I returned home to California from a two-week trip to Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. When I made it back to start my 2014 Toyota Prius to return home the car was unresponsive. Usually when the car powers up, the motor will start for a few minutes and you are ready to go. I pretty much take for granted. Fortunately I was near a power outlet and I had access to a battery charger which I connected to the Prius starter battery located in the rear right side of the car under the carpet and a bunch of plastic stuff. I charged the battery for about an hour and nothing changed…the car was not running and the battery was toast.
Luckily my son was in the area and I was able to locate a battery at an auto parts store. This was not cheap at about $240 plus tax. My son and I installed the new battery and once the car rebooted I was on my way home. The whole process took less than twenty minutes. The battery I replaced was the original one that came with the car at an age of approximately nine years which I thought was pretty good. The battery is almost half the size of a traditional car battery which was a surprise. This whole dead battery situation had me thinking about the main hybrid battery pack. Unlike replacing the starter battery, replacing the main hybrid battery pack is not as simple or inexpensive as the starter battery I had just replaced.
Which replacement battery costs less for my hybrid?
My car’s hybrid battery pack is Nickel Metal Hydride and this is one of two available options. There is also a Lithium-Ion variant battery pack and this is true for the many hybrid cars out there, so just do a search. So my question now is which is the better replacement battery pack? Let’s start with the cost. NexPower has a replacement price for Lithium-Ion at $2,240. This does not include tax and shipping. Should you decide to go with the OEM equivalent new Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack the cost is about the same as Lithium-Ion battery pack. However you can purchase remanufactured Nickel Metal Hydride battery packs for about half the cost. These appear to have a year to eighteen-month warranty.
Should I buy new or remanufactured Lithium-Ion or Nickel Metal Hydride Battery battery pack?
I think depending on the overall condition of your hybrid and how long you expect to keep it will guide your decision. My experience with the remanufactured Nickel Metal Hydride battery packs is they essentially last a little longer than the warranty. If you are at all planning to keep your hybrid ride for a long time, then I recommend buying a new battery pack.
Which battery type did I choose, Lithium-Ion or Nickel Metal Hydride Battery?
If the new Nickel Metal Hydride and the new lithium-Ion battery packs cost about the same then which is the better choice? Let me help you with this decision. Get the new Lithium-Ion battery pack option. These batteries weigh less than Nickel Metal Hydride by about forty pounds for the Prius. They charge faster than Nickel Metal Hydride. Which I think is good if you have short trips most of the time. I wont go too much into detail around the technical aspects of the batteries. I believe there are plenty of articles out there like this one, that do a great job of it.
Some additional information
I want to share a good discussion about the two battery pack options on the Howstuffworks website. Also BatteriesPlus has a good general discussion regarding the battery types on their site if you care to learn more.
If you are considering a hybrid vehicle then check out this article on the cost comparison between hybrids, electrics and gas cars.