Prius Batteries

I am considering buying a hybrid Prius for the 7 months we spend in Florida, but for 5 months of the summer the car would not be driven. Would this pose a problem for the battery life?

A guess; I would store the car in the shade, carport or garage…other than that, I see no problem. The main hydride battery that Toyota uses is quite durable.
I’d be more concerned that you ran Stabil in the last tankful for a few days before you stored it. 5 months is no problem. Perhaps a trickle charge on the small 12 volt starter battery might be a concern if it could not be disconnected. I would definitely check with the dealer rather than trust anyone like me who doesn’t own one or hasn’t read the owner’s manual.

Rechargeable batteries last longest when they stay charged, and they age faster if they are allowed to become fully depleted. I think you would be better off with a fuel efficient non-hybrid vehicle.

5 months of Florida summer heat would be hard on ANY unused battery…A slow discharge at high temperature is the worst thing you can do to a battery…Go to Plan Two…

I would not get a hybrid for this kind of use, the battery is such a big $$ item.

Officially There’s no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.
The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the carmaker.

I respectfully disagree guys… why the scare about storing a Prius…don’t you think some one, some where has done it successfully every year since the year 2000. I say, buy the darn thing if you want, store it and check with the dealer about any minor inconveniences as stated above. I personally don’t like hybrids for my reasons, but short term 5 month storage would not be one of them.

We are not talking about wear and tear. We are talking about buying one of the most expensive rechargeable batteries available and letting it sit unused five months of every year.

I don’t think it will necessarily destroy the battery pack, but whether or not it does, I don’t think a hybrid would be the best purchase for this kind of use. I think a hybrid should be driven, not stored for such a large percentage of its life. When you don’t drive a car enough to put a lot of miles on it each year, you defeat the purpose of having a hybrid.

Retired snow birds who store a car five months of every year would be better off with a fuel efficient non-hybrid car. Hybrids are made to be driven, not stored.

Also, this is someone asking about buying one, so they can still choose something else. If a Prius owner asked me if they need to get rid of it to do this, I’d say no, give it a try, see how it does. But the OP doesn’t have one. I think an efficient regular car, like a Fit, would be a better choice.

"We are not talking about wear and tear."
I have to disagree again. Failure to hold a charge because of some neglected storage technique ( needed trickle charge etc.) would present itself to the dealer as “failure to hold a charge” in the same way as “wear and tear”. A battery tester would not reveal the difference…Again, a Corolla/Focus/Civic might be a technically better purchase but not for storage reasons. I would argue, all cars are made to be driven. You’re giving very good reasons otherwise, for not buying a Prius and I’m convinced, but the storage one eludes me. In the 7 months he drives, he could be just as well be justified in owning a Prius with high mileage city driving.

OP’s question concerned the affect of storage on battery life ! That to me is the important consideration in answering his question, not the fruitfulness of owning a Prius by a snowbird to which I agree with all.
Personally, I would never recommend a hybrid over other choices until the user can run 50 plus miles on plug in alone. That opinion I didn’t give.

And the repeated impact of 5 months of storage, undriven, at high temperature, is my concern regarding the battery pack. I can’t imagine that’s good for it. Might it handle it? Yes, but I can also imagine it might reduce the battery pack’s life.

You are right…you are imagining it :slight_smile: because Toyota disagrees and does back it up with an 8 to 10 year warranty. I’m aware of the negative affects of heat on batteries and full discharge of any battery. I just don’t think it’s an issue with this proven battery technology and I don’t feel Toyota does either with reasonable minor steps.

Well, here’s what says about NiMH batteries:
“Nickel-metal hydride is less durable than nickel-cadmium. Cycling under heavy load and storage at high temperature reduces the service life. nickel-metal hydride suffers from high self-discharge, which is higher than that of nickel-cadmium.”

Having read the posts on the topic thus far, the consensus seems to be the 5 month storage would not help the batteries. How much harm it may cause them over the lifetime of the car is something noone knows, but can only speculate about. So, how much do you want to be the guinnie pig who learns the real world answer?

The Prius is generally a very reliable car. If you buy a new one, it would likely serve you well in the way you intend to use it. Still, how many miles a year do will you drive this Prius? How much gas will you save over a conventional car? Is the hybrid gas savings significant enough to buy a Prius over a conventional gas car? There are a lot of nicer, roomier, fuel efficient cars to consider; Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, are larger. Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic are about the same size as the Prius. If you aren’t into experimenting on your money take a look at other nice cars that will costs less to buy.

If you are a high mileage driver that is commuting daily, and doing mostly in town stop and go driving the Prius might be perfect. If most of your miles are highway driving at 50+ mph the advantages of the Prius are much less than a conventional car. Many hybrid buyers learn that the EPA mileage and their actual mpg are not at all the same. How you drive a hybrid and where you drive it make a big difference in how big an advantage it is over a regular car. In hilly San Francisco the hybrid is outstanding for city driving. In flat Florida with the AC running a lot it might not be an advantage at all.

You can say the same about any battery. The temperature it’s stored at is much lower than the operating temperature of the car if it were used daily as a taxi in a big city. 3 months is a recommended left alone storage time by Prius users with NO degradation. It should be started and run for a half hour if left longer, or put on a trickle charge as ANY battery left for an extended time should if you want it to start your car (as I’ve suggested). These are minor steps that are common to any rechargeable battery maintenance.

NiMH batteries are with your stated faults that surface when your power drill is left in the shed for months on end. The alkalines and lead batteries would suffer a worse fate. So they compare it only to the toxic and more expensive Nickel-cadmium used in power tools.

Still Toyota has replaced NONE due to wear and tear (and storage qualifies) and all that have not been wrecked or physically damaged in the Prius or RAV4 EV after greater times, are still doing well. Toyota and Prius owners have the final word on this matter, when I read them differently, I’ll change my lone opinion. As of now, the Prius has been out long enough (10 years) to reveal storage problems…there are none that cannot be easily dealt with I know of.

Prius owner forum advice [b]Extended Storage

Disconnect the small 12-volt battery.

It is helpful to disconnect the small, auxiliary 12-volt battery on the driver side in the trunk. With it disconnected, there will no longer be a drain from the alarm system. (Make note of the radio buttons you have programmed. You’ll need to manually restore them after reconnecting the battery.)

Draining the 273.6-volt battery-pack while in long-term storage is never a concern. When you shut off the Prius, an electric relay is deactivated. So it isn?t even connected to the rest of the system until you turn the key again

The NIMH battery will self discharge, about 1-2% per month. In one year that’s 24% max. and probably closer to 12%. Not a problem!

IMO…Prius battery storage problem is just another urban myth !

Now we know the batteries won’t fully depleat in 5 months. That’s good news. That takes any worry about the battery pack out of the equation.

The ideas that rechargeable batteries last longest when they stay charged, and that they age faster if they are allowed to become fully depleted aren’t really urban myths. They just don’t apply to this discussion anymore.

In order to achieve a long service life, the Prius Battery is NEVER subjected to a deep discharge…By limiting the discharge to, say, 30% of capacity, Toyota can make the “life of the car” claim…

Dear OP - whether you get a Prius or something else, make sure you use a fuel stabilizer every time you park your car for those 5 months. The Florida heat will do a good job of ‘cooking’ your gasoline while you’re gone.