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Re: Are you really saving money?

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  • S. B.
    Hello, First of all, the battery pack is NOT $8,000 dollars, it is around $3000-$5000. The Japanese battery pack has already had an update: it was reduced in
    Message 1 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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      Hello,
      First of all, the battery pack is NOT $8,000 dollars, it is around
      $3000-$5000. The Japanese battery pack has already had an update: it
      was reduced in size and cost yet has better performance, capacity, and
      life. If you wear down the batteries within 8 years they are
      replaced. Batteries are a "computer-related technology." Expect
      prices to plummet. What was the speed of computers 5 years ago and
      now? Once battery-powered (or hybrid) cars are sold more and more,
      the costs will be less and less. I expect to pay about $500 for the
      entire battery pack in 8 years- if I'm not on fuel cells or some other
      electrical storage apparatus. Also remember that the price reductions
      from selling hybrid systems will directly lead to price reductions in
      battery-powered cars.

      --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, FLing@e... wrote:
      > Hi everyone,
      >
      > This is a great forum and I have been helped quite a bit as I am a
      > potential buyer.
      >
      > One question that has bothered me concerning the Prius is the
      > longevity of the battery. If I buy the Prius, I plan to own it for a
      > long time. If, in fact, the batteries only last for about 8 years
      > before replacement is needed, and it will probably cost $8,000 to
      > replace these batteries, this would indicate that any savings
      > accruded in gaining higher MPG with the Prius would not only be
      wiped
      > out but would proabably cost more to run than a conventional gas
      > powered car over the same amount of time.
      >
      > I would find it pretty disheartening to be presented with a $8000+
      > bill for replacement batteries on an 8 year old Prius.
      >
      > Any comments or help regarding this issue are welcome.
      >
      > Thanks in advance.
    • Ling, Frank
      Thanks for the correction in the battery price. I could have sworn that s what I read in an article. ... From: S. B. [mailto:altopsionic@netscape.net] Sent:
      Message 2 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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        Thanks for the correction in the battery price. I could have sworn that's
        what I read in an
        article.



        -----Original Message-----
        From: S. B. [mailto:altopsionic@...]
        Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2000 2:50 PM
        To: toyota-prius@egroups.com
        Subject: [toyota-prius] Re: Are you really saving money?


        Hello,
        First of all, the battery pack is NOT $8,000 dollars, it is around
        $3000-$5000. The Japanese battery pack has already had an update: it
        was reduced in size and cost yet has better performance, capacity, and
        life. If you wear down the batteries within 8 years they are
        replaced. Batteries are a "computer-related technology." Expect
        prices to plummet. What was the speed of computers 5 years ago and
        now? Once battery-powered (or hybrid) cars are sold more and more,
        the costs will be less and less. I expect to pay about $500 for the
        entire battery pack in 8 years- if I'm not on fuel cells or some other
        electrical storage apparatus. Also remember that the price reductions
        from selling hybrid systems will directly lead to price reductions in
        battery-powered cars.

        --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, FLing@e... wrote:
        > Hi everyone,
        >
        > This is a great forum and I have been helped quite a bit as I am a
        > potential buyer.
        >
        > One question that has bothered me concerning the Prius is the
        > longevity of the battery. If I buy the Prius, I plan to own it for a
        > long time. If, in fact, the batteries only last for about 8 years
        > before replacement is needed, and it will probably cost $8,000 to
        > replace these batteries, this would indicate that any savings
        > accruded in gaining higher MPG with the Prius would not only be
        wiped
        > out but would proabably cost more to run than a conventional gas
        > powered car over the same amount of time.
        >
        > I would find it pretty disheartening to be presented with a $8000+
        > bill for replacement batteries on an 8 year old Prius.
        >
        > Any comments or help regarding this issue are welcome.
        >
        > Thanks in advance.



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      • Paul Opitz
        ... Prius, what ... least 8 ... Well, I guess you aren t counting actual fuel costs. So, that would be an oil change every 6 months (however, those are free
        Message 3 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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          --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, "Ling, Frank" <FLing@e...> wrote:
          > This being the case, apart from the environmental pluses of the
          Prius, what
          > is the hypothetical bottom
          > line on maintaining the Prius if a person plans to keep it for at
          least 8
          > years?

          Well, I guess you aren't counting actual fuel costs. So, that would
          be an oil change every 6 months (however, those are free for the
          first 3 years, so make that 10 oil changes for the last 5 years). At
          $30 per pop, that is $300.

          Add tire rotation and air filter every 6 months (also covered for the
          first 3 years) at, say, $20 for an additional $200.

          Change the radiator fluid every 2 or 3 years, lets say 3 times at $50
          per for $150.

          Batteries are free for the first 8 years.

          Tires will likely wear out and need to be replaced at least 1
          time...this might cost more than standard tires, as they are low-
          rolling-resistance tires.

          But, each of the above pieces of maintenance are recommended at 3
          month intervals on most other vehicles, so even on operating
          maintenance you are saving money.

          > I realize that this is a new car, but I would find it very
          interesting to
          > find out how the total projected
          > costs of running a fuel efficient gas powered car would be compared
          to the
          > Prius and the battery
          > maintenance costs.
          >
          > Also, eight years down road, even more importantly, will Toyota
          still even
          > be *making* these batteries for
          > the Prius at all? Just how committed are they to this "experiment".

          Panasonic actually makes the batteries. I would expect the batteries
          to still be available (someone said that they were basically packs of
          D cells, but I can neither confirm nor deny...)

