I was just told the battery is shot in my 2001 Prius and I have to pay $3700 (including labor) for a replacement. The warranty is 10 years, but because I was an eager early adopter the warranty is only 8 years. Is this typical?
In taxi service the cars are traded at 300,000+ miles and no taxi has ever “worn out” a Prius battery to my knowledge. Hence the long warranty in California. In other words, your 2001 Prius battery should still be going strong, since you most likely do not have 300,000 miles on it!
There are cost considerations in buying a Prius, but premature battery failure should not be one of them.
No, it’s not typical, but it does happen. A small fraction of owners will see unusual failures, just like any car.
The battery is 10 years old…That’s all you can expect from ANY rechargeable battery… By now, thousands of Prius’s have been wrecked and totaled. The batteries are available from salvage yards. They usually charge 50% of new cost…
You can accurately gauge Prius battery life according to the price asked by the salvage yards. If there is great demand, the price will be higher…
The 2004 and up batterys have a differant chemistry and last much longer than the 2001-03 batterys.You can buy an upgraded pack using these newer type of batterys for your Prius for about $1500 and install it your self,not hard to do.Look at, Prius battery upgraded ebay.I put this newer type in my 01 myself they work great.Nick.
Absolutely it is typical for electric vehicle batteries. I know because I have friends who have Priuses and 1 who has an electric Ranger and $3700 is about right for those batteries. I warned my friends who must have thought they were going to get some kind of half-assed award from the UN for saving the Earth, but, they don’t even say I told them so. Glad I stuck with good old gasoline. Till something better comes along I’ll stay with the oil companies.
Frankly I have been amazed with the reliability of all the hybrids out there. Battery life has also impressed me. It appears that there have not been many battery failures so far, but it certainly is time for the early ones to need replacement. I really like a few of the comments above and you might find the best solution in one of them.
My driving style does not really fit current hybrid technology. I tend to do almost all short trips or very long trips. The short trips would be better served with a full battery car and the long trips are highway and there is little advantage for a hybrid there.
I had a friend at work who drove a 2001 Prius to about 233,000 miles. He knew I owned two Priuses and a Camry hybrid so we talked about hybrids all the time. He was in the electrical maintenance shop at work and I trusted his input. He kept up to date on hybrids and told me he had never heard of any Prius batteries failing. Knowing that such a thing was, indeed, possible, though, he also found that there are outfits that can replace the battery packs for a fourth of your stated cost. I do not know that to be true, but it could be worth study. My two Priuses are about halfway through their 100,000 mile battery warranty.
I have a coworker with a hybric Civic with a battery that needs to be overhauled. He said it was a $3000+ repair. The car currently has around 175,000 miles on it – I think his plan is to not put any more work into the car and just drive it until it’s dead. It still drives fine but is suffering from reduced mpg and error codes.
The battery is 10 years old…That’s all you can expect from ANY rechargeable battery…
You should keep up on battery technology. This is NOT a lead-acid battery. We have batteries very similar to that in the Prius on our Engineering production floor that are 20 years old and going strong…they are constantly being discharged and recharged.
Your nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery should slowly degrade over time but according to what I’ve read, they generally appear to be lasting much longer than their warranty period. If this were a dealer response only, I’d start pushing it up the ladder to see if the warranty could be extended retroactively. Their reputation needs repair more than your car. My question to you for potential hybrid buyers is…do you think it saved over $3700 in gas the last 9 years over a Corolla and is it worth the bill now to keep and replace the battery?
I’ll reply as the original poster on this topic. I have been in touch with Toyota’s “Customer Experience Center” and they have been polite but I got a flat turn-down… no post warranty extension whatsoever. Yes, their reputation needs repair and I would expect if this was an odd case they would have been more accommodating. So maybe these battery failures are much more common that has been assumed.
As to the question about gas saving, as I recall the Prius originally cost $2-3000 more than the comparable Corolla so the gas savings is already built into the price. Toyota salespeople were very casual about making statements about the long life of the battery without pointing out the limited warranty which proved so expensive in my case. Needless to say, I’m no longer a Prius flagwaver.
omaxwell, I am just curious. Have you had to make any other non-maintenance repairs to your 2001 Prius?
I ask because one $3,700 repair in nine years isn’t too bad, in spite of the sticker shock you might be experiencing. On the other hand, if this car is costing you money already, I would be more alarmed.
20 years?? What chemistry? how deeply discharged? How many discharge cycles per year? You left out a few details…
Fair enough question, Whitey. No, there had been no other major mechanical problems with the car. I always felt it was pretty well engineered for a first generation model (or maybe 1.5 generation since it was sold in Japan as early as 1997). That was why the battery failure came as such a surprise.
The very first reply in this thread, from Docnick, pretty much expressed how I and probably other users felt when we originally purchased the car. Right or wrong, we listened to the Toyota salespeople and felt that battery failure was simply not something that was going to happen to us. By the way I’ve written more about this at http://bit.ly/51EK0S
If Prius battery failure was not a significant problem, nobody would be selling “upgraded” batteries on e-Bay…It would seem there is a robust market for them…
Here is an update on my experience:
The link didn’t work for me.
that’s strange. Let me try again: http://www.otismaxwell.com/blog/2010/05/toyota’s-missing-conscience/
I just got a check from Toyota reimbursing me for the battery replacement, so I am a happy Prius driver once again. Good news for me but I think also good news for other drivers wondering how long their battery will last. If early battery failures were endemic (as some posters have suggested) I don’t think Toyota would consider reimbursement for an out of warranty repair.