We often get asked whether it will be necessary to replace the high-voltage battery pack in a Toyota Prius after it's five or ten years old. The answer is, almost certainly not.
Toyota is required to warranty the pack for either 8 years / 100,000 miles or 10 years / 150,000 miles, depending on which state it's sold in. (California and the 10 states that have adopted its emissions standards require the longer intervals.)
Buy a used pack?
If you do have to replace the pack, the current cost is $2,299 (for 2001-2003 models) or $2,588 (for 2004-2009 models). Labor costs could total several hundred more dollars.
But for owners worried about the cost of a new pack, one Prius fan and forum participant has a novel suggestion: Buy a used pack and store it.
Solar Prius owner Bob Bruninga recommends that you buy a used for your model year of Prius three to five years after the car is new, charge it up, and leave it on the shelf in a climate controlled space (like your house).
No market for used battery packs
Bruniga, who asked that we include his ham-radio call letters: WB4APR, says, "Whenever a Prius gets totaled, the battery almost always survives perfectly.
"There is no used market for them, for the first many years of that model year, because the warranty lasts 8 years or so, and so no one is looking for used batteries.
"In the USA, you can find all the used batteries you want for under $500 and they all come with the control unit. And even when you buy it, it will have less mileage on it than what you are already driving." (Others say street price may be more like $700.)
"Of course, I have no data on long term storage.. So maybe 6 years later when you need it it might not be that great, but it should be better than what you have that will have been used all that time?
Proceed at your own risk
We're not recommending this for Toyota Prius owners, most of whom will never need to replace their battery pack. Most of the packs Toyota sells, it says, are actually replacements for cars damaged in rear-end accidents.
Still, we thought it was an intriguing idea. For those Prius owners comfortable with the idea of keeping a high-voltage battery pack somewhere in their house, anyhow.
2005 Toyota Prius