Daily Archives: July 12, 2012

It always pays to haggle over price 4

After all the worst that can happen is you don't get a discount. 

One of the biggest concerns about hybrid and electric vehicles has been the cost of the inevitable battery replacement. Modern cars and built to last and the average age of the vehicles on the road today is closing in on 11 years. Every car I've had has remained in my fleet for a minimum of 8 years and my wife's last car was nearly 10 1/2 when it finally got replaced. 

However users of mobile phones and laptops know that most batteries don't last anywhere near that long and they aren't cheap to replace. Scale that up to car sized batteries and the numbers can quickly get scary. When the +TOYOTA Prius first debuted over a decade ago replacement nickel-metal hydride batteries were priced at $8,000 and lithium-ion packs for the +Tesla Motors Roadster can cost upwards of $30,000.

Thankfully for consumers, the EPA considers hybrid batteries to be part of the emission control system (since they impact the emissions of a vehicle by allowing it to run engine off) and thus requires them to be warrantied for 8 years or 100,000 miles. With this in mind companies like Toyota, +Honda, +Ford Motor Company, GM  and others carefully control how the battery is used to ensure that it lasts for most if not all of the life of the vehicle. 

The EPA warranty rules don't apply to pure battery electric vehicles like the +Nissan Leaf and all of Tesla's machines since they produce no emissions. Nissan opted to offer the 8 year warranty for the Leaf to remain competitive with the +Chevrolet Volt Tesla bumped the Model S battery warranty to 8 years from the 3 years on the roadster. 

So far most hybrid batteries have held up very well. Ford Escape Hybrids in New York taxi service quickly racked up over 175,000 miles with no battery problems. One owner of a 2001 Prius recently had to replace an out of warranty battery. The dealer originally quoted over $4,400 but dropped that to $2,900 after the owner got a $2,500 price for a refurbished battery.

While these prices aren't cheap, I'm not looking forward to the screams of agony when BEV owners have to start replacing their much larger batteries later this decade. 

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Replacing A 2001 Toyota Prius Battery Pack: What It Cost
It's one of the most frequent questions asked about hybrids: What happens if I have to replace the high-voltage battery pack? While Toyota warrants its Prius batteries for 8 years/100,000 miles (or 10…

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