          >
          > Just want to make sure I'm not left out in the cold with this new
          > technology.
          >
          >
          Until you asked the question, I had not thought through how much
          money in addition to fuel cost I will be saving.

          p
        • Ryan Tucker
          ... I m fairly confident that Radio Shack will have replacement batteries too. They have every cordless phone and cellphone battery I ve ever needed, so I
          Message 4 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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            On Wed, 01 Nov 2000 23:19:25 -0000, "Paul Opitz" <opie@...> wrote:
            > Panasonic actually makes the batteries. I would expect the batteries
            > to still be available (someone said that they were basically packs of
            > D cells, but I can neither confirm nor deny...)

            I'm fairly confident that Radio Shack will have replacement batteries
            too. They have every cordless phone and cellphone battery I've ever
            needed, so I don't see why cordless car batteries are any different ;-)
            -rt

            --
            Ryan Tucker <rtucker@...> Network Operations Manager
            NetAccess, Inc. Phone: +1 716 419-8200
            1159 Pittsford-Victor Road, Pittsford NY 14534 http://www.netacc.net/
            "Wouldn't you rather help make history than watch it on TV?" - Jello Biafra
          • hlsinger@aol.com
            In a message dated 11/1/00 3:55:34 PM Central Standard Time, FLing@ea.com ... Most of the numbers I have heard where more like $4-5000. Over time, the price
            Message 5 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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              In a message dated 11/1/00 3:55:34 PM Central Standard Time, FLing@...
              writes:

              > it will probably cost $8,000 to
              > replace these batteries
              Most of the numbers I have heard where more like $4-5000. Over time, the
              price of these will come down. They are in fact made up of 240 Ni-Mh d cells
              apparently. Do the math and you can see they can be built for much less than
              the $5,000 number. Maybe someone will be rebuilding them. Aftermarket
              manufacturers will step in if the prices remain too high. Think of them in
              terms of computer pricing. Everything starts out sky high and gets down to
              something realistic over a period of time. I strongly suspect the price is
              set high to make some money off the insurance companies as they will be the
              only ones buying batteries anyway for eight years.

              Alex H.
            • FLing@ea.com
              If this is really true, then it is quite possible that future (present?) models may have the ability for the owners to replace the D-Cells themselves. I can
              Message 6 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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                If this is really true, then it is quite possible that future
                (present?) models may have the ability for the owners to replace the
                D-Cells themselves.

                I can just hear it...

                Prius Owner: Excuse me, I'd like to buy some batteries please.
                Radio Shack: Sure, what do you need?
                Prius Owner: Lets see, er, about 400 D Cells.
                Radio Shack: Sure. No problem-O
                Prius Owner: Er, I also have 400 Battery Cards for you to punch...

                :^)

                --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, Ryan Tucker <rtucker@n...> wrote:
                >
                > On Wed, 01 Nov 2000 23:19:25 -0000, "Paul Opitz" <opie@f...> wrote:
                > > Panasonic actually makes the batteries. I would expect the
                batteries
                > > to still be available (someone said that they were basically
                packs of
                > > D cells, but I can neither confirm nor deny...)
                >
                > I'm fairly confident that Radio Shack will have replacement
                batteries
                > too. They have every cordless phone and cellphone battery I've ever
                > needed, so I don't see why cordless car batteries are any
                different ;-)
                > -rt
                >
                > --
                > Ryan Tucker <rtucker@n...> Network Operations
                Manager
                > NetAccess, Inc. Phone: +1 716
                419-8200
                > 1159 Pittsford-Victor Road, Pittsford NY 14534
                http://www.netacc.net/
                > "Wouldn't you rather help make history than watch it on TV?" -
                Jello Biafra
              • Paul Opitz
                I ll have to have a little chat with the battery buyer. Perhaps someone with the service manuals can determine with better accuracy the type and configuration
                Message 7 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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                  I'll have to have a little chat with the battery buyer. Perhaps someone with the service manuals can determine with better accuracy the type and configuration of the batteries.
                   
                  p
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2000 5:20 PM
                  Subject: Re: [toyota-prius] Re: Are you really saving money?


                  On Wed, 01 Nov 2000 23:19:25 -0000, "Paul Opitz" <opie@...> wrote:
                  > Panasonic actually makes the batteries. I would expect the batteries
                  > to still be available (someone said that they were basically packs of
                  > D cells, but I can neither confirm nor deny...)

                  I'm fairly confident that Radio Shack will have replacement batteries
                  too.  They have every cordless phone and cellphone battery I've ever
                  needed, so I don't see why cordless car batteries are any different ;-)
                  -rt

                  --
                  Ryan Tucker <rtucker@...>                 Network Operations Manager
                  NetAccess, Inc.                                      Phone: +1 716 419-8200
                  1159 Pittsford-Victor Road, Pittsford NY 14534       http://www.netacc.net/
                  "Wouldn't you rather help make history than watch it on TV?" - Jello Biafra



                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  toyota-prius-unsubscribe@egroups.com


