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The Toyota Prius has now been part of the world for more than twenty years. And in that time, it’s gone a symbol of celebutante virtue-signaling to a fine automobile driven by millions. That popularity now means there are old Priuses, which begs the question, “what’s the lifespan of a Toyota Prius’ Battery?”
Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. There’s a great deal of disagreement concerning the lifespan of any hybrid car’s battery due to its relative newness. There is, of course, a manufacturer’s expiration date similar to those used for most parts on a car. But those are far more conservative given companies don’t yet have a mass of consumer data and real-world findings to back anything up.
There is a Toyota-authorized expiration date, but there are also a few things that can affect the lifespan of your Prius’ battery too that can either decrease or increase that figure. To go over those variables, The Drive’s eco-vigilante editors put together this comprehensive guide about the Prius’ hybrid system and how long it lasts. Who’s ready to discuss the impact of Leonardo DiCaprio on the car world? Psych!
What Is a Hybrid Car?
A hybrid vehicle is one that uses two types of fuel and energy sources to achieve a singular goal of efficient propulsion.
Types of Hybrids
Just as there are multiple types of combustion engines, there are also multiple types of hybrid powertrains. Let’s break it down into simple terms.
On mild hybrids, the electric components are not capable of directly driving the wheels on their own. Instead, a small battery pack and electric motor act as assistants to help improve fuel economy, slightly increase performance with bursts of torque, regenerate energy, and power accessories. One of the most common jobs for an electric motor in a mild hybrid is to double as a starter and power the start-stop technology. More capable and efficient mild hybrids with 48-volt battery packs have recently proliferated throughout the industry.
A full hybrid car has electric components that can directly drive the wheels on their own, without the gas engine. Different types of full hybrids include parallel hybrids, series hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.
And if you’d like to know more about hybrid cars, how they work, and other forms of hybrids, you can check out The Drive’s guide to The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hybrid Car.
How Does a Prius Battery Work?
A Prius is a full hybrid and the wheels draw power from both the gasoline engine and battery pack. There are two types of Prius hybrid, a plug-in hybrid model, and a regular hybrid model.
Can a Prius Battery Die?
It can! Like all batteries, a Prius’ hybrid battery has an entropy date. Its battery is mined, refined, built, slotted into a car, used, and one day, just like everyone’s love life, it dies. This may take a decade or two and hundreds of thousands of miles, but at some point or another, your Prius’ battery will go bad and you’ll need to replace it.
How Long Do Prius Batteries Last?
We know what you’re thinking, “Ok, now that we’re fully educated…HOW FREAKIN’ LONG DO PRIUS BATTERIES LAST!?”
First, there’s no need to yell, we’re finally here! And second, Toyota says a Prius battery will last between 100,000-150,000 miles or between 8-10 years. However, there are owners that have eked out far more mileage, as well as others who’ve reported fewer.
Symptoms of a Dying Prius Battery
Here are the most common symptoms you may experience when your Prius battery finally dies or is on its way out.
Bad Fuel Economy
You may experience worsening fuel economy, which tells you that the battery isn’t doing its job.
Extremely Quick Battery Depletion
If the battery’s charge depletes extremely quickly, it may be getting long in the tooth.
Odd Electrical Fluctuations
Your car may experience weird electrical fluctuations depending on what else your hybrid battery powers.
Battery Not Kicking In
If the battery doesn’t actually kick in when it used to, the hybrid may be going out.
Clunky Driving Conditions
Since a hybrid battery drives the wheels at times, a bad or dying battery may affect your vehicle’s driving conditions. It may feel clunky or similar to a bad transmission.
What Can Cause a Prius Battery to Die?
Life? But in all seriousness, the wear and tear of a hybrid battery will be the same as the wear and tear of any car part. You can impact your car’s hybrid battery further by not taking care of it, though. Here are a few causes that could further impact your hybrid battery’s life.
Routinely Fully Depleting the Charge
Driving the car until the battery’s fully depleted every single time, then not recharging it for a little while will reduce the overall health of the battery. Likewise, constantly filling the battery up to 100-percent charge will decrease its longevity too due to thermal load.
You’re the biggest variable in your car’s reliability by a long shot. Take care of your car, follow its maintenance schedule, and it’ll take care of you.
As with anything, if you’re involved in an accident or damage the battery in some way, that can reduce the health and longevity of the hybrid battery considerably.
Find Your Next Prius With Carvana
You know how satisfying it is to drop a coin into a vending machine, type in the respective alphanumeric code for a Reese’s, hear the whirring of the motor twisting the delicious chocolate-covered peanut butter cup out toward you, and finally falling into the bin for your to enjoy? Yeah, that’s how easy it is to now buy your next car thanks to Carvana.
Carvana has taken the vending machine process and applied it to car purchases, coin and vending machine included. They can also be delivered to your home, just like that Knives Out-like knit-sweater you won’t ever wear. With thousands of cars to choose from across all makes and models, Carvana’s selection is extensive and the company’s confident, even offering a 7-Day Risk-Free Return policy, it has your next car.
That’s why The Drive’s partnered with Carvana to help you find your next ride! Are you ready to get your next car out of a vending machine?
FAQs About Prius Battery
You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!
Q: So Can You Recharge a Prius’ Battery?
A: If you’re talking about recharging your car every night, sure! If you’re talking about it after it dies, not gonna happen!
Q: But Can You Still Drive a Prius Without the Battery?
A: Short answer? Maybe. If the hybrid battery fails, you may be able to drive it, but the experience won’t be similar to that of a straight gasoline-powered car. It’ll likely be jerky and could damage the other drivetrain components. And if it’s a system in which it acts as an alternator and starter as well, you may be calling a tow truck.
Q: Then Do Hybrid Cars Cost More to Maintain?
A: Not really. The only real extra cost in maintaining a hybrid is if the battery pack fails, and that’s pretty rare.
Q: How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Prius Battery?
A: Cost will depend on labor and parts needed, but the average cost of replacing a Prius’ hybrid battery is between $2,000-$2,600 according to Toyota.
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