The Ultimate Guide: Toyota Prius Battery Life, Cost, and Warranty

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2010 Toyota Prius high-voltage battery pack

2010 Toyota Prius high-voltage battery pack

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Like many articles, this one started with a reader question. Casey Krakowiecki wrote:

I'm interested in buying a new Toyota Prius hybrid. I hope you can answer a couple of questions that will help me.

(1) Are the rechargable batteries guaranteed for 8 years? If they fail at 7 years and 11 months, do you get them replaced free of charge, or are they prorated?

(2) What happens to the resale value of a Prius if you want to keep it for six or seven years, knowing the cost of replacing batteries is $3,000?

They're both good questions.

2011 Toyota Prius

2011 Toyota Prius

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To answer the first one, John Hanson, Toyota's National Manager, Environmental, Safety & Quality Communications, responds:

"The battery pack in any hybrid Toyota is warranted either for 10 years or 150,000 miles (in states with California emissions laws) or 8 years or 100,000 miles in all other states."

And, he adds, "There's no pro-rating at all. The battery will be replaced at no cost if necessary during the warranty period."

As for the effect on used Prius prices, there doesn't appear to be a discount for older Priuses based on concerns about the life of the rechargeable battery pack.

Indeed, Toyota says the battery pack is one of the least-frequently replaced items across all Prius models. And some proportion of the packs it has to replace haven't failed, but were damaged in collisions or other accidents.

2004-2009 Toyota Prius battery pack, second generation

2004-2009 Toyota Prius battery pack, second generation

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The cost of the pack varies with the year of the Prius. Replacement batteries for the 2001-2003 Prius cost $2,299, and those for the more common 2004-2009 model currently run $2,588.

Labor costs could total several hundred more dollars if you have to replace the pack, for whatever reason.

One knowledgeable Prius owner suggests purchasing a spare used battery pack, an idea we think is interesting--but definitely overkill for all but the most mechanically-minded owners.

A Toyota Prius battery, by the way, contains 168 1.2-Volt nickel-metal-hydride cells, which contain a total of 1.6 kilowatt-hours of energy. Its peak power output is 27 kilowatts, or about 36 horsepower.

For more information about the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack in the 2010 Toyota Prius, see "30 Days Of the 2010 Toyota Prius: Day 12, Battery Pack".


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Comments (6)
  1. So how many Electric cars will make it 22 years to "Historic" status? They are going to have to make these babies MUCH MUCH cheaper.
    I think I have just been talked out of an electric vehicle.

  2. How do the warranty and lifespan of battery packs compare among hybrid car manufacturers? Is there published reviews and ratings?

  3. @Jason: Pretty much all hybrid and electric car makers are required to warrant their battery and electric motor(s) for 8 yrs/100K or 10 yrs/150K, depending on state. Those components are considered to be part of the emissions control equipment, which has to be warrrantied for those periods by law.

  4. I wonder if any aftermarket battery packs are available? I would think at $3k, there is sufficient margin for a third party to enter the market.

  5. I purchased the first Prius in CT on Sept. 1, 2000. My high voltage battery was warrantied for ten years, but it has now been over 11. I have been informed that it must be replaced and its cost with labor will be $4,000. I am 200 miles shy of 150,000 miles and the car is otherwise in great condition. I have asked them about the warranty on the replacement battery and am curious about the mark-up since they say they are quoting me at cost. Thoughts?

  6. @Jack: I believe the quoted cost of $2,450 applies to the second-generation (2004-2009) Prius pack. Far fewer of the first-generation cars were sold, so it may be a part that's less in demand. I'm aware of a mild hybrid Honda Civic Hybrid that's gone 700K with just a single pack replacement, however:

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