                • Bill Powell
                  ... the ... Um.... The ORIGINAL Japanese spec Prius used the D Cell format but the US spec Prius was introduced with prismatic (flat) cell format. Otherwise
                  Message 8 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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                    --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, FLing@e... wrote:
                    > If this is really true, then it is quite possible that future
                    > (present?) models may have the ability for the owners to replace
                    the
                    > D-Cells themselves.
                    Um.... The ORIGINAL Japanese spec Prius used the D Cell format but
                    the US spec Prius was introduced with prismatic (flat) cell format.
                    Otherwise we'd all be begging Paul Opitz for bunches of lifetime RS
                    battery cards!
                    Bill Powell
                    (Actively cursing the manager that decided to change the reply
                    defaults. Thanks Yahoo! NOT)
                  • Charlie
                    For what it s worth, Radio Shack has NiMH D cell on their web site (about ten dollars for two), but I don t know if they are the right stuff for the hybrids.
                    Message 9 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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                      For what it's worth, Radio Shack has NiMH D cell on their web site
                      (about ten dollars for two), but I don't know if they are "the
                      right stuff" for the hybrids.
                      Charlie
                      --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, Ryan Tucker <rtucker@n...> wrote:
                      >
                      > On Wed, 01 Nov 2000 23:19:25 -0000, "Paul Opitz" <opie@f...> wrote:
                      > > Panasonic actually makes the batteries. I would expect the
                      batteries
                      > > to still be available (someone said that they were basically packs
                      of
                      > > D cells, but I can neither confirm nor deny...)
                      >
                      > I'm fairly confident that Radio Shack will have replacement
                      batteries
                      > too. They have every cordless phone and cellphone battery I've ever
                      > needed, so I don't see why cordless car batteries are any different
                      ;-)
                      > -rt
                      >
                      > --
                      > Ryan Tucker <rtucker@n...> Network Operations
                      Manager
                      > NetAccess, Inc. Phone: +1 716
                      419-8200
                      > 1159 Pittsford-Victor Road, Pittsford NY 14534
                      http://www.netacc.net/
                      > "Wouldn't you rather help make history than watch it on TV?" - Jello
                      Biafra
                    • Mike Butts
                      I m hoping to keep our Prius for the rest of my life. First-year turn-of-the-century Prii will be significant collector cars someday. Major new technology,
                      Message 10 of 28 , Nov 1, 2000
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                        I'm hoping to keep our Prius for the rest of my life. First-year
                        turn-of-the-century Prii will be significant collector cars someday.
                        Major new technology, unique model, relatively few built, all these
                        are marks of the future classic. Well worth keeping in top shape,
                        with fresh batteries in 2008.

                        --Mike
                      • Lee Hart
                        ... I would not buy a Prius to save money on gasoline. The economics don t work out in your favor. But there are plenty of other reasons to buy the car anyway.
                        Message 11 of 28 , Nov 2, 2000
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                          FLing@... wrote:
                          > I would find it pretty disheartening to be presented with a $8000+
                          > bill for replacement batteries on an 8 year old Prius.

                          I would not buy a Prius to save money on gasoline. The economics don't
                          work out in your favor. But there are plenty of other reasons to buy the
                          car anyway. We did, and we love it!

                          On battery life: Everybody knows rechargeable batteries don't last 8
                          years. No other types do, and certainly, the Nimh batteries in the Prius
                          have had no long-term life testing; only accellerated life tests in the
                          laboratory that probably said they "might" last that long, if all goes
                          well.

                          I don't think the Toyota warranty means, "The batteries will last 8
                          years." Rather, it means, "Toyota will pay for battery replacements for
                          8 years." I expect that some amount for battery replacement cost is
                          already added into the price when they sell the car.

                          They probably also designed the car so it will still work with a nearly
                          ruined battery. The battery pack could only have 1% of its original
                          capacity and yet still start the ICE, and the car will still work as an
                          EV -- for 100 feet at a time.

                          And, 8 years in the future when we need a battery replacement and Toyota
                          won't pay for it, I would expect the price to be substantially lower.
                          The battery in the Japanese Prius is basically hundreds of Nimh D cells.
                          You can already buy Nimh AA and C cells at Radio Shack; the D cells will
                          follow.

                          The US Prius may use a different battery, but it is still a safe bet
                          that they will be available somewhere. Companies like Batteries Plus
                          will rebuild a custom battery pack with generic replacements for far
                          less than the cost of a new pack from the manufacturer.
                          --
                          Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
                          814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
                          Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
                          leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen
                        • Charlie
                          NiMH D cells (about ten dollars for two) are already available on the radioshack web site, however, there is a post that says the US prius uses
                          Message 12 of 28 , Nov 2, 2000
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                            NiMH D cells (about ten dollars for two) are already available on the
                            radioshack web site, however, there is a post that says the US prius
                            uses flat(prismatic?) batteries. Maybe the prius owner who works at
                            Radio Shack can find out if the shack will carry the prius panasonic
                            battery in the future...
                            Charlie
                            --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, Lee Hart <leeahart@e...> wrote:
                            > FLing@e... wrote:
                            > > I would find it pretty disheartening to be presented with a $8000+
                            > > bill for replacement batteries on an 8 year old Prius.
                            >
                            > I would not buy a Prius to save money on gasoline. The economics
                            don't
                            > work out in your favor. But there are plenty of other reasons to buy
                            the
                            > car anyway. We did, and we love it!
                            >
                            > On battery life: Everybody knows rechargeable batteries don't last 8
                            > years. No other types do, and certainly, the Nimh batteries in the
                            Prius
                            > have had no long-term life testing; only accellerated life tests in
                            the
                            > laboratory that probably said they "might" last that long, if all
                            goes
                            > well.
                            >
                            > I don't think the Toyota warranty means, "The batteries will last 8
                            > years." Rather, it means, "Toyota will pay for battery replacements
                            for
                            > 8 years." I expect that some amount for battery replacement cost is
                            > already added into the price when they sell the car.
                            >
                            > They probably also designed the car so it will still work with a
                            nearly
                            > ruined battery. The battery pack could only have 1% of its original
                            > capacity and yet still start the ICE, and the car will still work as
                            an
                            > EV -- for 100 feet at a time.
                            >
                            > And, 8 years in the future when we need a battery replacement and
                            Toyota
                            > won't pay for it, I would expect the price to be substantially
                            lower.
                            > The battery in the Japanese Prius is basically hundreds of Nimh D
                            cells.
                            > You can already buy Nimh AA and C cells at Radio Shack; the D cells
                            will
                            > follow.
                            >
                            > The US Prius may use a different battery, but it is still a safe bet
                            > that they will be available somewhere. Companies like Batteries Plus
                            > will rebuild a custom battery pack with generic replacements for far
                            > less than the cost of a new pack from the manufacturer.
                            > --
                            > Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
                            > 814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
                            > Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
                            > leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard
                            Cohen
                          • Bill Powell
                            ... ... That be me. I have also found an article where a Japanese Prius owner is on his 3rd battery pack. I m not really sure why he has had problems
                            Message 13 of 28 , Nov 2, 2000
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                              --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, "Charlie " <charlie@m...> wrote:
                              <snip>
                              > radioshack web site, however, there is a post that says the US
                              > prius uses flat(prismatic?) batteries. Maybe the prius owner who
                              That be me. I have also found an article where a Japanese Prius
                              owner is on his 3rd battery pack. I'm not really sure why he has had
                              problems but he mentioned that the 3rd pack is the "new prismatic
                              batteries like in the US Prius".

