Automotive: Prius/Camry: Battery Replacement: Worth the Cost? Anyone researched the value?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2011 1:41 AM GMT
    Hi:

    I am interested to hear from previous Prius/Camry owners or currently new purchasing owners if its worth purchasing a Hybrid in view of the high cost of replacement battery that might not be covered by warranty. I heard in some automotive forums that the battery could even cost between $4,000 to $6,000 dollars to replace once you reach the 100-150K. From an accounting perspective, and I have not done the crunching numbers- but is it worth it when you compared the cost of gasoline on a 4 cylinder versus a hybrid? In the short run, you might save on gas, but does it equal later out if you have to shell out that much money for battery replacement.

    Thoughts? I am in the process of deciding what to do since I drive over 100 miles per day and switching in the short run makes sense for gas prices, but what about the long run.
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    Jul 07, 2011 3:36 AM GMT
    LOL. Those are just lies spread by foreign car haters and diesel lovers. The battery should last the life of the car. In the unlikely event that you need to replace the batteries, it should cost you around $3000 or less, depending on the dealer. If you do it yourself or find an independent specialist, it should cost cheaper. Sorry, I don't have any links. Toyota used to have a page on their site that explained all this.

    I dunno. If you're looking for a commuter car, then get a subcompact:

    Ford Fiesta / Mazda 2
    Scion xD
    Honda Fit
    Nissan Versa

    There are a few more that I can't remember. But all of those cars get between 35 and 40 MPG.
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    Jul 07, 2011 4:45 AM GMT
    Thanks, XRICHX.

    I currently drive a Saturn Astra XR, but it just gives me 33mg. and need to stretch that. I am drawn to the Prius because of the Hatchback and design.
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    Jul 07, 2011 5:38 AM GMT
    I like hatchbacks too. I've got my eyes on the Lexus CT. I think it's the best looking hybrid right now. But I don't think it's worth the $30K asking price. I'm gonna wait a few years and get one used.

    kRkxH.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2011 5:55 AM GMT
    So, there are Prius Taxis that have been in use for over 10 years'ish on the same battery.

    Reason being is because the car doesn't let the battery be totally 100% charged, or dead... it hovers between 20%-80%...

    (Long story short... if you could do the same thing to your laptop battery, it would last longer as well) because being fully charged or fully dead is a bit rougher on the battery.

    Since a Prius battery is always charging / discharging... it's not as big of a deal. Don't think of it like the battery in your cell / laptop. it's a different beast.

    (This is what I read on a Prius forum awhile back when I was thinking of getting one... There was a massive article about the charging system, and well being the geek I am, read though it ;)
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Jul 07, 2011 11:27 AM GMT
    for ANY hybrid car i'd lease it only...not purchase it.



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  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jul 07, 2011 12:35 PM GMT
    xrichx saidI like hatchbacks too. I've got my eyes on the Lexus CT. I think it's the best looking hybrid right now. But I don't think it's worth the $30K asking price. I'm gonna wait a few years and get one used.

    kRkxH.jpg


    what I like about that is that it's from the Toyota family but doesn't have the centered instrument cluster, which I can't stand.
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    Jul 09, 2011 11:45 AM GMT
    OP, if those are hwy miles, what you need is a diesel, not a hybrid. A hybrid cannot match a diesel's mpg on the highway. Their advantages in efficiency are mostly in the city. As you may have noticed, they have a higher mpg in the city than on the hwy mostly.

    I drive about 2500 miles/month, mostly highway. Both my tdi jetta and diesel mercedes got over 500 miles per tank easy, and the jetta would get over 600 on a hwy only tank. The jetta got about 50mpg @55mph, and about 37mpg at 80mph. The mercedes averages about 35mpg/tank but its 21yrs old.

