Replacing battery packsPosted on March 3rd, 2008 24 comments
Green Energy News talks about replacing battery packs and falls into the same trap so many organizations do when talking about the Prius battery pack. First, I think the dollar figure they quote is high, exceedingly so ($4K). That price will only continue to come down as more Prii are out there and, as the article rightly points out, there are companies working on alternate solutions. All of which is to say, this is very solvable problem.Batteries, Commentary, Cost of ownership, Longevity, New technology, News 2010, 3g, battery, prius, priuschat
Since 2001 I have participated in too many Prius internet groups. Therefore I claim to speak with some authority on the subject of HV battery life. If anyone on Earth has yet abandoned an otherwise functional Prius because of facing a $4000 battery replacement, that news has not reached me.
A number have been replaced under warranty by Toyota, but they have not said how many. Reports on the internet lead me to guess within the range of 1/1000 to 1/100. The new model Prius had a major battery redesign, and while it has not been flawless, its failure rate appears to be lower.
Might they start failing in droves tomorrow or next year? Yes, but it would come as a great surprise to many who follow the subject quite closely.
It is certainly true that the retail cost of the battery has not decreased since 2001 as many predicted at the time. A major factor in this is the 4-fold increase in the price of nickel metal since then. Sorry about that; but the demand for stainless steel has grown rapidly and this is a commodity in tight supply. We’ll see how lithium battery prices develop, in the next few years I suppose.
Toyota was reported in the media to be offering rebuilt batteries at discount (I linked that article here about last September?), but nothing heard from them about it since. Just a guess, but it may be that they have not had many takers.
Several people known to me have replaced their HV batteries with units recovered from crashed salvage Prius. As I have said too many times already, Prius crash out of the fleet faster than they fail. Thus used HV batteries are always available to those who search. Price $400-$1200, up to you to negotiate a warranty etc. But the excess availability actually means that many of them have gone into homebrew electric vehicles. This has become the Prius battery ‘daughter industry’, not pack rebuilding.
I believe that battery cell renovation was pioneered by Andy Roberts in Virgina, but he unfortunately died and we lost many of his skills. More recently Bob Wilson in Alabama has stepped up, and I have every reason to expect that he will be a leader in the ‘cottage industry’ of Prius battery renovation.
That is, if we ever need it.
I wanna know if you can help me to find a webpage where i can find som info about HV batteries.
I don’t have a car, but i need it for some kind of university project… i just wanna know how much it costs and where i can buy it.
Sorry for my english Im from colombia.
My mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Very Thanks to those who want to help me.
Whenever I start up my 2002 Prius in the morning I get a error on the screen that indicates a problem with the hybrid system. The car seems to drive fine however. I took it to my toyota dealer and they indicated they thought I needed a new computer for $1100. has anyone had this experience. Do I really need a new computer?
I sold my first GEN I Prius after 131,000 for a GEN II Prius and now have 170,000 miles with no maintenance other than standard oil and filter changes. I am replacing the shocks soon and have not had any brake wear to speak of so far.
Latest notes from Consumer’s Guide states some drivers at the 200,000 mile + with no changes.
We have a 2002 Prius (purchased new in late 2001) with 130 K on it. Our Prius passion is cooling quickly. We have had to replace (the) two computers, the last one along with the fuel tank which apparently is necessary. This last was close to 100K mileage and luckily was also covered by the extended warranty we had (it turns out, wisely) purchased. As I recall, the cost of these replacements would have run us $2.5 -3K. Anyway, the car just failed again and the dealer says we need to replace the HV battery pack due to a low voltage reading to the tune of $3,666! (We are out of warranty now as a further extended warranty offered no coverage of what was likely to go bad, such as the battery pack.) I told them to plead our case to Toyota but am not optimistic about even a significant discount. I read above that I should check out getting a replacement from crashed vehicles. I will, but it seems that unless said vehicles are low mileage (< 60K), that may not be a good option, even at $1.5K.
Any helpful advice (beyond checking auto dismantlers) or info would be appreciated!
This is a follow up to my comment yesterday. Toyota has agreed to pay for the HV battery pack (and the cost of a rental Camry Hyprid — from the dealer @ only $26/day) so we will only be out the $666 or so in labor. This is a satisfactory outcome for us. A dismantler on EBay wanted $1,600 plus shipping for a used battery pack (<40K mileage). I saw on another owners website that a customer got a $1,500 discount from Toyota on his replacement battery pack, half what we were offered. Perhaps our Prius’ repair record (2 computers replaced) weighed in our favor.
From reading the above posts, It sounds like battery pack replacement is the main reason to buy the Toyota extended warranty.
Anyone else have major items covered? We have a 2005 approaching 36,000 miles.
It is battery pack time @ 160,000 miles for my 2001, and $3,600 is the price range I have been quoted. Toyoto and my local dealership have been good to me having replaced at their expense a transmission @ 110,000 miles at a value of nearly $7,000.
My surprise at the battery failure is that I have always read that the battery would fail in one or two cell increments; not the entire battery at once. Wrong. All at once with no warning.
The economics boil down to spending $3,600 in order to sell the car or paying to have it towed to the junk yard. It presently has no value.
All in all I have enjoyed being part of the hybrid research team, but the Prius replacement will be a Toyota conventional gas. When gas prices top $10 I might rethink my position.
Have you had a peak at the battery connections? I have read about corrosion causing a failure such as you describe. I ask because locally there is a 2001 for sale cheap but needing a battery. I haven’t seen it yet but I would expect NiMh batteries to just require more constant charging with noticable faster discharge rate. This should be testable out of the car. Also some cells will go before others – but all will go eventually. Lastly, I went to the Makefaire in SanMateo and they had Prius’s converted to lead acid and solar charging.