                              This looks like a GOOD thing:
                              1) Toyota seems to stand behind the Prius - at least in Japan,
                              2) This appears to be a demonstration of an "upgrade",
                              3) He mentioned that he notices the "additional weight",
                              4) I believe (hard to tell) that he is getting better mileage.

                              So - FYIW,
                              Bill Powell
                            • Dr. Schmidbauer Ernst
                              The Prius NiMH Batteries are indeed totally different from normal ones. While normal NiMH have a relatively high inner resistance the Prius batteries are
                              Message 14 of 28 , Nov 3, 2000
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                                The Prius NiMH Batteries are indeed totally different from normal ones.
                                While normal NiMH have a relatively high inner resistance the Prius
                                batteries are special from Panasonic and I think only Panasinic delivers
                                them. Performance of all NiMH batteries I have seen so far was very
                                poor: self discharge within some days, much less capacity than
                                specified.
                                So I´ve bought a Panasonic high current Sub C-Cell and will test its
                                performance. Specified are 30A current, 80A peak current, 3 Ah, Ri
                                4mOhm. Price was $8.
                                The price will not change much in the next years. Price of NiCD did not
                                change much during last 20 years.

                                Ernst

                                Lee Hart wrote:
                                >
                                > On battery life: Everybody knows rechargeable batteries don't last 8
                                > years. No other types do, and certainly, the Nimh batteries in the Prius
                                > have had no long-term life testing; only accellerated life tests in the
                                > laboratory that probably said they "might" last that long, if all goes
                                > well.
                                >
                                > I don't think the Toyota warranty means, "The batteries will last 8
                                > years." Rather, it means, "Toyota will pay for battery replacements for
                                > 8 years." I expect that some amount for battery replacement cost is
                                > already added into the price when they sell the car.
                                >
                                > They probably also designed the car so it will still work with a nearly
                                > ruined battery. The battery pack could only have 1% of its original
                                > capacity and yet still start the ICE, and the car will still work as an
                                > EV -- for 100 feet at a time.
                                >
                                > And, 8 years in the future when we need a battery replacement and Toyota
                                > won't pay for it, I would expect the price to be substantially lower.
                                > The battery in the Japanese Prius is basically hundreds of Nimh D cells.
                                > You can already buy Nimh AA and C cells at Radio Shack; the D cells will
                                > follow.
                                >
                                > The US Prius may use a different battery, but it is still a safe bet
                                > that they will be available somewhere. Companies like Batteries Plus
                                > will rebuild a custom battery pack with generic replacements for far
                                > less than the cost of a new pack from the manufacturer.
                                > --
                              • john1701a
                                ... Based on examples of significant demand increase in the computer industry, I d have to *strongly* disagree. CPUs, RAM, large monitors, scanners, CD
                                Message 15 of 28 , Nov 3, 2000
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                                  Dr. Schmidbauer Ernst wrote:
                                  > The price [of NiMH batteries] will not change much in the next
                                  > years. Price of NiCD did not change much during last 20 years.

                                  Based on examples of significant demand increase in the computer
                                  industry, I'd have to *strongly* disagree. CPUs, RAM, large
                                  monitors, scanners, CD burners, CD-Rs, hard-drives, printers, digital
                                  cameras, and flat-panel displays (like what's in the Prius) have all
                                  experienced both massive price drops and huge technological
                                  improvements within just the last few years.

                                  That 110 pound battery-pack in the Prius represents more NiMH than
                                  any person would have purchased in their entire lifetime. Now
                                  they'll need that much everytime they purchase a vehicle. And
                                  imagine if every vehicle on the road used NiMH batteries (17 million
                                  new vehicles are sold in just the US every year)... the competition
                                  would be fierce. Smaller, more powerful, less expensive battery
                                  technology would be developed by some manufacturers just as a matter
                                  of economic survival (especially if they want to avoid shortage
                                  problems).

                                  JOHN
                                  http://home.att.net/~john1701a/
                                • Williams, Sam
                                  The jaded chemist in me agrees with Dr. Ernst. Despite enormous opportunity and tremendous efforts over the last 20 years, advancements in battery
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Nov 3, 2000
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                                    The jaded chemist in me agrees with Dr. Ernst. Despite enormous opportunity
                                    and tremendous efforts over the last 20 years, advancements in battery
                                    technology, though significant, have lagged far behind advancements in
                                    electronics. It's practically a cliche that the all-powerful, amazingly
                                    innovative and useful laptop computer, cell phone, digital camera, etc. etc.
                                    dies at the most inopportune moment HOURS before the claimed lifetime. It
                                    may perform as advertised when new, but inevitably starts it's slow decline
                                    almost immediately. The problem is chemistry, and I suspect the solution
                                    will be chemistry.

                                    In my mind, without a doubt, the biggest risks with this car are battery
                                    related issues, primarily lifetime. I was impressed with the 8-year
                                    warranty, and that carried my risk vs.reward assessment over to the "buy"
                                    side. Right now I have no regrets, I love this car, and admittedly am
                                    obsessed with it (and with these discussion groups).

