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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the November issue of Car and Driver, Editor-in-Chief Csaba Csere writes about plug-in hybrids. He says "a replacement battery (sic) for the Prius costs about $6000". Some time ago I remember reading an article which quoted a Toyota engineer with regard to battery cost saying that it was unlikely one would have to replace the entire battery pack at one time, but if that did occur, the cost would be in the neighborhood of $2500. This is not an exact quote, but my recollection of the statement. Csere makes it sound like it is one battery, rather than multiple batteries wired together, but replaceable individually.
Does anyone have the real scoop, and how much it would cost? With a ten year, 150,000 mile warranty here in Calif. I am not greatly concerned at the moment, but would like to pass on the information to the magazine should it differ substantially from what Csere has reported.
 

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The good news: the batteries almost never fail. They've been in the US for over 5 years now and we're just not hearing of much in the way of failure.

The bad news: Projected drop in replacement price has not occured. Even after 5 years. Seems to be because new car manufacturing snaps up all that the producers can make.

More good news: There are more working batteries abandoned due to car crashes than there are failed batteries. So people are successful locating batteries from scrapped Prius for much less than the Toyota parts department replacement cost. $1000 typical vs. $5000-$6000.

Bad information: Suggestions that you might just replace a module or two. Although this could physically be done, it's not a good idea for a battery that's seen some use, since batteries work best if their modules are closely matched in capacity.
 

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I read the same article and was astonished at the $6,000 replacement figure. In a previous issue (one or two monthes back) I think it was in an article by Brock Yates that he quoted a figure $3,500 for replacing a Prius battery. I'm left think that nobody knows what the cost will be when the batteries start to expire. On top of the cost of the battery is the labor and disposal fee that is yet to be established. Figuring that the figure of $4,500 is commonly used as the upcharge for the entire Synergy Drive system, I have a hard time understanding how the replacement of only the battery could be $6,000. I'm looking forward to hearing where these numbers are coming from.
 

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Roger! What in the world is Csaba Csere talking about? Toyota makes no plug-in hybrid. I remember, back in 2000, when the early Toyota hybrids were being discussed, several auto magazine editors quoted Toyota hybrid mileage exactly wrong by reversing the mileage figures. They simply yapped, when they should have been paying more attention. As far as replacement under warranty batteries go, according to some of the information Toyota has published, bad cell groups will be replaced as needed and not the entire battery. After all, Toyota doesn't want to keep the market supplied with eight year replacements. Cells in groups can be tricky. For example, an NiMH cell is rated at 1.2 volts. It can be the size of a pen light cell or a two story building, it will always be 1.2 volts. Small penlight size cells are series wired into packs of six for a total of 7.2 volts and these 7.2 volt packs are then series wired into the total battery for about 250 volts. The 7.2 volt battery packs are what will be replaced to restore battery function and reliability. When cells are grouped in this manner they should never be discharged more than about 30 percent of their total capacity. I believe Toyota limits the discharge of our hybrid battery to about 40 percent and the battery level indicater will be indicating flat empty. This has to be done because, if not, the stronger cells will be drawing series current through the weaker or "more empty" ones and these tired ones will become reversed charged and ruined. One ruined cell in the pack, ruins the pack. Think of an old western movie where the hero overtakes a runaway team of horses, saves the heroine and then ties his tired horse to the rear of the wagon. That tired horse will end up being dragged if the driver isn't paying attention. The Toyota hybrid battery limited to a discharge of only 30 or 40 percent should last much more than 8 years; the warranty period. Maybe 16 years is more like it. I predict we'll never have to worry about batteries. There are too many clever people out there waiting for some need to fill.
 

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This is partly an issue of supply and demand. Panasonic are the only people who make the batteries for the Prius, and their order books are completely full, especially given the new Highlander and Lexus hybrids. They can barely keep up with demand and word is their production line is already stretched to breaking point. Frankly, they can't afford to provide batteries for a "spares" department, every available battery has to go into a vehicle.

