What happens if the battery in your hybrid car starts to fail?
If your car is still within warranty, you’ll get a replacement battery at no cost to you. If your car or its battery pack are out of warranty, you’ll have a few other options.
But South Korean automaker Hyundai is now so confident that the battery pack in its 2012 Sonata Hybrid will outlive the car that it is offering customers a lifetime guarantee on its lithium-polymer battery pack.
In short, if you buy a 2012 Sonata Hybrid, and the battery pack starts to die, you’ll get a replacement battery pack free of charge -- regardless of its age or mileage.
“The Hyundai brand was built on outstanding quality backed by the industry’s best protection program which we call Hyundai Assurance,” said Michael O’Brien, vice president of Corporate and Product Planning at Hyundai Motor America. “Expanding Hyundai Assurance to include Lifetime Battery Replacement Guarantee was another opportunity for us to demonstrate our confidence in the durability of our product, and pass that peace-of-mind on to our owners.”
According to Hyundai, it has tested both the Sonata Hybrid and its Blue Drive hybrid drivetrain for 300,000 miles or more without “minimal degradation of its output or duration of operation.”
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
That’s not necessarily a new feat. When the city of San Francisco retired the first 15 of its 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid taxis in 2009, they had each averaged around 300,000 miles without a single battery problem.
That’s backed up by anecdotal evidence from Carolyn Coquillette, Prius mechanic extraordinaire at San Francisco’s Luscious Garage. When we visited Coquillette at her specialist garage last year, she told us of Toyota Prius taxis she regularly services with battery packs that have far outlived the 150,000 10-year California-only warranty period given by Toyota.
When Hyundai launched the Sonata Hybrid in 2011, it was the first mass-produced hybrid to use a lithium-ion (lithium-polymer) battery pack. At the time, Hyundai announced it would offer a 100,000 mile, 10-year warranty on the pack. We can only assume an additional year of testing and refinement has given it increased faith in the LG-Chem battery pack.
Hyundai’s new battery pack warranty makes the 2012 Sonata Hybrid a tempting buy for anyone wanting to make the switch from a traditional gasoline car to a hybrid.
But will Hyundai’s faith in its own car steal it the hybrid car crown from Toyota? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below.