                                    On the optimistic side, the economies of scale that John refers to are
                                    certain to come. I think it's already begun. The "alleged" replacement
                                    cost has gone from 8k in August to 3.5k in September, or perhaps less.
                                    (Hmmm, at that rate they'll be giving them away in December.) How, when,
                                    and how much to replace our batteries? Time will tell. We'll all be
                                    watching.

                                    Sam Williams



                                    > -----Original Message-----
                                    > From: john1701a [SMTP:john1701a@...]
                                    > Sent: Friday, November 03, 2000 8:47 AM
                                    > To: toyota-prius@egroups.com
                                    > Subject: [toyota-prius] Re: Are you really saving money?
                                    >
                                    > Dr. Schmidbauer Ernst wrote:
                                    > > The price [of NiMH batteries] will not change much in the next
                                    > > years. Price of NiCD did not change much during last 20 years.
                                    >
                                    > Based on examples of significant demand increase in the computer
                                    > industry, I'd have to *strongly* disagree. CPUs, RAM, large
                                    > monitors, scanners, CD burners, CD-Rs, hard-drives, printers, digital
                                    > cameras, and flat-panel displays (like what's in the Prius) have all
                                    > experienced both massive price drops and huge technological
                                    > improvements within just the last few years.
                                    >
                                    > That 110 pound battery-pack in the Prius represents more NiMH than
                                    > any person would have purchased in their entire lifetime. Now
                                    > they'll need that much everytime they purchase a vehicle. And
                                    > imagine if every vehicle on the road used NiMH batteries (17 million
                                    > new vehicles are sold in just the US every year)... the competition
                                    > would be fierce. Smaller, more powerful, less expensive battery
                                    > technology would be developed by some manufacturers just as a matter
                                    > of economic survival (especially if they want to avoid shortage
                                    > problems).
                                    >
                                    > JOHN
                                    > http://home.att.net/~john1701a/
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                    > toyota-prius-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • Marios Leventopoulos
                                    ... I am worried that the point in time at which a battery qualifies for replacement by the warranty is not clear. I have not access to the warranty small
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Nov 3, 2000
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                                      "Williams, Sam" wrote:

                                      > In my mind, without a doubt, the biggest risks with this car are battery
                                      > related issues, primarily lifetime. I was impressed with the 8-year
                                      > warranty, and that carried my risk vs.reward assessment over to the "buy"
                                      > side. Right now I have no regrets, I love this car, and admittedly am
                                      > obsessed with it (and with these discussion groups).

                                      I am worried that the point in time at which a battery qualifies for replacement

                                      by the warranty is not clear.

                                      I have not
                                      access to the warranty small print, so others may correct me here:

                                      What I am worried is that the dealer will not grant a replacement (partial or
                                      complete)
                                      unless the batteries fail completely. As others have pointed out that may not be
                                      until they
                                      are completely dead and cannot even start the ICE. In the meantime Prius will be
                                      able to
                                      run based more and more on
                                      the ICE. Such gradual battery failure will first show up on the mpg readings
                                      but I doubt if that merits battery replacement by the warranty.

                                      More accurate reading would be to measure buttery specs (voltage and Ah),
                                      but that would only be covered if done by an authorized mechanic (=$$) and
                                      still I wonder if the warranty would cover that.

                                      Surely, when it comes to the point that the batteries cannot even start the
                                      ICE the warranty will kick in, but I am concerned that may be years down
                                      in bad/degrading mpg performance.

                                      Info from warranty holders would be enlightening!
                                      Cheers,
                                      -marios
                                    • Bryan Underhill
                                      I have a cell phone with NiMH battery that seems to work just as good now as when I first got it in Dec 1997. The antenna is broke off and the case is cracked
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Nov 3, 2000
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                                        I have a cell phone with NiMH battery that seems to
                                        work just as good now as when I first got it in Dec
                                        1997. The antenna is broke off and the case is
                                        cracked but I just glued it together and it keeps on
                                        working.

                                        I realize 3 yrs isn't that long but I think it
                                        demonstrates they just don't die as easily as some
                                        might lead you to believe. Or maybe I'm just Lucky!

                                        Since my Prius has much better control over the way
                                        charging is done maybe it will last a lot longer.

                                        Bryan ( With the bent up Aqua Ice )


                                        > It's practically a cliche that the
                                        > all-powerful, amazingly
                                        > innovative and useful laptop computer, cell phone,
                                        > digital camera, etc. etc.
                                        > dies at the most inopportune moment HOURS before the
                                        > claimed lifetime. It
                                        > may perform as advertised when new, but inevitably
                                        > starts it's slow decline
                                        > almost immediately. The problem is chemistry, and I
                                        > suspect the solution
                                        > will be chemistry.


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                                      • Paul Opitz
                                        Ealier posting either here on Yahoo indicated that each individual pack in the system has a wire that goes to the Hybrid ECU. This way, the system can
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Nov 3, 2000
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                                          Ealier posting either here on Yahoo indicated that each individual
                                          pack in the system has a wire that goes to the Hybrid ECU. This way,
                                          the system can determine which specific pack needs to be replaced
                                          (and indicate such to repair). My warranty book is in the car, but I
                                          believe that if the ECU is saying bad battery within 8 years, they
                                          will replace only the pack that is causing that message.

                                          Hmmm. This would really unmatch the system, though. Battery systems
                                          that consist of multiple cells should have all cells matched so that
                                          no 1 cell loses charge while other cells are charged. Otherwise, the
                                          deader cells could go into a reverse-charge state. I guess if each
                                          cell is monitored separately, though, this can be managed by not
                                          allowing the overall charge to drop to the point of reversing any 1
                                          cell. Basically, you won't get the benefit of the new packs in the
                                          system until all packs are replaced (if any 1 pack is at 70% rated
                                          capacity, the entire system will be managed as though the entire set
                                          of packs have 70% rated capacity).

