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I've been considering buying a Prius for about 8 months now and just got on a waiting list for a 2005. One question someone asked me has been on my mind:
What will happen with all the old Prius batteries when they die? I don't expect them to die for many, many years, but when they do, will it be an environmental fiasco?
Has anyone heard anything from Toyota about that?
 

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They're supposed to be recyclable, but whether or not there's an actual end-of-life disposal/recycling mechanisim in place, I do not know.
 

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12v accessory battery is lead-acid, like in any other car. Recycle like you would any other car's battery (usually a trade-in when you buy a new 12v battery).

hybrid traction battery is NiMH (nickel metal hydride), so no heavy metals in there, so no toxicity problems. The ERG states to contact your nearest Toyota dealer for recycling, or to call the Toyota USA or Canada help lines.
 

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The 2003 Prius used Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries that ran at 270 volts. Toyota doubled the voltage and shrank the battery. How do you do that? They said, we went to a Lithium-Ion battery. Well, I have yet to confirm it, but the only way you can shrink the battery by going to Lithium-Ion, is to make it Lithium-Ion-Polymer. A few years ago John Hopkins University said they had come up with two plastics with an electrolyte jell sandwiched between them. One the size of a credit card puts out 2.7 volts, is rechargeable, recycleable, and works in extreme cold where other batteries wouldn't work at all. If this is the battery that they are using then you know where I'm going on the recycling. No one talks about this battery! Yet a few do know about it. It is used in cell phones for one. Has anyone seen how big this battery is under the back seat, just below the cargo floor? Not as big as you would think for producing 500+ volts. Please, don't confuse the small 12 volt auxillary battery in the rear corner for the main battery. I'm still trying to find out if it truely is Lithium-Ion-Polymer. If anyone knows for sure let me know.
 

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Toyota doubled the voltage and shrank the battery. How do you do that? They said, we went to a Lithium-Ion battery.
This is totally wrong. Toyota did not double the battery voltage (it decreased from 274 to 202 V) and did not say they use Lithium-Ion battery since it's the same (improved) NiMH technology. But a high-voltage power circuit was added between the battery and the motors to operate them at 500 V. See here for further details.
 

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That battery this is still a strang phenomena.

frenchie said:
Toyota doubled the voltage and shrank the battery. How do you do that? They said, we went to a Lithium-Ion battery.
This is totally wrong. Toyota did not double the battery voltage (it decreased from 274 to 202 V) and did not say they use Lithium-Ion battery since it's the same (improved) NiMH technology. But a high-voltage power circuit was added between the battery and the motors to operate them at 500 V. See here for further details.
If this is the case then why did the Toyota people who were speaking on their behalf say that they doubled the voltage and switched to lithium-Ion? What they said in public and what they are now placing on the Internet is something we nee to question. I'm going to look up the Popular Science issue that repeated the same thing so I can give you a reference to look at. I didn't make this up out of the blue, Toyota was telling this to the public as part of interviews. So did they shrink the battery or not? Going from 270 volts and doubling the voltage would decrease the battery size. No matter how you look at it, Toyota was pushing the fact that they had gone to a Lithium Ion battery from Nickel-metal-hydride, and that they had bench tested it up to 150,000 miles, and garanteed it to 100,000. I can't argue with the link you posted because it's something everyone can see. I can only tell you what was published and talked about on National TV by Toyota and Motor Week. Can anyone else add to the understanding of what we are talking about? I would really like to know what the real story is, because one of the articles said that Toyota could not get the new batteries fast enough to keep up. Did they change something in the middle of production to keep up with demand? All I want are the facts. One fact is it is a damn good car regardless. Keep me informed, and honest Frenchie, thanks.
 

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If this is the case then why did the Toyota people who were speaking on their behalf say that they doubled the voltage and switched to lithium-Ion?
Sorry, but it's the first time I've heard such a thing. What kind of "Toyota people" are you referring to ? Maybe they only told they just (approximately) doubled the voltage for the new Prius AND they wanted to switch to Li-Ion for future models ? Toyota is currently using Li-Ion batteries for some Echo/Yaris/Vitz models with Idling Stop System, as you can see here. But there's no mystery about the Prius battery and its characteristics were public from the beginning. The new battery is made of 28 modules (38 for the old one) of 7.2 V each, hence the decrease in total voltage : 38 * 7.2 = 273.6, whereas 28 * 7.2 = 201.6. Panasonic makes them and you can see the module characteristics here. "New module" corresponds to the current Prius battery and "Current module" to the old ("classic") Prius battery. The first Prius (only sold in Japan) used very different cylindrical modules.
 

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I wonder if KBMorgan is thinking of the tzero, from AC Propulsion. I think they used NiMH for the first one, with a range of about 100 miles. Then they improved it by putting in off-the-shelf Li-Ion batteries, boosting its range to (I think) 350 miles. But they don't seem to have updated their web site for a year.
 

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Re: That battery this is still a strang phenomena.

KBMorgan said:
If this is the case then why did the Toyota people who were speaking on their behalf say that they doubled the voltage and switched to lithium-Ion? What they said in public and what they are now placing on the Internet is something we nee to question. I'm going to look up the Popular Science issue that repeated the same thing so I can give you a reference to look at. I didn't make this up out of the blue, Toyota was telling this to the public as part of interviews. So did they shrink the battery or not? Going from 270 volts and doubling the voltage would decrease the battery size. No matter how you look at it, Toyota was pushing the fact that they had gone to a Lithium Ion battery from Nickel-metal-hydride, and that they had bench tested it up to 150,000 miles, and garanteed it to 100,000. I can't argue with the link you posted because it's something everyone can see. I can only tell you what was published and talked about on National TV by Toyota and Motor Week. Can anyone else add to the understanding of what we are talking about? I would really like to know what the real story is, because one of the articles said that Toyota could not get the new batteries fast enough to keep up. Did they change something in the middle of production to keep up with demand? All I want are the facts. One fact is it is a damn good car regardless. Keep me informed, and honest Frenchie, thanks.
KBMorgan,
With all due respect, until you provide supporting documentation your thesis is simply not credible. It seems more plausible that you are confusing what you heard or read and creating an inaccurate recollection. Hybrid technology is heavily scrutinized and subject to much criticism, so Toyota has taken great lengths to provide precise data regarding the system. If you ever do find a report presenting the specifications you described I will be surprised to see a Toyota representative quoted directly.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 

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The old batteries get damaged after some years. This is a general thing. But It has a disposal date or we can call a warranty period. Well, I was looking for some discussion regarding IT End Of Life Disposal. lease do share something regarding it for me.

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IT End Of Life Disposal
 
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