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  1. #1

    A Question about the Hybrid's Battery

    So, I'm a little confused and find the salesman at dealerships to be average on answers. Since some of you guys actually OWN hybrids, I figure you're the best resource. It's all about the battery in a hybrid. First, can the battery die? If so, can you jumpstart it? And, if it's just a rechargeable, can't you simply leave the lights on (or some other sort of power-draining activity) and then when the battery gets low simply let it coast down a hill while applying the brakes to re-charge? Just curious. Oh, and if those are all true, can't I hook up my TV and satellite to the car's power supply for game day tailgating, and then recharge as necessary? Does it work this way?

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  3. #2

    A Question about the Hybrid's Battery

    My replies here are based on the Honda IMA system, not sure if the Toyota HSD system is different in regard to your questions.
    (They are vastly different in other areas)

    "Can the battery die?"
    The Hondas use a single conventional, typical 12v lead-acid car battery, just like your current car for its main power bus.
    Normally the hybrid system is used to start the car.
    If the hybrid battery is too low, then a conventional starter is used with the normal 12v battery.

    "If so, can you jumpstart it?"

    Your rolling down the hill to charge a dead battery question-
    The CVT will not function without the engine running so no, not in this case.
    A MT version can be "Bump started" like any conventional car.
    Once the engine is started charging begins.

    "Can I hook up my TV and satellite to the car's power supply for game day tailgating, and then recharge as necessary?"
    Yes, the car's main power bus is the typical 12 volts. The hybrid battery is used exclusively with the hybrid motor.
    While the motor/generator is also used to recharge the 12v battery (Like your alternator) that is probably the only similarity between the 12v power bus and the hybrid system.

  4. #3

    A Question about the Hybrid's Battery

    In simpler terms...

    The high voltage Nimh battery basically powers only the hybrid power train, while 12 volts is used to power everything else.

    Radio, lights, wipers, power outlets etc is all 12 volts.

  5. #4

    A Question about the Hybrid's Battery

    The Ford Escape is a little different than the Japanese vehicles. The main power system is 330VDC and all the engine starting and battery charging is done at the 330 volt level. There is an electronic conveter between the 330V system and a conventional 12VDC system. Like the other vehicles, all the normal accessories as well as the power steering and power brakes work on 12 volts. That makes it safe for the owner and typical mechanic to work around anything except the main drive system. The electronic converter works in both directions. Normally it works like an alternator and keeps the 12 volt battery charged from the main 330 volt system. If the 330V battery does get discharged so you can't start the engine, there is a button you can push to charge the 330 volt battery from the 12 volt battery. Essentially you have a spare battery to start the engine and if both batteries go dead, you only have to recharge the 12 volt battery to get going.

    The Escape should be especially good for tailgating since you can use the capacity of the 330V battery without starting the engine. That should be about equivalent to having a trunk full of 12 volt batteries.

  6. #5

    A Question about the Hybrid's Battery

    Also forgot to mention another advantage the hybrids have for tailgating. On the Escape (and I think others) if you leave the key in the on position, the engine will start and stop automatically as needed to keep the batteries charged.

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