levels of resale. At best they can try to compete with similar gas cars. A HCH would do very well to achieve the resale percentages of normal Civics.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I wouldn't touch a high mileage car like that. My friend has a diesel with high mileage and though it is reliable, it's VERY expensive to maintain.
  • wouldn't touch a high mileage car like that. My friend has a diesel with high mileage and though it is reliable, it's VERY expensive to maintain

    Would you rather own a high mileage gas car ?
    Some specific information about make and model and what kind of maintenance your friend does may help in this discussion.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I'd rather not have a high mileage anything cause with more miles (& years) you tend to have more problems, don't get me wrong I'm not made of money but after 7 or 8 years I like to sell mine and move on, the traction battery is one of those things I don't want to mess with, same for piston rings, valve jobs etc.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    If we charge a 100 KW battery for 1 hour, then
    100 KWH is stored in the battery.

    If we start drawing the power after a day, how
    much power will the battery yield.
    Will it be 100 KWH, 90 KWH or even lower.

    Any comment.
  • 99 kilowatt-hours.

    "Now you cannot get a straight answer as to what is covered under the mandated CA 150k mile warranty."

    The PZEV law requires that the car will pass emissions inspection for 10 years/150,000 miles. If it does not, Toyota/Honda must repair whatever is wrong. In most cases it will be a burned out catalyst, so they'll give you a new one. But it could also be bad spark plugs...or bad timing. Toyota/Honda must keep giving you free repairs until the car passes emissions.

    Hope that clears things up?

    Batteries:
    - I mentioned before that batteries, due to their hybrid cars barely using them, will easily last 200,000 miles.

    - But I also said 20 years. I've got Nicads that are 20 years old, and they are very, very weak. The chemicals & metals slowly break down over time.

    Troy
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    I mentioned before that batteries, due to their hybrid cars barely using them, will easily last 200,000 miles.

    I think many people will feel more at ease with that statement when it is a fact instead of speculation. Personally I think age will be more of a factor than mileage. Also if the batteries get cold and discharged. Maybe from leaving your Prius outside for a month while your in Florida.

    The battery issue is also having an affect on resale. The first 100k mile 2002 prius got sold on eBay in excellent condition for $9100. That was from a Toyota dealer. If that is a realistic price for a 2 year old Prius there are some people that are going to be unhappy at trade-in time. All I can imagine is there were worried about a car with an unknown longevity history. Not just batteries, catalytic convertors, on board computers, sensors the list in quite extensive.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    quote gagrice-"If that is a realistic price for a 2 year old Prius there are some people that are going to be unhappy at trade-in time."-end quote

    Must I "again" remind you sir: One E-Bay sale does not a Blue Book price affect.

    In this country, until further notice, car sales will be 99% of the time based on Blue Book value. Look at Edmund's TMV which is a REAL PRICE based on REAL SALES or REAL CARS in the real world.

    Just because one yahoo seller on E-Bay gets jobbed means nothing to the overall resale value of a line of cars.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    In this country, until further notice, car sales will be 99% of the time based on Blue Book value. Look at Edmund's TMV which is a REAL PRICE based on REAL SALES or REAL CARS in the real world.

    We have had this debate before. Some people believe in Santa Claus and others don't. I have never gotten or paid close to blue book on a used vehicle. It is a rough estimate at best. If a dealer in Washington DC took a 2 year old Prius in on trade and sold it on eBay for $9101. You can bet he did not give the customer that much for that car in trade. Unless he added a bunch to the price of the new Toyota. Maybe Rosner Toyota in Virginia is a Yahoo dealer. I have no reason to believe he is not just as legitimate as any other Toyota dealer. It just drives you crazy that these hybrids are losing value as fast as they are. You should know you beat the dealer down on the one you bought.

    You are avoiding the real issue here. I say the 100k miles and the unknown with the battery is what knocked the heck out of that car's value. Plus all the other electronic hybrid doodads that cost an arm and a leg to replace.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I see used Hybrids in the paper selling for what they should sell for, which in the case of HCH resales is about $500 more than an EX.

    And for Priuses (Gen 2) it's about MSRP or higher.

    I have no worries about my resale value, because I'm smart enough to sell WAY before 100K, hybrid or not.....because the VAST history of US car sales has shown that cars over 100K drop in value immensely.

    (we might better move this to the resale value forum before we get scolded)
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I agree, anything with 100k or more miles loses value big time thus my philosophy of staying on the leading edge while trying to avoid the bleeding edge (things I would consider leading edge would include hybrids, flat panel monitors/TVs, on demand water heaters, blu-ray DVDs etc)
  • "I mentioned before that batteries, due to their hybrid cars barely using them, will easily last 200,000 miles.

