Prius battery?

We are looking to buy a used prius but I have been hearing about battery replacement costs etc. Has anyone actually had to replace their battery? If so, how many miles did it have on it and how much was it?

For what it is worth, nobody really knows how long a Prius battery will last. The cost is rumoured to be $2800, but I cannot confirm that. Toyota is working very hard to get the cost down, so it will likely be less in the future.

Having said that, a Vancouver, Canada taxi owner put 300,000 miles on a Prius without major repairs and no battery problems. He sold the car back to Toyota who wanted it for research and testing. He is now putting the first 100,000 on his second Prius.

If you budget one battery replacement every 10 years of driving at $2800, then you can balance the fuel savings over that period against the battery cost. You would subtract the age of the car you buy from 10 to get the remaining battery life.

For most drivers, the extra purchasing cost of a Prius is hard to justify. A lot of city driving is needed to make it pay.

If I was looking at a prius for the sole purpose of saving money at the pump, I would look to a few less MPG and $$ and look a civic or similar car. The environmental impact is WELL worth the extra cost.

And FYI-the hwy miles are close to as good as the city. I know people who have AVERAGED 55 to 60 MPG driving a little of each.

You will definitely save money at the gas pump. I was referring to the cost homework most people do when purchasing a new car. Luckily Prius also has avery good reliability record so far on all the other components.

In North America, the future fuel mileage standards will bring more hybrids and more small diesels on the market. In Europe there are now many diesel powered cars that achieve the 55-60 mpg people get with a Prius.

Good Luck

Thank about it. The reason you are hearing a lot of talk, but not facts is because the batteries are lasting a long time, so long that few people know what they may cost or how long they may last. To me that lack of information is a very good sign.

Now I have to add that I support hybrid research and test marketing, but I really don’t think the technology is really ready for prime time. Not that it does not do what it says, but that there is no real benefit from what it does do. Slight mileage advantage (moderate for some drivers to minimal for others). There is just not enough of an advantage yet. Maybe in time.

Here’s one article:

Google ‘“prius battery” cost’ and see for yourself.

Battery warranty is 8 yrs/100,000 miles, except in CA where it’s 10 yrs/150,000 miles.

Go to and you can see for yourself…

A new battery for an 04-06 Prius has an MSRP of $2985.13. Their actual selling price is $2388.10.

Now, I have not heard of anyone having to replace their battery outside of accidents. A few have seen corrosion on some battery connections, but cleaning up those connections solves the problem.

As for battery life, Idaho National Labs has tested vehicles out to 180,000+ miles and seen negligible drops in mileage.

Personally, I wouldn’t worry, especially with the warranty there…

If you had some car that got 30 mpg, and you drove it the national average of (about) 12,000 miles per year, and gasoline costs $3 per gallon, that would be $400 per year for gasoline. For 8 years, that would be $3200 for gasoline. At the end of 8 years, you would have paid $2,000 or $3, 000 for regular scheduled maintenance, as well.
So, the cost of energy for the two cars would be about equal, it looks like. Only after enough people have driven the Prius long enough can the figures be more exact.

Added next day: Error. The correct figure is $1200 per year for gasoline equaling $9,600 for 8 years. Dadblame calculator!

Hellokit; one more multiplication. Gas works out to 12,000/30X3=$1200 per year. For 8 years that would be $9600. For a 60 mpg car, it would be $4800. So you would be able to replace the battery every 8 years if it cost no more than $4800 installed. Regular mainteance on the Prius is expected to be about average in cost.

Don’t forget the time value of money, though… :slight_smile:

Though it is somewhat smaller, a Matrix is about as close in size/utility to a Prius as Toyota offers. Compare a Matrix XR to a Prius… the Prius costs ~$4000 more, but gets better mileage (46 combined v. 27 combined). At 12,000 miles per year and $3 per gallon, that gets $783 v. $1333. But that $4000 saved in a bank can earn interest… so take that money plus interest and subtract out the extra gas costs to find the difference in overall costs…

