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RE: [toyota-prius] Re: Are you really saving money?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 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 17 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 18 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 19 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 20 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 21 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 22 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 23 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 24 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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