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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4 thoughts on “It always pays to haggle over price

  • Matthias Popiolek

    Only that modern fuel cars are not built to last anymore. Look at the VW petrol engines failing or the Mazda 2.0l diesel engine, and so on.

    Toyota has delivered an incredible quality with the first Prius. German car makers even today claim that it is not really possible. Toyota has proven it is and rightly do have a competitive advantage in the area of electric cars and battery packs.

  • John A. Tamplin

    I think that overall, EVs will still be cheaper to maintain than ICE vehicles.  You don't have $200 dealer services every 5-10k miles and occasional much more expensive ones, you don't have automatic transmissions that fail more often, etc.

    The battery prices will also continue to come down.

  • Sam Abuelsamid

    +John A. Tamplin I don't know what you drive but I've never in 25 years had to pay $200 for regular maintenance visits.  My '05 Mustang gets Works package every 5,000 miles for $29 that includes oil/filter/tire rotation/multi point inspection. 

    Modern cars don't need tune-ups, lube or much else very often and many newer vehicles only need oil change every 10,000 miles. No matter what the propulsion system, lights burn out, tires, brakes and wipers wear and need replacement. Even filters and cooling don't cost much and don't have to be tended very often. The service needs of most mainstream cars today are actually pretty minimal.

  • John A. Tamplin

    My wife pays about $200 each visit for her Honda, and if she doesn't they won't honor the warranty.  Every 60k miles they do some bigger maintenance that costs about double, and since the warranty expired due to mileage she has been getting the odd 5k maintenance (which is mostly just oil changes) done someplace else for $30.  For my Toyotas I drove before the LEAF, it wasn't as bad, but was typically about $60 for the odd visits and $120 for the even ones, but once you get a lot of miles on the car you start replacing a lot of small things on the drivetrain — a timing belt here, a water pump there, etc.  I put over 225k on my MR2 turbo, so I know they last a long time, but there was always something that needed replacing (and the MR2 was so tightly packaged, that you had to pull the engine to replace the alternator).

    In an EV, there is no lubrication to be done, no oil to change, and far fewer moving parts overall.  Even the brakes should last much longer due to regenerative braking.  For my LEAF, the maintenance that happens every 5k miles is rotate the tires, refill wiper fluid, and plug up a computer to get battery diagostics.