    "I think many people will feel more at ease with that statement when it is a fact instead of speculation."

    Understanable, but there are a few Insights & Priuses out there with greater than or near to 200,000 miles. Their batteries were never replaced.

    .

    "Personally I think age will be more of a factor than mileage. "

    Yes. 20 years max is the lifetime I'd give them. Sitting out in the sun will slowly but surely dry the electrolytes until they no longer work.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,443
    Yes. 20 years max is the lifetime I'd give them. Sitting out in the sun will slowly but surely dry the electrolytes until they no longer work.

    If you live in CA all they have to last is 10 years and Toyota, Ford & Honda are off the hook.
  • Just like engines. Most engines are only warranted 50,000 miles..... but they last much, much longer than that.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    Great Breakthrough in Battery technology.

     

    http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=article&storyid=788

    New type of battery Lithium-Sulphur doubles the Lithium-Ion range.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    SANYO, BOSCH TO JOINTLY DEVELOP HYBRID CAR BATTERIES

     

    TOKYO - Eyeing a forecasted 340 billion yen (US$3.3 billion) market for hybrid car batteries in 2010, Japanese giant Sanyo Electric Co. (TSE:6764 - News) will join forces with German autoparts maker Robert Bosch GmbH to develop rechargeable batteries for hybrid vehicles. By partnering with a parts manufacturer that deals with a wide range of firms, Sanyo Electric hopes to expand sales in the growing European market. To meet increased demand, Sanyo has more than tripled output capacity for hybrid car batteries at its Hyogo Prefecture plant from 300,000 to 1 million units per month. Sanyo has a 55% global market share in nickel metal hydride batteries, which are used by most hybrid cars.
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    Toyota claims they have yet to have to replace a single hybrid battery pack due to the cells wearing out. There are early Priuses in use as taxis in British Columbia that have well over 200,000 km on them.

     

    The engine management system never allows the battery to go above 80 percent or below 20 percent charge. This virtually eliminates the possibility of reverse charging a cell, which is the most common failure mode on serially-wired battery packs.

     
    Oh a while back someone claimed the voltage for NiMH cells is 1.2 volts, Ford's manual claims 1.3.

     
     

    Steve

    2-hybrid household
  • Saphion batteries from Valence Technology are now standard equipment for Segway transporters. Based on press releases from both companies this switch to Lithium Ion batteries will increase the run time from approximately 4 hours to 8 hours per charge.

     

    This makes them much more appealing to meter watchers, airport personnel, security people, grounds keepers, etc... They have versions for the golf course, rugged terrain, etc.

     

    This could prove the success of Lithium batteries for vehicles.

     

    Valence already makes Saphion drop in replacement batteries for wheel chairs, 10 hour back ups for laptops, etc.

     

    Any information on this development would be appreciated.
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    They will have to get the maximum cycle count for lithium cells a lot higher than it's been to date. Current lithium cells are good for about 400 charge/discharge cycles.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I believe the Prius batteries don't fully discharge or charge. That is what give them their current projected longevity. With respect to LIon batteries, I do believe that this is a step in the right direction with respect to getting more power in less space. Based on the current configuration, if the pack were LIon, it would have more power.
  • Thanks - appears they are over 1,000 cycles right now and working to improve this. Should help and one of the reason Segway and the wheel chair company selected them as their source for Lith ion batteries.

     

    The phosphate makes them safe as well and this is critical in many applications including the back of your car!

     

    I had pretty much decided on the FORD Escape Hybrid but am holding off to see the new Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the new Lexus RX400 Hybrid hoping one of them will move from metal to Lithium batteries along with the luxury...
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    I think it's highly doubtful Toyota would risk trying a totally new battery technology on such a high-profile rollout. LiIon or LiPoly might be a possibility for a next-gen Prius, however.

     

    The RX400h/HLH is targeted at a different market than the FEH. The Ford is considerably smaller than the Toyota/Lexus. Also the Toyota products will have a V6 alongside the HSD system, so it's likely fuel economy will not be as good.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    According to www.autonews.com

    Johnson Controls Inc. and Yazaki Corp. are introducing hybrid batteries and this may ease the battery shortage.

     

    As more and more battery makers get into the production, prices will fall and hybrid vehicles will become more affordable.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I'm hesitant to bring this up but more of a concern to me is theft of the battery (yea

    insurance but $ 500.00 deductible) rather than how many miles/years it might last.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    The theft of WHAT battery? The hybrid battery in a Prius/HCH/Insight?

     

    That would be a VERY difficult theft to attempt and complete, considering the way they are integrated into the vehicles !!!
This discussion has been closed.