Recondition Your Hybrid Battery to Help it Last Longer ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Recondition Your Hybrid Battery to Help it Last Longer

Monday, September 24, 2007

Recondition Your Hybrid Battery to Help it Last Longer

A big question mark for those buying hybrid cars is how long the battery pack is going to last. Since the nickel-metal hydride batteries are said to cost $3,000 or more to replace, that's not a minor worry for most people.

Toyota (and the other auto makers) are currently giving customers lifetime warranties (80 or 100K miles), so that if anything occurs to the battery pack, the company will replace it for free. That's good news for most people, and has certainly helped fuel the sales of hybrids. But Toyota is saying that they may not need to replace the battery pack.

If the battery does have an issue after the warranty has run out, Toyota says they have a new lower cost solution, that of reconditioning the battery. If something goes wrong with a battery pack, the issue is probably within only one of the 28 modules that make up the whole battery.

So, according to Jim Gatzke of Toyota's National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Service and Support group "The module must be replaced with one that matches the chemistry of the other 27 modules." A match is created by harvesting from a battery pack from another vehicle with similar age and mileage. Once replaced, Gatzke believes the 'reconditioned' battery pack may last another six years.

Toyota says reconditioning the battery will cost about one-fourth that of replacing.

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