                                          p
                                        • James Geraci
                                          I realize most of these points have been covered already so this might seem like a yeah, me too post but I do have a question at the end of it. As was stated
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Nov 4, 2000
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                                            I realize most of these points have been covered already so this might seem
                                            like a 'yeah, me too' post but I do have a question at the end of it.

                                            As was stated earlier the price of a battery is different than the price of
                                            electronics. Most of the amazing price drops you see in the microchip and
                                            TFT panel displays will never affect the battery industry since the scant
                                            parts in a battery haven't really changed much in years (feel free to
                                            correct me on this anyone as I don't open up NiMH batteries as often as I
                                            do computers). I don't think laptop batteries have budged much from the
                                            $80.00 to $120.00 price range that they were at five years ago. Even with
                                            the possible drop in price for new technology, using the last person's
                                            estimate of 17,000,000 cars that would need changing every eight years that
                                            reduces to about 2,000,000 a year. That represents around 1% to 2% (wild
                                            guess here) of the car owning population which might not be a market that
                                            demands that much competition, thus keeping the price a tad higher than we
                                            would like.

                                            Another point, when something gets put into a car its price seems to defy
                                            logic. I still cannot imagine why a CD player that I can buy for $50.00
                                            (and have to been able to for years) for a computer or $150.00 for a stereo
                                            unit (with muti-CD capacity) will cost (what is it, $650.00?) so much more
                                            in a car. To me that price is obscene and I for one will always opt for
                                            the chinchy $50.00 portable job with the cigarette lighter power adapter
                                            and cassete audio adapter to listen to music in my car. Now while I
                                            realize there is an issue for the audiophiles amongst us I draw a line when
                                            I perceive most of the pricetag just being a ridiculously high profit margin.

                                            I do actually have a question about the battery. I know that the manual
                                            idicates and it has also been proven that the Prius can run when it has run
                                            out of fuel for several miles. If the battery is completely dead (due to
                                            drain or whatever other reason) will the gas engine work for speeds below
                                            12 MPH or does the car just sit there? I apologize if this is in the
                                            manual as I haven't finished reading through it yet.

                                            Please understand that some of my statements above are just guesses (like
                                            how many cars there are in the U.S.) but some (like the price of computer
                                            equipment and batteries) I feel pretty confident about.

                                            James
                                            Ordered 8-10-00 and patiently waiting
                                          • RobertSnyder@worldnet.att.net
                                            ... If the NiMH battery is completely dead and the gas engine is off, you have a dead Prius. Call the tow truck and have them carry it to Toyota. The
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Nov 4, 2000
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                                              --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, James Geraci <jgeraci@l...> wrote:
                                              > . . .
                                              > I do actually have a question about the battery. I know that the
                                              > manual idicates and it has also been proven that the Prius can run
                                              > when it has run out of fuel for several miles. If the battery is
                                              > completely dead (due to drain or whatever other reason) will the
                                              > gas engine work for speeds below 12 MPH or does the car just sit
                                              > there? I apologize if this is in the manual as I haven't finished
                                              > reading through it yet.
                                              > . . .
                                              > James
                                              > Ordered 8-10-00 and patiently waiting

                                              If the NiMH battery is completely dead and the gas engine is off, you
                                              have a dead Prius. Call the tow truck and have them carry it to
                                              Toyota. The Starter/Generator (aka MG1) is powered by the NiMH, not
                                              the tiny 12 Volt battery. The Insight has an emergency 12 Volt
                                              starter, but the Prius does not.

                                              If, however, the NiMH battery dies while the gas engine is running
                                              and for some reason you're able to determine this is what the warning
                                              symbol on the screen represents, as long as nothing else in the
                                              hybrid system (MG1, MG2, ECU's, Inverters) has failed, you should be
                                              able to drive to the Toyota dealer. But it's hard to imagine this
                                              happening (other than leaving it in Neutral with the engine running
                                              for several hours). More likely the warning symbol will indicate
                                              that the ECU's or Inverters failed somehow.

                                              There's still no definitive answer on whether the NiMH can be
                                              recharged after full discharge, but at the very least it probably
                                              will lose a bunch of its rated life. So don't try this at home.
                                              This is also why driving after running out of gas is such a bad idea,
                                              you can easily drain the NiMH and end up with an unstartable car that
                                              might need a new NiMH (at least needs a tow to Toyota).

                                              Bottom line, don't run out of gas and don't run out of NiMH charge.
                                              Both are bad for your Prius.

                                              Robert Snyder
                                            • Mike
                                              While I love my Prius,and I m happy abuot my decision to get it, I m disappointed in the battery capacity in the Prius. I read with interest the debate about
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Nov 6, 2000
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                                                While I love my Prius,and I'm happy abuot my decision to get it, I'm
                                                disappointed in the battery capacity in the Prius. I read with interest the
                                                debate about the cost of the batteries. My thoughts so far:

                                                I figure that in the Prius, for the several thousand dollars we get around
                                                1778 watt-hours of capacity.

                                                I've been buying "deep discharge" lead-acid batteries at Wal Mart for
                                                around $50; these have a 115 amp-hour rating at 12V, which works out to
                                                around 1380 watt-hours of storage.

                                                I use them for electrical power in my motor home and auxiliary power in my
                                                custom van. They are also handy when we lose electricity in winter storms
                                                to keep the refrigerator and other essentials running.

                                                These batteries weigh 53 pounds; I think I remember a post that said the
                                                Prius battery pack weighs 110 pounds. If that's correct, two of these would
                                                have considerably more power at slightly less weight than the Prius
                                                battery, and cost a tad over $100 vs many thousands for the Prius battery.

