By on June 3, 2008

1118550814_54343.jpgToyota and Honda want to drive down then total cost of ownership of their hybrids. Autobloggreen reports that the Japanese automakers are dropping the price of replacement batteries for their hybrids, from stroke-inducing to somewhat painful. Replacement batteries for the Honda Insight are now $1,968, down from $3,400. Toyota lowered the cost of the Prius' power pack from $5.5k to a mere $3k. (Or you could buy them for $550 on eBay.) Still, though, the hybrid manufacturers are keen to stress the fact that battery replacement isn't a common procedure. Honda brags that they've replaced fewer than 200 battery packs out of warranty, out of 100k hybrids on the road. Toyota says their post-warranty replacement rate is 0.003 percent. What I want to see, though, is what their replacement rate is during the warranty period. I'm sure it won't approach GM's rate after their problems they had with Cobasys batteries. But you know they're all doing it. What they're not saying is how often.

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16 Comments on “Honda, Toyota Drop Replacement Battery Prices...”


  • avatar
    KixStart

    “What I want to see, though, is what their replacement rate is during the warranty period. I’m sure it won’t approach GM’s rate after their problems they had with Cobasys batteries. But you know they’re all doing it. What they’re not saying is how often.”

    Unless they have some interesting and not obvious infancy failure problems (you’d expect a lot of chatter about that), the in-warranty rate is probably very, very low.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    A battery pack at 2 grand versus 500 gallons of gasoline at 4 bucks per gal. I figure that you get an extra 10 to 15 miles per gallon in real world driving with a Hybrid above a bone stock Civic or a Corolla.

    To break even on the battery pack, you’d have to drive an extra 30,000 to 50,000 miles. At 3 grand for a battery pack, figure 50,000 miles plus to recoup the replacement costs.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Holy smacks. The motorcycle I’m looking at on special is just below $4k and it gets > 50mpg :o

    Too bad I can’t ride it year round or put kids on it. Groceries work though!

    I would be looking at hybrid if they brought back an honda insight style car for $12 and the battery replacement cost was $1k after 10 years.

  • avatar

    absolutely, motorcycles are the way to go for commuting.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    After ten years, something in your car is going to cost a lot of money. I just had my Saab’s automatic transmission fixed and, despite four-speed automatics being technological dinosaurs next to a Prius’ drivetrain, it cost about the same.

    At least you get money back for recycling a battery pack. All I got a was measly core charge refund on my AT.

    People really overhype this aspect of hybrid ownership: “zOMG! Teh baterriez run 0ut and c0st teh m0nie$!!11oneone”. Everything in a car costs money: brakes, tires, hoses, pumps, hydraulics, emissions, electronics, suspension and body panels all go eventually and aren’t exactly free to repair. If you’re unlucky, there’s the engine and transmission, which will easily approach or exceed the price of a battery and are much, much more problematic to replace.

    Personally, I’ll take a hybrid (well, a Toyota, Honda or Ford one) and it’s eventual battery replacement in ~10 years over a Volkswagen diesel and it’s everything replacement in four or five.

  • avatar
    veefiddy

    This is anecdotal, but my parents are on their second Prius. They put 80K miles on the first (1st gen) in 7 years and had no problems of any kind. None. They got a pretty good trade in on their second Pruis, close to half what they paid for it. Again, no problems in a year and now the Toyota dealer is sending them letters offering them a brand new car (not sure which models, but NOT a Prius) for their used Prius. Brother in law has the same experience, 0 problems. Whatever people think of the car, the paradigm, the owners, the drive, the thing is very well made. Considering my Golf needed 1000 bucks worth of vacuum hoses at year 6, the battery packs seem reasonable. And you probably won’t need ’em anyway.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Yes, remember guys that we’re hearing about a handful of batteries being replaced after warranty out of thousands that have passed the mileage figure (including those infamous cabs). The most recent guidance from Toyota was that the battery was likely to last the lifetime of the car.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I’d like to know: What happens to all those batteries after they die, or when the vehicle dies? Do the manufactures take them back, or do they leave it for the junk yards to deal with? This would make for an interesting story…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Airhen,

    They take them back. Even better is that there’s a bounty paid on them. It’s a lot cheaper to recycle/recondition a battery than it is to mine for metal.

    This is how cellphone and small-appliance batteries are handled now. Heck, most municipalities where I live have depots for used commercial (AA/C/D/9v) cells as well.

  • avatar

    I don’t think it’s too big a stretch to apply Moore’s law to batteries so this is just the first step in the direction of batteries getting cheaper with time… just at the same time I think we all know that gas prices are never going to drop.
    Hybrid’s are on the up – like it or not.

  • avatar
    mgrabo

    driving course, it actually is a huge stretch to apply Moore’s Law to battery technology. Moore’s Law is specific to the miniturization capabilities of semi-conductors.

    Look at some ten year old laptop specs – you’ll see that processor clock speeds doubled every year or so. If that were the case for battery capacity, then you’d see the average laptop that ran on batteries for 2.5hrs ten years ago would now run for for 1,200+ hours on a charge. There’s enough demand for laptop, cellphone, etc. batteries that the technology has been attracting significant R&D resources for 10+ years. It’s just not comparable…

  • avatar
    Kevin

    driving course: I don’t think it’s too big a stretch to apply Moore’s law to batteries

    It is WAY too big a stretch to apply anything like Moore’s law to batteries. Did you use notebook computers 15 years ago? Since then, their microprocessors have got 2000+ times more powerful and their memory chips and hard drives have gotten 2000+ times more capacious. The batteries? Only slightly better — only enough better to run hotter chips for the same 3 hours as before, really.

    Hopefully this is sign of SOME improvement though, and not just Honda and Toyota eating costs for good relations.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Just keeps getting harder for the anti-hybrid clan doesn’t it?

    Love N’ Batteries,

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    Put a few popular EVs on the market and battery tech will march forward much quicker.

  • avatar
    Steve_K

    Everything in a car costs money: brakes, tires, hoses, pumps, hydraulics, emissions, electronics, suspension and body panels all go eventually and aren’t exactly free to repair.

    Go ahead and add the cost of battery replacement to all that, unless hybrids somehow do not need those parts. I see hybrids as having the potential maintenance issues of an electric car and a conventional gas car combined.

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    Steve_K:

    While I agree with you, one thing that I would love to see is a scientific comparison of non-hybrid ICE wear & tear vs. a hybrid ICE wear & tear. I’d like to know if the electric motor pulls enough load to significantly increase the lifetime of the gas engine. Maybe this will help dent the (possible) battery replacement?

    Also, what about the transmission? It will have just as much work as a non-hybrid, of course, but are CVTs known to have longer lives compared to auto slushboxes?

    As far as I’ve read, the electric motor should last the life of the vehicle, shouldn’t it?

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