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  1. #21

    Battery life and price

    I am looking at a used 2000 Honda Insight and I am a bit hesitant to buy because it has 120,000 miles. So that's one answer for you: it lasts at least 120K. However, my concern is how much longer it may last. Any Insight owners with high mileage or who have replaced batteries? I haven't been able to find anyone yet, which is a good sign. And FYI, the replacement cost for the Insight from the dealership is $3000 including labor.

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  3. #22

    Battery life and price

    Here is a question for a battery engineer out there:
    What happens to an ION/LI battery when you have an accident and and the battery leads are a direct
    short? What kind of temperatures do relate to that?

  4. #23

    Battery life and price

    Battery prices more than likely will NOT decrease instead as the history of NiMH and Lion batteries show the price stays relatively flat and the capacity of the batteries increase. In the future battery packs will become smaller and lighter but the price will more than likely increase at a rate proportional to inflation. Companies that manufacture these cells have to recover the development costs for future technology.

    For ANY car company to tell the consumer that the prices will be 1/20th of the current values are flat out misleading the consumers to dispel fears of possible problems with the systems.

    Typical NiMH batteries in use seldom last beyond 5 years of normal usage. Charging cycles determine the life of the battery packs. Cycles and the severity of the charging cycles varies but for simplification sake consider one complete discharge and re-charge as a cycle. This for a Hybrid means a 0-top speed acceleration burst which depletes the battery pack. Typical NiMH battery's can only take 500-750 cycles before they need to be replaced. Obviously they battery will not be completely dead but they will suffer from reduced capacity and increased thermal heating from the reduced recovery of the charge.

    Consider that most battery packs range anywhere from $4,000-$8,000 to replace. Since the battery packs degrade at a relatively uniform rate due to cycles and time seldom will an owner replace just a single cell.

    Hybrids have a major drawback that being the "Otto-Cycle" engine that drives teh vehicle. Otto-cycle engines simply fail in terms of thermal efficiency due to stiochiometric limitations on combustion fuel air ratios.

    The true winners in efficiency are Diesel cycle and HCCI which is still being developed. These motors offer the ability to vary fuel air ratios to truely thus do not have to reply on hybrid drive systems to attempt to recover the lost energy. Diesel Hybrids due to the low recovery of energy of current and forcast Hybrid drives do not offer enough benenfit to justify the increase in weight and complexity.

    Current diesel technology already offers MPG's in the 105mpg range for current production cars outside the US. I have to emphasize that these ARE NOT HYBRIDS but conventional diesel-cycle engines!

    Outside the US large luxury cars like the BMW 745iL, Mercedes S500, Audi A8 V8TDI VW Phaeton V10 are given diesel engines as the top of the line options affording these large cars the ability to routinely get 30+ mpgs without sacrificing performance if anything they suffer from being governed to 155mph due to speed limits imposed on them by local governments.

    Diesel also is the only option for using Biofuels such as Rapeseed Biodiesel, algea based biodiesel. These fuels allow the use of Nox catalysts which reduce emissions below that of current clean/green benzine burners aka Otto-Cycle gasoline engines. The advantage with Biofuels is energy density allowing for high output motors which use a completely renewable energy source thus stopping total emissions output.

    Hybrids by virtue of emissions from production actually increase the impact on the environment through the damage done by producing the subsystems. I must say that no car is truly green due to production emissions but when the production is shifted to countries that do not regulate industrial emissions such as China then the impact is shifted to another region of the world. As the case is with Hydrogen producing hydrogen increases emissions due to the inefficiency of cracking H2O into its primary components. Hydrogen is the poorest means of storing energy, to clarify Hydrogen is not an energy source but simply a means of storing energy since it does not exist in a pure state without refining.

    Thats my $.02 worth

    On my current car I have 210,000 miles and still enjoy 53mpg lifetime average...for those looking for an efficient vehicle remember these 3 letters T D I


  5. #24

    Battery life and price

    I have heard that in the manual for the Prius, it does say that the battery could go dead if it is not started every 5 weeks.

    I also saw that someone said that the Prius is the only full hybrid. That is not true. The new 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid (HCH) is now a full hybrid.

  6. #25

    Battery life and price

    Live in Phx, Az and am considering a hybrid. One major concern is the affect of our extreme summer air (outside), road and engine compartment temperatures. Heard that NIMH batteries are ok with temperatures up to 140 degrees. Expect that asphalt reflection and engine compartment temperatures on a 122 degree day could easily exceed 140? Anyone know what to expect from batteries after 4/5 years of hot summer driving?

    Another concern is with dealers not honoring warranties because older batteries check out as good, even though acceleration performance suffers. Not too hard to see Az. car dealerships using a ploy like that to avoid honoring warranties.

  7. #26

    Battery life and price

    I wish "T", the so-called Toyota engineer, would post his real name, so he can be held accountable for his cost projection of future replacement battery packs. I guess he doesn't "officially" represent the company, eh?

    Hey "T", what about your legendary 22RE engines, used in the 2 and 4WD pickups, and their head gasket problems back in the '80s and '90s? How come there was no official recall? How come Toyota doesn't use the word recall when it has a chronic problem?

    How come I had to cough up $400+ bucks for a head gasket repair on a less than 4 year old truck, with the so-called legendary Toyota quality, that your company wouldn't warranty? And won't admit there was ever a problem, nor issue a real recall, like domestic brands do?

    Afraid of the bad publicity? Some of us have friends and relatives working at Toyota dealerships, so we know the real story.

    Its not that I really hate Toyota. Its that you've got your shorts so tightly wound up that you can't admit it when you make a real mistake. You need to come clean on past hidden recalls, so you can be trusted in the future when people like "T" make exgaggerations like we just read.

