Early Prius Batteries Approaching End of Life

Preliminary tests are showing the Prius batteries to be even more robust than expected, with one taxi cab in Canada seeing 400,000 miles without noticeable degradation.

Published: 06-Jan-2009

The Toyota Prius debuted in 2001 and since has been the hottest seller in the hybrid car market. Despite the recent downturn in hybrid sales, and a sharp drop in Prius sales, the vehicle remains very significant.

One issue constantly raised by hybrid doubters is the question of when will the batteries die on a hybrid and how to replace them when they do die. Such a question has for a while has been purely speculative -- hybrids were young on the market. However, for the Prius -- whose batteries are warranted for 10 years or 150,000 miles in California-compliance states and eight years or 100,000 miles in non-California compliant states -- an end of battery life may be coming in the next few years, and there may even be some premature failures in the next year or two.

While this is obviously an issue of serious concern to first generation Prius owners, early indications from Toyota are that the problem might not be a severe as some would imagine. First of all, replacement batteries for the first generation (2001-2003) are available for an MSRP of $2,299 USD and the second generation batteries are available (2004-2008) for an MSRP of $2,588 USD (the latter being more expensive due to less time to reduce the cost).


The battery system was developed by CSIRO in Australia, built by the Furukawa Battery Company of Japan and tested in the United Kingdom through the American-based Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.

The new batteries will make the GM Hybrid System nearly three times more powerful than the system it replaces. Pictured is 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line with Two-mode hybrid drive.

Dramatic developments in stored-power technology make electric cars more viable than ever. Pictures is Th!nk Global's new Ox crossover vehicle.


blog comments powered by Disqus