                                                While lead acid batteries theoretically can have a service life of 15
                                                years, in mobile service we generally get three years or so (as experienced
                                                in ordinary car batteries.

                                                So if the Prius had regular lead acid batteries we might replace them a
                                                little more often, but they would be much cheaper, we could buy them
                                                anywhere and we could do it ourselves in a few minutes.

                                                And it would be nice to have the option, if we so chose, to add a few more
                                                batteries and have more capacity.

                                                I believe that having more battery capacity would enable greater use of
                                                regeneratibe braking, especially for those who live on mountains, because a
                                                small battery can charge quickly and the energy produced by regenerative
                                                braking is wasted if there's no place to store it.

                                                I'm already thinking of adding some of these batteries in the trunk and an
                                                inverter and control circuitry to parallel the hybrid battery pack in such
                                                a way as to "fool" the Prius computer into thinking its battery has all
                                                this capacity.

                                                Now if I could have some control over when the ICE runs. I'll have a post
                                                on my thoughts on this subject later.

                                                Love my Prius after 1800 miles in thelast three weeks.

                                                Mike
                                              • Mike
                                                ... Thanks for the response. My thought was to use an inverter to bring the voltage up, and to parallel as many batteries as storage I wanted, consistent with
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Nov 6, 2000
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                                                  At 12:26 AM 11/7/00 +0000, you wrote:
                                                  >wouldn't you need twelve or twenty four of the lead acid batteries to
                                                  >get the voltage of the prius battery pack?
                                                  >Charlie

                                                  Thanks for the response.

                                                  My thought was to use an inverter to bring the voltage up, and to parallel
                                                  as many batteries as storage I wanted, consistent with how much weight it
                                                  is practical to carry.

                                                  Some electronics could also detect when the hybrid battery was under charge
                                                  and divert some of that energy back to the lead-acids.

                                                  Mike
                                                • Mike
                                                  ... I m aware that at higher current drain the capacity diminishes; I was trying to do an initial quick-and-dirty comparison. Actually, adding more batteries
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Nov 8, 2000
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                                                    >I appreciate your point, though the comparison isn't quite as one-sided
                                                    >as it might appear.
                                                    >
                                                    >The 12v lead-acid battery's capacity is at the 20-hour discharge rate.
                                                    >Its capacity at the 1-hour rate (far more typical for EV use) is only
                                                    >about half as much. It has a moderately high internal resistance, so the
                                                    >voltage under load is more like 11.5v. So, this 12v 115ah battery
                                                    >actually delivers around 11.5v x 57ah = 655 watt-hours. 655 / 53 lbs =
                                                    >12 watt-hours per pound.
                                                    >
                                                    >The Prius pack is rated 274v and 6.5 amphours at the 3-hour rate. Given
                                                    >the low internal resistance, this probably falls to 270v and 6ah at the
                                                    >1-hour rate, or 1620 watt-hours. If it weighs 110 lbs, then 1620 / 110 =
                                                    >15 watt-hours per pound, which is higher indeed higher. The extra money
                                                    >*did* buy extra performance.
                                                    >
                                                    >However, I'm with you. I'm not sure the extra money and complexity
                                                    >bought *enough* performance to be worth all the extra complexity and
                                                    >risk.
                                                    >
                                                    >> I'm already thinking of adding some of these batteries in the trunk
                                                    >> and an inverter and control circuitry to parallel the hybrid battery
                                                    >> pack in such a way as to "fool" the Prius computer into thinking its
                                                    >> battery has all this capacity.
                                                    >
                                                    >It's a good plan, but I don't think the flooded marine deep cycle
                                                    >batteries are the best choice. Hawker or Optima AGM sealed lead-acid
                                                    >batteries would be better able to handle the high peak currents, and
                                                    >would be easier to mount safely.
                                                    >
                                                    >> Now if I could have some control over when the ICE runs.
                                                    >
                                                    >Ah, now that's the tough part! How do we integrate still another power
                                                    >"driver" into the Prius's "operating system"?

                                                    I'm aware that at higher current drain the capacity diminishes; I was
                                                    trying to do an initial "quick-and-dirty" comparison. Actually, adding more
                                                    batteries (in parallel) will reduce the drain on each one, therefore
                                                    gaining more capacity than the amp/hour rating per battery might indicate,
                                                    and help make the higher internal resistance less of a factor.

                                                    And at some point I know there would be diminishing returns from adding
                                                    capacity and carrying around the extra weight. Such a system would at least
                                                    let us make that tradeoff on an individual basis.

                                                    And I agree that there are most likely batteries better suited than the Wal
                                                    Mart variety, I was just using that as an example of readily available
                                                    technology at an affordable price.

                                                    Much of my dissappointment (but I still really love the car) comes from the
                                                    fact that the Prius is apparently programmed to warm up the ICE whether it
                                                    needs it or not, and much of my driving involves trips of less than a mile.
                                                    When I ordered my Prius one of my biggest incentives was in the thought
                                                    that I could do a lot of these short trips without burning gas, and after
                                                    having the car for a while I came to the realization that this just was not
                                                    to be.

                                                    I say "whether it needs it or not" with the thought that I know, but the
                                                    computer doesn't, that I'm only going a quarter or half mile, that there's
                                                    no need to warm up the ICE, and when it is actually needed it can warm up
                                                    then while actually doing useful work, and not waste gas running when it'll
                                                    never get a chance to warm up properly.

                                                    And why couldn't it run if it needs to charge the battery even when the car
                                                    is parked and not in use? That would solve several problems I see posted here.

                                                    I'm a little surprised the Toyota engineers didn't think of these things.

                                                    And I still can't reconcile yet that most of the time when I park while
                                                    running on a fully charged battery the engine starts when I put the lever
                                                    in park as I reach for the key to turn the car off. I can't see the logic
                                                    in that. And it sort of kills the "stealth mode" surprise.