Are rebuilt prius battery packs available? IF so, pls. provide location, etc. Thanks.
WHERE CAN I FIND A USED PRIUS BATTERY FOR A 2001 PRIUS OTHER THAN A DELER OR EBAY NEED ON REAL BAD
yeah my 01 pack died at 130k and i replaced a few cells from Bob Wilson and i got another 6k out of it — it’s hot in FL and heat is a killer of batteries –
I am interested in putting in the gen2 modules (which would take 2 packs to make one gen 1 pack) because they have metal exterior for much improved cooling and better chemistry – but i understand they are 10mm longer and have an extra ‘pole’ and the wiring harness needs modification – wish there was a writeup by someone who has done this successfully, Carolyn of Luscious Garage writes in her blog that she has done it but I know of no other …
I am in the process of rebuilding my 2002 Prius HV battery and have learned a few things. Toyota performed a recall several years ago where they applied glue to the HV battery posts to mitigate leakage at the post seals. Although this repair may have helped, it does not stop the electrolyte leakage and consequent corrosion of the battery terminal connections. It takes only a tiny amount of electrolyte to severely corrode and eventually destroy connections. The glue that Toyota applied made a big mess of the battery buss terminals and is a poor solution to a manufacturing defect. The 02 battery is 38 cells, all in series connection, so if only one connection in the 76 battery posts fails, the battery has failed. I’ve scrounged late model cells from scrapped (damaged) Prius’s and have noticed that the new batteries have better connection post sealing (thicker case). The newer batteries do not fit in the old battery case without case cover modification (widening).
Regarding the previous post, this is an update:
Late model (06-08) Prius battery cells worked OK in my 2002 Prius. The new cells fit into the old battery tray. The only modification required was to widen the top of the metal battery cover enough to accomodate the slightly wider cells. If anyone does a battery rebuild, watch out for corroded battery monitor terminals. They are very thin and a little corrosion can cause the terminal lug to break in half.
We have an Prius that was wrecked.Now the HV pack is below 20% charge is there any possible way to charge the battery pack without taking it to a dealer? I have thought about charging each cell individualy. Does anyone know if this will work?
We have been rebuilding these battery packs for quite some time now. We have developed our own testing and repair procedures and have designed and built our own equipment for testing, charging and repairing these cells. We also have developed a new improved bus bar.
We offer a full 1 year, unlimited mileage warranty on all remanufactured packs.
1007 Hawkins Ave.
Sanford, NC 27330
my 2004 prius battery exhibited a white powery staining at the t0p and front othe battery cover and a white-green residue at the back -tot of the cover.the dealer suspecting corrosion charged me 388 cdn to remove and clean up the cover .they said the cells are ok. the interior thay said showed no signs of corrosion.toyota would not provide warranty coverage. the powdery chalk -like residue tates like salt.the dealer said the venting system was ok.
sure would appreciate it if you would speculate on the cause .i can be reached days at 519-6721772 or by email at email@example.com
The powdery residue and green stain is from the battery electrolyte (Potassium Hydroxide), which is the same as lye and very caustic. The green color is from the copper bus bars. These batteries have a direct venting system for normal gassing of the cells. If you have corrosion on the case, the cells are leaking around the terminals and corroding the bus bars. If you are still within the battery warranty period, I would push to have the battery replaced and try to get reimbursed for the money you have already paid, by contacting Toyota directly.
i live in dublin and have a 1998 prius. i believe the battery is dead, or dying, though all was well today. the usual indicators are resent – turtle, triangle of death, and a humming noise from the battery at idle…
car has only 100,000kms, but was not driven for many months when we went to france
in any event, it is on the way out..
can i find a battery in the us, can they be shipped, who could replace it ( does it have to be toyota – who have been very flippant as ity is a ”japanese import”…aren’t they all?)
So a few months back I was asking about how to fix my prius battery death for anything less then $5,000 which is what toyota said it was going to cost me to replace my dead battery… Crappy I know! So I started looking for a solution to this problem… I found the guide that walks you through rebuilding it yourself.. I waited a few days then gradually decided to give it a try, after all they said this guide could help me fix it for around $400! That would be sooooo much better then spending $5,000 its not even funny!
I downloaded the guide for $39.99 i think it was and gave it a try… I actually only spent about $350 and the guide was very very helpful, and had plenty of pictures and stuff like that to help me get through it correctly! It worked wonderfully and now I am all set to go with my $5,000 still in my pocket!
Anyway… thought I would let you know I figured it out!
Here is the site if you want…
My 2001 Prius is having battery issues.
It stops drawing from the battery (as shown
on the front panel indicator). The battery
needs new cells. I am going to try Toyota
one more time to put in a request to the
factory. Otherwise how do i know which
cell is bad and need to be replaced and
which cell is good. I can use electrical
tools such as voltmeters ampmeters etc.
The mileage is over 100K.
Please let me know how to screen good from the
bad cells and whether it is worth the effort
The 1998 Prius was only sold in Japan, but a few of them have found their way to other countries by being imported as used vehicles. That is why you’re not getting much help from a Toyota dealer. Also, the main traction battery was completely re-designed in the 2001 model year, when Japan started selling the Prius to the rest of the world, so you won’t find any replacement batteries for your car in the US. You’ll have to look for salvaged parts from a Prius in Japan that was manufactured between 1997 and 2000.
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