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  1. #1
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    How long do batteries last?

    We are seriously interested in a Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius but we are worried about the cost of replacing the batteries. We keep our cars usually about 12 years so it's past the guarantee period I guess, but our mileage is less than 10,000 per year. Does anyone have any experience with replacing batteries? How long do they last? How much do they cost? Should we worry about this?

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  3. #2
    Clearly, the cars haven't been around for 12 years yet so it is hard to know what the situation will be then. Battery technology is getting much better and cheaper at about 10% per year over the past few decades so replacement is likely to be cheaper and better. One can also assume that after-market replacements are likely to come available but it is hard to tell if they will for today's models. Also, don't forget that the HCH will run, albeit underpowered, even if the traction battery is pretty weak.
    I, too, generally try to run the wheels off of a car, pushing for 150K miles or more and 10 - 12 years before giving up on it. With our '03 HCH, we chose to get the 100K miles, 6 year, zero deductable, Honda extended warrantee in case there are any infant mortality problems in that time. Of course, that won't help with the last 6 years but at least it is a start. I'm kind of assuming we may have to deal with the batteries around 120K miles, just as one normally has to deal with the tranny, fuel pump, water pump, alternator, etc somewhere between 70K and 120K miles on an american built car.
    In the case of hybrids, I guess that's the price of doing what's right. In the mean time, you get to enjoy the reduced grip that the oil companies have on you.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arizonagirl View Post
    We are seriously interested in a Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius but we are worried about the cost of replacing the batteries. We keep our cars usually about 12 years so it's past the guarantee period I guess, but our mileage is less than 10,000 per year. Does anyone have any experience with replacing batteries? How long do they last? How much do they cost? Should we worry about this?
    Arizonagirl:

    Whichever car you pick (Civic or Prius) I'm sure you'll be satisfied in the long run. These two vehicles are the second generation rendition of the popular hybrid models, and they have been re-designed to promote long life and reliability.

    Yes, the hybrid battery replacement cost question always seems to come up now and then. To mitigate that, both manufacturers have learnt alot and have done to utmost to extend the battery life by designing their systems so that long battery life is as long as possible. Both Honda and Toyota claim that the batteries will last the life of the car and they offer long warranties to support the "worst use case" scenarios. I would say that this goal still depends on driving conditions and total travelled distance, but for common drivers like us it is a non-issue.

    Like you, I do not accummulate more than 10,000 miles a year and I keep my cars for a very long time (well beyond their warranties). As such, I am so confident in the technology that we now own a 2006 HCH, a 2007 Prius (Business car), and a 2007 HCH (wife's car) and I expect a very long and rewarding ownership for the years to come.

    As time goes by, there will be battery replacements for some folks. The older the cars get the greater the statistical chance of that occurring. But, so do transmission replacements for almost every car, and a battery replacement is supposed to occur less often and cost about the same. In the case of the Prius, the eCVT transmission will literally last forever so there aren't many things to worry about with the car to begin with. Then you must also factor in the reduced wear on the components that most traditional cars need to have replaced regularly. This includes the brakes, gas engine, among other systems. Hybrids do not suffer at such rate and will save money in the longer run with reduced mechanical maintenance & failures.

    Cheers;

    MSantos

  5. #4
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    I don't worry about it with Honda Civic Hybrid

    The way I see it is that with how civic is designed, the car will continue to work even the battery is dead since the motor is only assisting the engine. Of course, the car will perform just like a 90's civic base model with < 100 hp engine. I really doubt that Toyota Prius can do that without a battery since I read that it is driven by the motor and assisted by the gas engine.

  6. #5
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    Toyota has been selling the Prius in the US since 1999. Same for the Honda Insight (2000 model year).

    Find an early model for sale with 100,000 miles (10 years equivalent for you) and test drive it. That'll tell you how well the batteries hold up over time.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2005HCH View Post
    I really doubt that Toyota Prius can do that without a battery since I read that it is driven by the motor and assisted by the gas engine.
    Partly so. The power-split device on the Prius can connect the gas engine directly to the wheels which makes it as much a parallel hybrid as the IMA system. However, on the issue of the battery: The main mitigating advantage for the Prius, is that the HSD battery pack is "more" engineered to make complete battery failures less likely. A NiMH pack on a Prius can report a bad cell/bank without affecting the overall battery functionality thus giving its owner the ability/opportunity to take corrective action before a total failure occurs.

    On the HCH-2 the battery pack health is monitored as a collection of the entire cell count. This means that if one or more cells are faulty then there is no easy way to tell which they are unless they are evaluated individually - on the bench - which is time consuming and most shops will simply opt to replace the entire pack.
    This is not to say that a Toyota dealership will not make the same replacement choice, but at least they have the option of faster troubleshooting and lower cost to the customer - especially if the bad cell count is low (this has happened already).

    Still the probablility of a dead Prius exists if there's a significant problem with its hybrid's electric system. On a Civic Hybrid 2, the vehicle will still operate (although anemically) without its hybrid's electric system, so it would appear the HCH-2 could at least theoretically, have a slight edge in the unlikely event of such a complete battery failure.


    Cheers;

    MSantos

  8. #7
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    I have witnessed two Toyota`s with battery failures.
    One was a 2004 and the other a 2005 with around 80K miles.
    Toyota has updated the battery packs.

  9. #8
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    http://www.hybridcars.com/hig

    http://www.hybridcars.com/high-road/...ries-last.html


    check out this posting and see a prius that dies at 349,000 miles b/c of a kid running a red light..with same batteries. lots of into. fyi.

  10. #9
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    Honda has extended the

    Honda has extended the warranty period on the Insight and HCH batteries to 100K miles. My 2000 Insight had a bad battery at 96K and my local dealer replaced the battery at NO Charge. It would have been about $2400 out of warranty. At 104K its running very well with exceptional MPG. Our 2003 HCH at 58K is running very well with no problems. I think the Honda hybrids are as reliable as non-hybrid Hondas.

  11. #10
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    I bought a 2003 Honda Civic

    I bought a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid back in May 2002 and I currently have about 163k miles on the vehicle. I've gotten the IMA weak battery light turn on and the dealership has recommended a new battery, but my car is still running and I haven't noticed a great decrease in the battery strength. It does discharge and recharge more frequently, but I can still drive it and don't intend on spending money on a new battery unless I feel I can get another 100k+ out of the car with the new battery.

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