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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.
     
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  2. How do the warranty and lifespan of battery packs compare among hybrid car manufacturers? Is there published reviews and ratings?
     
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  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.
     
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  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.
     
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  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?
     
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  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: http://automobiles.honda.com/mile-makers/story.aspx?Story=72
     
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