    For someone that drives a lot, I rather fill up once a week than 2x's a week. Diesels for the hwy, hybrids for the city.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Jul 09, 2011 12:30 PM GMT
    Pistons saidOP, if those are hwy miles, what you need is a diesel, not a hybrid. A hybrid cannot match a diesel's mpg on the highway. Their advantages in efficiency are mostly in the city. As you may have noticed, they have a higher mpg in the city than on the hwy mostly.

    I drive about 2500 miles/month, mostly highway. Both my tdi jetta and diesel mercedes got over 500 miles per tank easy, and the jetta would get over 600 on a hwy only tank. The jetta got about 50mpg @55mph, and about 37mpg at 80mph. The mercedes averages about 35mpg/tank but its 21yrs old.

    For someone that drives a lot, I rather fill up once a week than 2x's a week. Diesels for the hwy, hybrids for the city.



    does your highway fuel economy more than compensate for the increased cost of diesel fuel compared to no-lead regular gasoline icon_question.gif


    i have argued and rationalized the "hybrid vs diesel" argument many time in my own mind.


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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 09, 2011 1:28 PM GMT
    My 2007 Prius is the best car I've ever had. Not once have I had to do any repairs. All I do is keep the oil changed. My last car was a huge Ford Explorer and I was shocked to find that the Prius carries the same amount of cargo as the Explorer (except in height). In the city, if I feather the gas and keep my eye on the energy consumption screen, I can drive on strictly electric for a very long time. I forget to put gas in it at times, and a few weeks ago it gave me the low gas warning but I got distracted and forgot about it. Well, 20 miles later I hear a much more urgent sounding beep which of course meant I was completely out of gas. I panicked and started looking for a place to pull over but then realized the sucker was still running. It apparently had begun charging the battery when it detected it was low on gas and I was able to drive to the other side of town to my destination and where gas is cheaper. Of course if most of your miles are highway driving, you won't be using the electric nearly as much. But it still gets great gas mileage even then.
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    Jul 09, 2011 11:34 PM GMT
    rnch saidfor ANY hybrid car i'd lease it only...not purchase it.



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    Leases have mileage restrictions that won't work for anyone that drives a lot. If not I'd be leasing the shit out of cars.
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    Jul 10, 2011 6:34 AM GMT
    Pistons brings up another topic to consider when buying a hybrid. All car makers have different hybrid systems. If you do a lot of city driving or drive in stop/go traffic, a Toyota hybrid is the way to go. If you do a lot of highway driving, a Honda hybrid is the way to go.

    The Toyota system will try to use the electric motor as the primary. The gas motor will kick in when you accelerate hard or when the load increases, like when you drive up hill/incline.

    The Honda system uses the gas motor all the time. The electric motor will kick in when you accelerate hard or when the load increases. That's why they call their system, Integrated Motor Assist. It's like a little power boost when you need it. The rest of the time, the motor is cruising along with Honda's legendary VTEC system. That's why Honda hybrids have so-so city MPG compared to the Prius.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jul 10, 2011 7:29 AM GMT
    Batteries are the achilies heels of the electric cars. Well, the heel on the other foot is safety. If you get rearended in a Smart car you won't look so smart at your funeral. Firemen are afraid to approach electric cars in collisions because they get shocked. I'm all for driving around with a car powered by a solar panel on the roof (as long as it goes fast) but the technology isn't there yet. We're dreaming the jetsons, but living in the cigarettes are safe 1960's, in terms of electric cars.
  • captproton

    Posts: 316

    Jul 10, 2011 8:13 AM GMT
    I recently read a story in USA Today that said many compacts now get much better mileage than before (up to 40 MPG), so it makes sense to consider one over a hybrid. Hybrids are way more expensive than comparably-sized cars, so look at how you would amortize the extra cost before you buy a hybrid.
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    Jul 10, 2011 8:24 AM GMT
    I work at a Lexus dealer and I can tell you that we haven't had many cars come back needing replaced batteries. The RX Hybrid first came out in 06 and I have maybe replaced 2 or 3, all under warranty. They are expensive, about $4,500. The cells in the Prius are also used in 2 of the Lexus models and they run right under $3,000 to replace if necessary.