    And, for what its worth, the Prius, doesn't use an Otto cycle engine; its a Rankine 5-cycle engine.

  8. #27

    Battery life and price

    The Toyota is a conventional 4 valve engine with variable cam timing (VVT-i). This is an otto-cycle engine in every sense of the word.

    As for internal combustion engines there are 3 cycles from an engineering standpoint:

    (1)Otto-Cycle which uses Stiochiometric (or in some cases leaner than) through 4 complete cycles to achieve a power stroke. Hybrids use this because of the inherent inefficiencies of the characteristics of this design due to waste heat energy to control and provent pre-igntion and detonation from excessively lean combustion. One variation of the Otto-cycle is FSI or GDI where no fuel is injected during the intake stroke. The raw air is compressed via the compression stroke and at or near TDC just prior to ignition a shot of highly pressurized fuel is injected and then ignition occurs before the fuel is fully scattered within the cylinder. The central portion of the spray is rich enough to ignite but leans out as the combustion propogates through the cylinder. This process is the only currently viable process for achieving true lean burn characteristics of gasoline/otto-cycle engines. Currently in the US due to fuel quality (high sulfur content 300ppm) FSI/GDI is limited to 20:1 due to sulfur contamination of catalysts for lean burn engines. Once sulfure is reduced fuel ratios can be reduced to as lean as 40:1 without loss of power and upwards of 20-30% increase in economy. However due to the low energy content of gasoline this still falls short of the diesel cycle in terms of overall efficiency.

    (2)Diesel Cycle: similar to FSI fuel is injected at or just prior to the top of the compression stroke. Instead of a spark the highly compressed air is sufficient by itself to cause the fuel to ignite (glow plugs are seldom used and even then only to help raise the local temperature to the point that ignition during compression is aided, glow plugs DO NOT ignite the fuel). Due to the extreme range of fuel air ratios in a diesel it is possible and typical for diesels to idle without a load as lean as 100:1. As load on the motor increases the fuel air ratio at the highest point will only reach 35:1 making a diesel superior in terms of thermal efficiency. To date no other engine offers this level of performance or efficiency. Limitations again revolve around the toxic levels of sulfur which prevent the use of catalytic converters in diesel vehicles. Sulfur levels MUST be reduced to less than 15ppm and ideally lower than 8ppm to ensure optimum performance of diesel catalysts. Once these are implemented diesel vehicles will surpass gasoline engines in terms of lower emissions due to the wider range of lean burn fuel air ratios and the fact that the engine has lower C02 output as a result of the leaner average fuel air ratios in conjuntion with higher thermal efficiency. Diesels do not benefit from Hybrid technology simply because the diesel engine is already at the point that further complexity negates the modest 1-5% decrease in fuel consumption due to recovered energy fom the hybrid drive.

    (3) HCCI, in the simplest terms harnesses detonation which allows for more energy to be released during combustion. HCCI is very similar to the diesel cycle however it relies on a spark plug to initiate the detonation sequence for optimum control of emissions and power output. In a sense it allows for faster combustion which allows for a wider range of control of combustion for a maximum reduction in emissions. This also offers a wider range of fuel options however these fuel options are still being defined as to which fraction or type of fuel will be ideal in terms of trade offs in emissions and performance. HCCI is at best 10 years away or more. Currently there are HCCI engines running in the lab but due to complexity and further need for development 10 years may be a little optimistic.


  9. #28

    Battery life and price

    Way back in the 1930's the fire brigade in New Zealand used electric motors on its trucks, has it taken 3/4 of a century to perfect this technology? I think the oil cartels have something to answer for. Here in Australia diesel engines are starting to gain more sales due to their high power and torque values with low consumption. We currently have french diesels giving 4.5 L/100km so why bother with hybrids? Mitsubishi's full electric engines seem more promising as they already have them ready for production but I imagine we'd have to use all the oil first as governments wean us onto different taxes to pay for road maintenance.

  10. #29

    Battery life and price

    This is for the Toyota engineer about "never having to replace a hybrid battery." Maybe my story will shed a little light. I have owned my Highlander Hybrid for just over a year. No problems. On Tuesday of this week, I could not start it. Nothing came on. We had it towed to the dealer where they performed their diagnostic tests and said, silly me, there was nothing wrong with the battery. They said they re-charged it and sent me on my way. I drove the car and found the battery charge was still quite low so I drove it around some more. On Saturday, yesterday, I got in my car and NOTHING. Not a light, not a sound-it was completely dead. I called Toyota service and asked why they had not replaced the battery when I took it in. They said, "well, those batteries are very expensive. We're not going to replace it if it passes all our tests." And I said, "there is obviously something wrong with it. Will you replace it now?" And he said if it passes all their tests again, it will NOT be replaced. In order for the warranty to kick in, the battery must be "defective" they only test for which, apparently, is Toyotas. The fact that the car repeatedly fails to start even after recharging and fails to hold a significant charge is not sufficient evidence. I called Toyota and they have opened up a case file but it will take them several days to get back to me. Now, I have to have my car towed to the dealership (again) and go through the same tests (again) and will probably be told they can't find anything wrong. (again). I live in Scottsdale, Arizona where the average summer temp. is over 108. I have 2 small children and now I have to drive around a vehicle knowing full well the battery can die at any time and no one will know why. Oh, but they'll tow it and charge it again and again and again and again. . . I'm not impressed so far. I'll keep you all updated.

  11. #30
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    I'm looking at buying a restored salvage Prius where the battery was not 'hit' (the front was seriously wrecked and repaired), but the car obviously sat for quite awhile, months in fact, without getting any charge. I understand the warranty must be voided, given it's a salvage car, but is the main battery possibly degraded? Can these sit for months without a charge and be okay?

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