Year 0 (at purchase) advantage: Matrix, $4000
Year 1 advantage: Matrix, $3610
Year 2 advantage: Matrix, $3204
Year 3 advantage: Matrix, $2782
Year 4 advantage: Matrix, $2343
Year 5 advantage: Matrix, $1887
Year 6 advantage: Matrix, $1412
Year 7 advantage: Matrix, $918
Year 8 advantage: Matrix, $405
Year 9 advantage: Prius, $129
Year 10 advantage: Prius, $684
Year 11 advantage: Prius, $1261
Year 12 advantage: Prius, $1861
Year 13 advantage: Prius, $2485
Year 14 advantage: Prius, $3134
Year 15 advantage: Prius, $3809

So assuming no change in gas prices and equal maintenance costs, it takes 9 years to break even on the Prius. Now, you will get some earlier break-even point if the resale value is higher and you sell. But if you plan to keep long-term, when resale value is negligible for either case, it will take a long while to pay itself out.

Personally, as much as I like the Prius, I view the Matrix or the Corolla (cheaper still, and with better mileage) as aa better financial option for the long haul. But of course, your results will vary alot based on how much you drive, where those miles occur (city traffic or interstate), etc…

For the environmental side, another alternative is a Focus, which is PZEV certified in CARB and NE states. Uses more gas, but has the pollution level of a Prius… (9.5/10 on EPA tests)

Thanks for the detailed treatment. What interest rate did you use? When I perform an industrial life cycle cost (LCC) analysis we use discounted cash flow (DCF), net present value (NPV) , and equivalent annual cost (EAC). And we factor in the tax treatment.

For me, comparing a Corolla with a Prius, it would take 22 years to pay back, since I spend more time in rental cars than in my own.

However OP wanted some assurance that the Prius battery was long lived and the approximate cost. His decision is already made.

I used 4%… and didn’t account for tax treatment (which obviously depends on what bracket you’re in)… 4% is still pretty easy to beat, but it is getting harder with all the fed rate cuts.

One thing to note, of course, is that if you’re taking out a loan, you’re going to be paying significantly more than 4%, so that pushes the payback date back further. I did all this around the concept of paying cash, not taking out a loan.

That’s why its hard to answer if hybrids will pay themselves off. It all depends on what tax bracket you’re in, how much you drive your car, where you drive it, how you’re going to pay for it, what brand it is (this affects any tax credit you might get), etc…

But just like you, I’ve found that a Corolla is a far better buy for me personally. They’re cheaper yet than a Matrix, which means about 15 years for me.

But even better yet is just keeping the Camry and Taurus that I have… they both use a lot more gas than a Prius… but they hardly cost anything… :slight_smile:

Agree; I finally put an old friend, a 1988 Caprice V8, out to pasture, when the body started rusting. It took quite a few dollars to fill the tank, but the car was reliable, cheap to insure, cost just over 7 cent/mile in maintenance & repairs, and WAS PAID FOR long ago.

When considering buying a Prius it was the opportunity cost, i.e. what return on that extra $8000 ( in my case 8% min pre-tax) I put into the equation. With the amount I drive it was 22 years for a Prius payback, not allowing for having to buy an extra $3000 battery.

Another potential issue with a Prius is short tire life. Google Prius tires for more…

Right! Oranges and tangerines. It would be 400 gallons of gasoline per year times $3 per gallon equaling $1200 per year. Then, time 8 years to equal $9,600 for gasoline for the eight years. (When one reckons on a monthly basis, as one usually does, it’s a bit of a surprise when the total for a year is calculated). The scheduled maintenance costs may have been low, also.

Did my erroneous figures throw the others’ figuring off? Oops!

Joseph; I think Toyota was doing some long term thinkng. They know the mainstream applications will have to wait for $5/gallon gas. But experience is needed to get the bugs out. Also, most people I know who buy them are penthouse environmentalist who do not need to save money. If there was a political Green Party, like in Germany, they would join it.

The US is a huge market, so Toyota and Honda started in 1993 or so with the PNGV program and have been refining their technology ever since. Toyota deserves cridit for making the Prius a very reliable car in all areas.

However,like you I am a responsible citizen who does responsible calculations whether something like a hybrid makes sense. and so far I can’t see it for me.