Hybrid battery packs should last at least eight years/100,000 miles because that’s how long the manufacturers’ warranties cover them. The warranties in California and seven other states last 10 years/150,000 miles.
Toyota and Honda, which have sold the most hybrids in the U.S., say their batteries tend to last the life of the car and seldom need replacing. Most replacements are from damage caused in accidents, they say.
Some hybrid owners disagree, saying they were told it would cost $3,000 to $4,000, including labor, to replace dead or dying battery packs in Toyota Priuses, Honda Civic Hybrids and Honda Insights (the original two-seat version, not the current model).
Replacement cost will vary by vehicle, with larger, heavier vehicles tending to be more expensive because they require more battery power. For example, Toyota says a new battery pack for the Camry Hybrid costs $3,541. For the Highlander Hybrid, it costs $4,848.
Prices have come down on hybrid batteries over the past 10 years. In 2008, Toyota lowered the price of the first-generation Prius battery pack to $2,299 and Gen II (2004-2008) to $2,588. Previously, both cost $2,985 (not including labor), and that was the third price cut since the Prius was introduced in 2000.
These prices are for nickel-metal hydride batteries, not the new-age lithium-ion type that the Chevrolet Volt and other hybrid and electric vehicles will use in the future. Lithium-ion batteries will be considerably more expensive than NiMH initially.
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