Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Just The Facts - Page 4

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Posted by Michael Pardee on March 27, 2005, 2:06 pm

Nobody else has reported this, and it would be mighty big news since Prius
is really big news. Any reporter who could verify a problem with failures of
Prius main batteries would have the scoop of his lifetime. In the Yahoo
Prius group - a subscriber forum - there is at least one Prius tech and one
Toyota tech; neither has reported a single main battery failure. The same
group has more than 11000 members at present, and with more than 86000 posts
I've never seen a post about a main battery failure. Googling "acura
transmission fail" produces 6600 hits, and they all seem to be about why the
transmissions are failing - this matches the posts in the alt.autos.acura
news group. Googling "prius battery fail" produces 5300 hits, and all of
them I see are speculation about the battery life - this matches the posts
in this group and in the Yahoo group. If you have some more reliable
reference than your brother-in-law, whom you acknowledge is a GM mechanic
regardless of his schooling so will see few Toyotas and far fewer Prius, I'm
open to input. But it is very safe to say it just isn't happening on a
significant scale. By any measure the life expectancy of the Prius main
battery is better than that of most engines and most transmissions, and the
warranty is at least as good as those parts.

The conclusions are inescapable. The battery failures you say your
brother-in-law is reporting simply aren't happening at anything like the
rate he reports, and he is in no better position to know than we are. There
isn't a lot of room for misunderstanding; there are two batteries and the 12
volt aux battery fails as often as conventional batteries in conventional
cars, but the price tag you mention is ten times the price of the aux
battery so we can rule out confusion over that. If the information is
clearly wrong and there is little room for honest mistake, the conclusion is
inescapable. Knowing somebody or not knowing them does not affect the logic
of the situation. Nobody is necessarily a liar *and* a thief; only one or
the other (or he is just not competent). Just the facts.


Posted by Bill on March 27, 2005, 4:24 pm

Wow, an 8 hour commute to work, work 8 hours, sleep 8 hours... I'd move.

Posted by Mike Rosenberg on March 27, 2005, 5:55 pm

We're not talking about a general something, we're talking specifically
about Prius traction battery failures, and if those were occurring more
than extremely rarely, we most certainly _would_ be hearing about them.
Let's see, we have this newsgroup, a number of web forums (PriusChat,
PriusOnine and others), and a bunch of Yahoo mailing lists, and in none
of these have people posted about battery failures.  If they're
happening, they're only happening to people who don't read any of these
sources and don't know anyone who do.  Oh, and how about all of the
reports on the Prius on television and in print?  None of these have
picked up on the problem you claim exists.  Odd, isn't it?

Mike Rosenberg
<http://www.macconsult.com>  Macintosh consulting services for NE Florida
<http://bogart-tribute.net>  Tribute to Humphrey Bogart

Posted by Fred on March 27, 2005, 7:13 pm
 People are questioning your "facts" because there are so many

First off, you're referencing a GM dealership, which is a pretty strange
place to take your Prius for warranty work.  Or you're talking about a
hybrid other than Prius, which doesn't make sense in a Prius-specific
newsgroup.  Even if it's the only place in town, nobody would expect a GM
tech to have detailed expertise (training and multiple-vehicle experience)
with a new Toyota product.

Your original post only identified the vehicle's age - well within the
Hybrid System warranty window.  Only later did you mention that they may be
over 100,000 miles in such a short timeframe.  Even that begs the question -
if someone is buying a new-technology vehicle, knowing they'll drive it
excessively, then why didn't they purchase a relatively inexpensive Extended

Based on the assumption that these vehicles have been driven over 100,000
miles (thus ending the warranty) - then they've saved their owners at least
$,000 in gasoline costs.  Not insignificant when you're highlighting a
$,000 battery replacement.

In response to people questioning your "facts", the response is name-calling
and "because I said so".  This newsgroup is a new and very small forum for
discussing the Prius.  There are many places where lively discussions take
place daily - and nobody holds back when there's a serious or even perceived
problem to be discussed.  Yet early battery failure has never been
mentioned.  You may want to check out http://www.yahoogroups.com  and
subscribe to the Prius-2G group.

Posted by richard schumacher on March 28, 2005, 2:16 am
 Toyota says that *nobody* has replaced a traction battery for wear and
tear.  This does not include damage in accidents, of course.  Is your
BIL perhaps talking about the 12V aux battery?

To quote Toyota's press release:
http://pressroom.toyota.com/photo_library/display_release.html?id  04062

How long does the Prius battery last and what is the replacement cost?

The Prius battery (and the battery-power management system) has been
designed to maximize battery life. In part this is done by keeping the
battery at an optimum charge level - never fully draining it and never
fully recharging it. As a result, the Prius battery leads a pretty easy
life. We have lab data showing the equivalent of 180,000 miles with no
deterioration and expect it to last the life of the vehicle.
We also expect battery technology to continue to improve: the
second-generation model battery is 15% smaller, 25% lighter, and has
35% more specific power than the first. This is true of price as well.
Between the 2003 and 2004 models, service battery costs came down 36%
and we expect them to continue to drop so that by the time replacements
may be needed it won't be a much of an issue. Since the car went on
sale in 2000, Toyota has not replaced a single battery for
wear and tear.

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