    And about the CT. Good luck getting ahold of one. They are OVERWHELMINGLY popular, and well worth the price if you ask me (and I don't sell these cars). Right now, if you buy a CT, you are not allowed to take delivery until another one arrives at the dealer to replace it. IE, there must always be at least 1 CT sitting on the lot at all times.

    Hope I was helpful.

    EDIT; If you are looking for a performance hybrid, the GS450h is the only and I mean ONLY choice. That car is wicked fast- it is the 2nd quickest car Lexus makes....behind the IS-F (not counting LFA). It makes 340 horsepower and gets over 20 MPG, all while rocketing you to 60MPH in roughly 5 seconds. Electric torque is instantaneous....no waiting for revs from a conventional engine....so the GS Hybrid is an INSANELY quick 4 door sedan. It will set you back around $65,000, but is a hell of a ride.
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    Jul 10, 2011 8:35 AM GMT
    xrichx saidI like hatchbacks too. I've got my eyes on the Lexus CT. I think it's the best looking hybrid right now. But I don't think it's worth the $30K asking price. I'm gonna wait a few years and get one used.

    kRkxH.jpg


    I agree with you, it is just too much money for the hatchback. thanks.
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    Jul 10, 2011 8:37 AM GMT
    Pistons saidOP, if those are hwy miles, what you need is a diesel, not a hybrid. A hybrid cannot match a diesel's mpg on the highway. Their advantages in efficiency are mostly in the city. As you may have noticed, they have a higher mpg in the city than on the hwy mostly.

    I drive about 2500 miles/month, mostly highway. Both my tdi jetta and diesel mercedes got over 500 miles per tank easy, and the jetta would get over 600 on a hwy only tank. The jetta got about 50mpg @55mph, and about 37mpg at 80mph. The mercedes averages about 35mpg/tank but its 21yrs old.

    For someone that drives a lot, I rather fill up once a week than 2x's a week. Diesels for the hwy, hybrids for the city.


    yes, mostly highway and crossing 3 different highways, but what about the cost of diesel, is it more expensive?
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    Jul 10, 2011 8:43 AM GMT
    uombroca said
    Pistons saidOP, if those are hwy miles, what you need is a diesel, not a hybrid. A hybrid cannot match a diesel's mpg on the highway. Their advantages in efficiency are mostly in the city. As you may have noticed, they have a higher mpg in the city than on the hwy mostly.

    I drive about 2500 miles/month, mostly highway. Both my tdi jetta and diesel mercedes got over 500 miles per tank easy, and the jetta would get over 600 on a hwy only tank. The jetta got about 50mpg @55mph, and about 37mpg at 80mph. The mercedes averages about 35mpg/tank but its 21yrs old.

    For someone that drives a lot, I rather fill up once a week than 2x's a week. Diesels for the hwy, hybrids for the city.


    yes, mostly highway and crossing 3 different highways, but what about the cost of diesel, is it more expensive?


    It is in Kentucky....about 30-40 cents more per gallon if I recall.
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    Jul 10, 2011 9:53 AM GMT
    Diesel is roughly about the cost of premium (93 octane). I really don't think there's a hybrid that can go 600+ highway miles/tank like a diesel. My diesels I dont have to try to get good gas mileage, i don't have to hyper-mile and do tricks to get good gas mileage, they just do.

    My 09 tdi cost me $22k brand new and was worth $22k when i got rid of it at 30k miles 1yr later. Im pretty certain diesels hold their value stronger than any comparable hybrid.

