We get this question all the time so I will attempt to answer it here. Toyota states that a new Hybrid battery has an eight year lifespan however the reality is that it is not that simple. Lifespan is dependent on a number of factors including age of the vehicle, usage, mileage on the clock and how well you look after your vehicle.
How do you use your vehicle?
Are you an Uber or Taxi driver driving 1000kms per week or and do you use your vehicle for private use only driving to and from work. How you use your vehicle will affect the lifespan of your hybrid battery. An Uber driver driving their Prius 1200kms per week will be cycling their hybrid battery much more than a private user. Therefore it is logical that using their hybrid in this way will shorten the lifespan.
How old is your vehicle?
It is common for us to see private usage vehicles come in for reconditioning at the 10-11 year mark. Vehicles used as Taxi services or Uber appear to fail much earlier as we generally see these vehicles turning up at the 5 year mark.
How many Kms has your vehicle got on the clock?
Not all high mileage hybrids are the same. If we compare a 2005 Prius with a 2011 Prius were both vehicles have done 165,000kms. The 2011 Prius will almost always be in the worse condition. This is because of the intensity of cycling is a lot harder on the hybrid battery as it has been done over a shorter time period.
How balanced is your hybrid battery?
A key failure point of hybrid batteries is when the individual cells become unbalanced from one another. A typical 20 series Toyota Prius has 28 individual cells and each of these cells have a capacity of approximately 6500mah. Over time this capacity deteriorates down to as low as 1500mah. This deterioration however, is never even while some cells maybe as low as 1500mah others could be 5000mah or higher. An unbalanced hybrid battery will deteriorate faster than one that is evenly balanced.
How often do you service your vehicle?
A hybrid vehicle is a balance between an electric drive and a petrol engine. A poorly performing petrol engine will reduce your fuel economy and put added strain on the hybrid battery. Toyota Prius in particular are very sound mechanically, that often leads to a lot of neglect. Vehicles having done higher mileage are typically prone to this neglect having done 180,000 kms plus without any issues.
We recommend a standard service every 8000kms for Taxi/Uber and every 10000kms or 6months for private usage vehicles.
The length of time your hybrid battery will last is clearly dependent on several factors. While Toyota states an 8 year lifespan we typically see lifespans of 5 – 10 years depending on these factors. Should you wish to maximise the lifespan of your hybrid battery there are some simple things you can do. Regular servicing and maintenance will ensure the petrol engine is not under-performing and putting undue strain on the hybrid battery. A preventative recondition and rebalancing of your hybrid battery would ensure the optimal performance of your hybrid battery. This maybe inconvenient for current owners but those looking to purchase a second-hand model could easily factor it into the purchase price.