It's for this reason, and the fact that Nickel metal now costs 5 times what it did before hybrids came along, that the 2008 Prius redesign is going with Lithium-ion instead.
 

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Just one thing. Magazines that claim to provide technical information should be stating the sources of their information. I don't put much credit in information that isn't substantiated by some other more reliable source.
 

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:roll: Roger V aka "Chicken Little"

... and California West of the Rockies is about to slide into the Pacific Ocean... I am trembling, even though I am 600+ feet above MSL (Mean Sea Level) in Dallas Texas.

Such ALARMISTS postings are good for an occasional laugh, but universally are based on inaccurate or incomplete information. ALWAYS, there is no link to support this information.
 

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First off, if someone has a link from an official source stating that individual modules would be replaced, let's see it. Repair manual states replace pack.

There is a $200 bounty for the return of a spent pack for recycling, so I doubt there's a disposal fee. Now the recycle process might replace a module, and maybe the electrolytes (another speculation floating out there) in the remaining modules, but it wouldn't be at the Prius repair level as a customer waits for his car back.

I haven't been able to find new battery packs for sale at OEM parts outlets on the web, so true price would be hard to specifiy.
 

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ChasSuitt, no need to call RogerV names. He was passing along the article, and asking for rebuttal or substantiation. Perhaps you mistakenly thought he was the source of the information?

Fact is, we don't really know either how long the batteries will last, or what they will cost to replace. So far, so good, but as the Prius population ages, we will find out for sure.

We took a chance: we are betting that they will last a long time, and that the price will come down for replacement batteries. Those of us who routinely put 200K+ miles on a car are counting on future price reductions that may never come.

If a different and incompatible battery technology comes along, we'll never see the volume production and competition that might lower prices. Will the Prius handle a lithium battery, for example, with its different charge characteristics? Will a mere software flash allow its use? We don't know, and we are taking our chances based on Toyota's reputation.

That is why we get special treatment like tax incentives and carpool stickers. It is the interest of the country that hybrids are successful, and early adopters, aka gamblers, like ourselves are being rewarded. But the risk is still there, and only time will tell.
 

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The possible cost of replacing the battery for the Prius is one of the reasons a friend does not want to buy a hybrid car. I agreed that was an unknown, but it didn't stop me from buying a Prius and enjoying this marvelous car! :D
 

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I Think about 10 years waranty on battery, and I hope to sale my car after 5 years and buy a new PRIUS then. So the cost of batery ? Who Knows in 5 years.
 

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KTPhil said:
. . . Those of us who routinely put 200K+ miles on a car are counting on future price reductions that may never come. . .
I'm counting on the original battery lasting 200K+ miles so I won't have to worry about replacement cost. Seems like I've got a good shot at it, but no guarantees, of course.
 

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cazabianca said:
I read the same article and was astonished at the $6,000 replacement figure. In a previous issue (one or two monthes back) I think it was in an article by Brock Yates that he quoted a figure $3,500 for replacing a Prius battery.
I remember reading that Brock Yates column and thinking that there was a lot of anecdotal gibberish in his piece that could easily be refuted. What you are seeing from the Car and Driver editors is a natural backlash and resistance against the inevitable realization that their gasoholic ways are becoming increasingly difficult to defend when there is $3+ per gallon gas prices at the pump. As fuel costs continue to increase, the performance paradigm is shifting from mph to mpg. If Car and Driver doesn’t understand this, the magazine will eventually lose subscribers to publications that do.
 

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Prius Battery Does Not Cost $6000

The Prius batteries (both 1st and 2nd gen part numbers) have an MSRP of $2,985.13 - just ask anyone with access to a Toyota parts price list. The factory flat rate book recommends 1.7 hours to remove and replace the Prius battery.

Any other numbers you hear are wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Don Neal,
Thanks so much for posting the price and estimated labor time to install the batteries. To all others who posted, thanks as well. We all seem to be in agreement that it shouldn't be a problem for most owners for a good many miles.
Roger
 

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I am sure I could install the battery pack myself when the time comes. Just be sure the safety plug is removed during installation. There should be no danger then.
 
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