                                                    I sure would like to be able to control when the ICE starts, and I could
                                                    accept the computer taking control of that when it thinks the battery is
                                                    getting too low on charge.

                                                    I'm sure somebody soon will start hacking the Prius OS and maybe let us
                                                    play with some of these ideas.

                                                    FROM OTHER POSTINGS:
                                                    >I don't think most inverters function bi-directionally, so this
                                                    >could get really messy...

                                                    >just my 2p worth...

                                                    >Pete

                                                    I was going to use a separate circuit to go the other way; something that
                                                    would sense when the battery was being charged and divert some of that
                                                    energy to the additional battery. Maybe impractical, but its a thought
                                                    running in the back of my head.

                                                    >Upgrading the voltage with an inverter would use quite a bit of your >stored
                                                    >energy (up to 20% I believe). Also you will need to make sure that all
                                                    >components will be of similar specs as the original battery pack, as far
                                                    >as charging and disscharging rates for different powerloads, etc.

                                                    >Possibly we can get some good info from the EV and Alternative Energy
                                                    >groups.
                                                    >I will crosspost there and see if we get some good advise.

                                                    >-marios

                                                    Yes I realize there would be some losses; I'd like to study those issues
                                                    more. Even if the idea is impractical, I think its worth looking into.

                                                    Thanks for everyone's input; I look forward to continuing discussion along
                                                    these lines.

                                                    I was already designing a hybrid car when I learned about the Prius, and I
                                                    bought it in part to get some hands-on experience. I'm still going ahead
                                                    with my hybrid project. It incorporates some of the ideas above. I guess I
                                                    just think a little differently from the Toyota folks, but I guess that's OK.

                                                    I leased the Prius for three years thinhing I would complete my hybrid
                                                    project in that time and then decide whether to keep my Prius or give it
                                                    back and either enjoy my creation or buy from probably a choice of vastly
                                                    improved hybrid vehicles available then.

                                                    Mike
                                                  • Sam Williams
                                                    Your question prompted me to actually read all the warranty stuff, and doing so did not elucidate much. The Prius Owners Warranty Information booklet, one
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Nov 11, 2000
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                                                      Your question prompted me to actually read all the warranty stuff,
                                                      and doing so did not elucidate much. The "Prius Owners Warranty
                                                      Information" booklet, one of about a dozen little booklets handed me
                                                      when I picked up the car, says the following on page 8:

                                                      -----
                                                      Hybrid Vehicle System Warranty
                                                      This warranty covers repairs needed to correct defects in materials
                                                      or workmanship of the components listed here and supplied by Toyota,
                                                      subject to the exceptions indicated under "What is Not Covered" on
                                                      pages 10-11:
                                                      -Battery control module
                                                      -Hybrid control module
                                                      -Hybrid vehicle battery pack
                                                      -Inverter with converter
                                                      Coverage is for 96 months or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
                                                      -----

                                                      The "What is Not Covered" list is a long one that includes fire,
                                                      accidents, theft, abuse, negligence, misuse, improper repairs,
                                                      alteration or tampering, lack of or improper maintenance, tree sap,
                                                      road debris, rail dust, salt, hail, floods, wind storms, lightening,
                                                      and water contamination.

                                                      The power split device, motor, and generator are listed under the
                                                      Powertrain Warranty and thus are covered for 60 months or 60,000
                                                      miles. (At one time I thought those were "hybrid" components and
                                                      covered under the hybrid warranty - not so.)

                                                      So, we have 1)no mention in the warranty of what constitutes battery
                                                      failure, and 2)we fully expect these NiMH batteries to suffer a slow
                                                      and steady decline. Sounds like a situation ripe for controversy a
                                                      few years down the road. Some experiences with the 1997 Japanese
                                                      model might be helpful.

                                                      Sam Williams



                                                      --- In toyota-prius@egroups.com, Marios Leventopoulos <mml@d...>
                                                      wrote:
                                                      > "Williams, Sam" wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > > In my mind, without a doubt, the biggest risks with this car are
                                                      battery
                                                      > > related issues, primarily lifetime. I was impressed with the 8-
                                                      year
                                                      > > warranty, and that carried my risk vs.reward assessment over to
                                                      the "buy"
                                                      > > side. Right now I have no regrets, I love this car, and
                                                      admittedly am
                                                      > > obsessed with it (and with these discussion groups).
                                                      >
                                                      > I am worried that the point in time at which a battery qualifies
                                                      for replacement
                                                      >
                                                      > by the warranty is not clear.
                                                      >
                                                      > I have not
                                                      > access to the warranty small print, so others may correct me here:
                                                      >
                                                      > What I am worried is that the dealer will not grant a replacement
                                                      (partial or
                                                      > complete)
                                                      > unless the batteries fail completely. As others have pointed out
                                                      that may not be
                                                      > until they
                                                      > are completely dead and cannot even start the ICE. In the meantime
                                                      Prius will be
                                                      > able to
                                                      > run based more and more on
                                                      > the ICE. Such gradual battery failure will first show up on the mpg
                                                      readings
                                                      > but I doubt if that merits battery replacement by the warranty.
                                                      >
                                                      > More accurate reading would be to measure buttery specs (voltage
                                                      and Ah),
                                                      > but that would only be covered if done by an authorized mechanic
                                                      (=$$) and
                                                      > still I wonder if the warranty would cover that.
                                                      >
                                                      > Surely, when it comes to the point that the batteries cannot even
                                                      start the
                                                      > ICE the warranty will kick in, but I am concerned that may be years
                                                      down
                                                      > in bad/degrading mpg performance.
                                                      >
                                                      > Info from warranty holders would be enlightening!
                                                      > Cheers,
                                                      > -marios
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