    Obviously I am heavily biased towards diesels, but I'm speaking the truth. I love the sound, i love the power delivery, the diesels (european cars) feel way more buttoned down and composed on the highway, and I'm pretty sure they're faster than a comparable hybrid. Maintenance may be a little more $$ as you have to replace fuel filters more often, oil changes are about every 10k miles, not sure about hybrids. I havent done the math to compare if owning the diesels are more expensive, and I really don't care, I'd still drive them even if it were. Hybrids are appliances. If your a driver and like driving, you'll much prefer the diesels. The driving experience is way more satisfying. You should drive both and compare for yourself. Toyota's in general isolate the driver from the road, and can feel floaty and disconnected. You don't want to throw a prius/camry into a corner. IF i had to pick hybrid, id probably go for a fusion hybrid, they're the sportiest. Hybrids use all sorts of tricks like low rolling resistance tires (hard rubber) which reduce their road holding abilities. My jetta tdi will turn, stop, accelerate and get better mileage on the highway than any comparible prius, insight, or civic hybrid, and even the fancy lexus CT which is actually SLOWER than a prius. On top of that, the jetta is way more comfortable as its a larger car. Maybe someone should make a diesel hybrid for the US.


    Despite battery life, I'm also not sure how long an electric motor is supposed to last. My 1990 mercedes has original engine and transmission with 250k miles. I recently blew the turbo, and considering that it's been down the dragstrip a couple of times i can't complain. With a new turbo on, the motor will continue to go another 250k miles easy. I'm kinda expecting the tranny to give up soon, but so far its also rock solid, even with the track passes.

    Hybrids and diesels have their own advantages. Hybrids are for ppl that run errands around the city, in stop and go traffic. Diesels are for ppl who do lots of highway driving. Its important to keep current with maintenance for a trouble free ownership experience. The service intervals are far apart so its not like you're always in the shop for maintenance. European cars tend to not be as reliable as asians, so I'd recommend getting the longest possible warranty.

    Diesel pumps also tend to be a bit messy, so I keep a box of disposable gloves in the trunk. I kinda dig lining up at the same pumps as the big rigs, sometimes people even come up and ask questions about the car. Some of those pumps have bigger nozzles that don't fit in the smaller passenger car filler neck though (for faster filling), but u can still make it work. Also, unlike a gas car, I fill the diesels all the way up until i see fuel at the top of the filler neck for extra mileage, and that causes no problems. A gas car will throw a check engine light.

    The diesel experience is totally worthit to me. Its more than just dollars and cents, its enjoyment.
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    Jul 10, 2011 11:08 AM GMT
    uombroca said
    xrichx saidI like hatchbacks too. I've got my eyes on the Lexus CT. I think it's the best looking hybrid right now. But I don't think it's worth the $30K asking price. I'm gonna wait a few years and get one used.

    kRkxH.jpg


    I agree with you, it is just too much money for the hatchback. thanks.


    Hatchbacks shouldn't be viewed as down-market....that's so ugly American.
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    Here's one for twice the price of the little Lexus:
    audi-a7.jpg

    Uombroca, since your commute is mostly highway, there are plenty of choices that aren't diesel of hybrid. Even the new Hyundia Elantra achieves 40 mpg on the highway in all its iterations. That's on par what the hybrids get on the highway.

    Two additional notes, there's now a bigger Prius...I think it's called the Prius V....it's more of a wagon shape and has 70% more cargo capacity.

    Car and Driver's latest issue has a quick one-off between the Lexus CT200h and the Chevy Volt. The magazine declares the Volt the better choice.
  • bossanova

    Posts: 34

    Jul 10, 2011 1:08 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]sxydrkhair said[/cite]I don't think I can fit in mini car... :-)

    [/quote

    So nice !!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 10, 2011 1:57 PM GMT
    Motor Trend August 2011 has an article comparing the Prius, Volt, and Leaf. A lot of good info about all three.
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    Jul 10, 2011 7:40 PM GMT
    Thanks, for all the comments guys...thanks Pistons for the Diesel introduction and History, will take a look at the VWs, but also like the Audi A3 TDI which would be a hatchback consideration.