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Lifetime of a Toyota Prius - Page 3

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Posted by mrv@kluge.net on February 5, 2007, 9:50 pm

A UK 2001 report from the Commission for Integrated Transport puts the
Brittish car's life expectancy average at 13.95 years, and a scrappage
chart of cars in the UK shows that most cars there are put to scrap in
years 13-17.  Some die in year 1, some go past 22, but...

A 2006 US DOT updated report finds that the typical passenger car will
travel a lifetime mileage of 152,137 miles (25 years), while light
trucks will travel 179,954 miles (36 years).  This is given as when
the surviving number of those vehicles reached below the 2% mark.
Previous governmental reports used 126,665 miles for passenger cars
(20 years) and 153,698 miles for light trucks (25 years).  These
numbers are used to estimate the impact of proposed fuel economy
standards or future fuel consumption/operating costs.  If you look at
the charts on page 9 (12 of the PDF) and 12 (15 of the PDF), you'll
see that the 50% point (where half of the vehicles are no longer
surviving) is around 13-14 years.

Posted by on January 19, 2007, 5:41 pm

How old is your information may I ask?

Posted by Phil on January 20, 2007, 5:30 am

The article was dated october 2003.

See the following link to the article:


The quote about life of car can be followed from a link in the article
or directly with the following link:


mark_digital wrote:

Posted by Michael Pardee on January 20, 2007, 3:31 pm

The article was dated october 2003.

See the following link to the article:

http://www.carpoint.com.au/print.aspx?TabIDP0945&R=ce5452&ModID 01879

The article is quite even-handed; it does point out that "there have been
questions raised about the life span of its battery pack, the replacement
cost and relative recyclability." That covers it well. Googling "Prius
battery fail" returns about 120K hits, mostly speculating on how common and
frequent the main battery failures will be. Googling "Honda transmission
fail" [without quotes] returns about 600K hits, most asking why their
transmission failed, how to get Honda to pay for it (Honda provides extended
coverage for a group of their transmissions that had a high failure rate),
etc. Googling "Taurus transmission fail" returns about 170K hits... same
thing, except Ford didn't support the customers. Bottom line: ten years
after the Prius was introduced in Japan people are still speculating how
long the batteries will last because they aren't failing in enough numbers
to provide data.

The quote about life of car can be followed from a link in the article
or directly with the following link:



That's more familiar. Toyota has consistently maintained the battery is
designed to last the life of the car. Normally, Toyota reps have declined to
put a figure on the design life of the car, just as all mfrs except perhaps
Rolls Royce do. You can see the danger: BelchFire says their car is designed
to last 10 years, then MotorSkate says theirs is designed to last 12
years... leading to a Liar's Poker escalation in which the competitors
finally turn on SteelHorse and say "Oh yeah? Prove your cars actually last
two hundred years!"  More recently we have heard a Toyota rep say the car is
designed to last 12 to 15 years. I suspect he was also speaking out of

The same article is the basis of a lot of FUD concerning the "greenness" of
the NiMH batteries Toyota uses. This particular article even suggests
special handling if a lot of the NiMH batteries are collected in one place,
but doesn't mention that Toyota pays $00 for the return of unserviceable
hybrid batteries. Presumably Toyota contracted in advance for the recycler
(it would be smart business practice in Japan) and rolled the contract
amount into the purchase price of their hybrids. In any event, nickle is too
valuable to just throw away.

This is also an Australian site, which explains why the battery - actually
hybrid system - warranty is given as 5 years. Here in the US the base hybrid
system warranty period has been 8 years / 100K miles since the beginning,
while in the states that adhere to California's emission rules the warranty
is 10 years / 150K miles. It goes without saying the failure rate in that
worst case (10 years / 150K miles) is expected to be low, or Toyota would be
smart not to offer the vehicle in those states. So far that matches the real
world experience of the early adopters.


Posted by on January 21, 2007, 10:24 am


Thanks for the links. I read both articles.
I can relate to your pre-purchase concern about the batteries. In 2002 our
local Toyota dealer finally had a Prius we could actually touch instead of
just reading about. We spoke with their service department and found out if
the battery pack failed after the warrantee a replacement would cost $800
(US). It didn't scare me away because I just plunked down almost that amount
on a new computer and accessories. And what for? A marginally faster
Anyway, 2003 rolls around and the battery is now $400, the color we wanted
was immediately at hand, and factory cruise control was added.
Here we are 4 years later and the car has just a little bit over 87,000
miles, 50,000 miles on the second set of tires, and no major or minor
electrical or mechanical problems. Last I heard, $000 for a battery.
We have plans to buy another Prius but we don't know when. I can't think of
any reason not to unless there isn't a Toyota service department that's
trustworthy. If gasoline was free we still would want a Prius. If critics
managed to somehow drive the retail cost down, that's good too. I do fear
Toyota will sacrifice fuel efficiency to level the playing field amongst
their line-up of hybrids.


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