Hybrid Vehicles are a great way to conserve our oil supply and have become very popular today. It is great when the Factory warranty is in place and active so when you’re Hybrid Battery fails there is no cost out of pocket. But what about post-warranty failures? What are the options and costs? We will dig into the ever-growing problem with older Hybrid Vehicles.
First of all, let’s get to know the type of chemistry that makes up the majority of the Hybrid Batteries today. The most popular one is a Nickel Metal Hydride, which is a great power delivery battery, this means it will charge and discharge quickly. It is a low capacity battery but transfers energy fast. The other Hybrid Batteries are Lithium-Ion batteries, mostly used in Full Electric Vehicles, because of their very good energy density or larger capacity that is needed to give a good range. Kia and Toyota both have a Lithium-Ion Battery as do some of the hybrids. Most of these are still covered under factory warranty so today I am going to focus on the Nickel Metal Hydride Battery that is post-warranty.
Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries
The best part about the Nickel Metal Hydride Battery is that it can be refurbished and shouldn’t be discarded until a Professional like 2nd Life Battery LLC can recycle your battery.
Because of shallow cycling (battery never fully charged or discharged) there becomes a dendrite (a crystal or crystalline mass with a branching tree-like structure) buildup on the plates of the cells in the battery. Because they take up area on the plates, capacity is a function of area, therefore capacity is lost. This is a normal occurrence that takes place over a seven-year period. After this amount of time all batteries to be balanced. When this occurs you will notice a decrease in fuel mileage and performance. This is a hard sell when your battery is still functioning, but the truth of the matter is, if this preventive maintenance is done you will save money in the long run and regain your vehicle’s mileage and performance. Remember your battery will now last another seven years before needing a rebalance.
Replacement Cost Options for Hybrid Battery
Drive to the dealership where they will sell you a brand new hybrid battery with a price range for a Prius $3200.00 up to a Lexus RX450h $7500.00 for example. These are the prices my customers have shared in their quotes in fall 2019. These batteries come with a 1-year Warranty. The problem is the high cost and the waste of a recyclable resource.
The next option is to Contact 2nd Life Battery LLC and get a refurbished Hybrid Battery that has been recycled. Our hybrid batteries are built from good used batteries, taken from wrecked Hybrids Vehicles, that were working when wrecked, but all need to be rebalanced and brought back to 85-90% of the original OEM specification. When weak cell modules are identified, they are replaced from the return core batteries, with a matching donor cell module, and then they are cycled to match the Power Delivery (load) test and the Energy (capacity) test to build a great balanced replacement for your Post Warranty Hybrid Battery. The cost for the refurbished Prius Gen 2 battery was $1600.00 for the 3-year warranty battery installed. The Lexus RX450h refurbished battery cost $3200.00 with a 3-year warranty. I feel this is the best bang for the buck and saves resources to boot.
Another option is to buy a used Hybrid Battery from the local salvage yard and pay $850.00 plus install for a Prius Gen2, which is a usable battery, but that is already degraded and in need of rebalancing. This is a fair option but because the true condition of the battery is unknown it can be a bit of a gamble.
The last option is to go to you-tube and learn how to disassemble your High Voltage Hybrid battery and check all 28-40 cell modules hoping to find one with unusually low voltage. Then go to eBay and buy a good recycled donor cell module that has been checked for Power and Energy, @ $29.95 to $45.00 each, disassemble your hybrid battery and replace the failed cell module. One problem with this test is that it won’t tell you if there is an internal resistance that causes poor power delivery or the weak cell module can’t be detected. This is only a way to patch your hybrid battery together. The problem with this repair is that you have only put a band-aid on the problem. It may last 90 days or maybe a year before another cell module fails and you start all over again. Unfortunately, this option is usually done in the back yard without the proper high voltage protective Gloves or Cat III multimeters.
The best way to keep your Hybrid Battery happy, after the factory warranty has expired, is to find a company like 2nd Life Battery LLC that can keep your high tech Hybrid Vehicle on the road for a Second Life. Enjoy your fuel-efficient Hybrid Vehicle for years to come and save the planet at the same time. Happy Motoring