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Lithium Battery swap

Discussion in 'Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Brunto, Dec 8, 2023.

  1. Brunto

    Brunto New Member

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    Howdy!

    2013 Prius C
    185k miles

    I've recently seen a P0A80 error code and am now shopping for a replacement battery. I've been curious about Project Lithium, and I've got a guy in town who will do the swap for $2200 (including the battery, of course, and tax included). I'm almost prepared to pull the trigger; however... Man, Dr. Prius' video makes that swap look really simple. I mean... tons of bolts to remove and components to disconnect and reconnect, but overall, a pretty simple process.

    I definitely wouldn't classify myself as a mechanic by any stretch. But I'm a capable handyman when I've got a need right in front of me. What are the risks of doing the replacement myself?

    Thank you!
    Matt
     
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  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Yes it's easy and there's lots of youtube videos about battery removal and repair to study. The hardest part is having good safety practices when you're doing this the first time and new to the risks. Also double checking all your work is essential as one bolt that doesn't get tightened can generate a lot of heat that can damage the cells in the battery pack. But it's definitely easier with a PriusC than a regular Prius.

    And if you're ready to do this today, there's a very limited release of packs that were supposed to be sold out, but available today and likely sold out again by tomorrow. If you use my affiliate link I can offer you unlimited tech support too: http://www.projectlithium.com/?ref=9qLPw
     
    #2 PriusCamper, Dec 8, 2023
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2023
  3. bdc101

    bdc101 Member

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    Have you worked around electricity very much before? I don't mean building a PC, I mean voltages that can hurt you.
     
  4. Brunto

    Brunto New Member

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    I wire things around the house. I've done some electrical drive-train troubleshooting in my old F150. Done a little bit of HVAC work way in my past. I weld. Routinely work with 240, though I've had to work on commercial heaters in another life that run on 480.

    But is that a legit danger, here? I'm not arguing. You guys are the ones in the know! ;) Genuinely asking. I know you're dealing with batteries potentially holding some residual charge, but assuming safe handling of the battery, what are the other risks? Any risk to the Prius if you overlook something? Any risk to the new battery?

    Thank you! I'll gladly use your affiliate link! I likely need to wait until tomorrow. And if that means they're sold out, again... Well, crud. I'll have to wait for the next re-stock. How often does new stock arrive, on average? Do you know?
     
    #4 Brunto, Dec 8, 2023
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2023
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  5. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Let me know if they've sold out? On a couple of occasions in the past couple years I've been able to get them to be back in stock long enough for someone I'm friends with to make a purchase. If need be, I'll see if I can do the same for you... They're a very generous company that knows how valuable it is to help people as much as possible!
     
  6. bdc101

    bdc101 Member

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    Sounds like you will be fine. It's pretty easy to send yourself to the hospital with 200+ volts DC is all. DC is more dangerous than AC, but more than that, it's a battery and there's basically unlimited short circuit current, which can melt things, start fires, and burn you instantly even if it doesn't electrocute you. A friend of mine who converted an old vehicle to electric nearly killed himself this year because he was careless turning a wrench and shorted out the batteries just momentarily. You can do it safely, of course, just want to make sure you have a general awareness of what you are working with.

    How often do they get new shipments? I have been looking recently but noticed they just came back in stock. Do they sell out and get new shipments frequently?
     
    #6 bdc101, Dec 10, 2023
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2023
  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    It's fairly unpredictabe... It's based on their R&D of a very small number of packs that have problems because they are constantly trying to find ways to improve the packs they sell and sometimes when they find a really good upgrade, they stop production to switch over to the new design.

    The V2.5 upgrade for example has vent holes in the bottom of the module because a battery pack that lives close to the equator in a super hot climate has shown heat-related deterioration that might prevent it from a 10+ year lifespan. As the owner says:

    "We name ourselves “Project Lithium” because we will never stop to improve our product. We might run into bump sometime but we will get back up and continue to evolve."
     
  8. Brunto

    Brunto New Member

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    @PriusCamper @bdc101

    I think I've decided to go ahead and hire someone to do the swap for me. Mostly, because of the convenience of having warrantied work done that will give me some peace of mind for at least a coupe of years.

    However, now I'm feeling a little restrained by the relatively short manufacturer warranty for a product that is pretty new, still being refined, and doesn't yet have 5+ years of real-world performance and reliability data to help me make a decision. I don't expect you guys to make the decision for me. That's on me. Just trying to color in as much of the picture as possible before pulling the trigger:

    Project Lithium warranties the battery for 2 years; local installer warranties his install for 2 years at a $2200 price tag (battery + labor). What's y'all's feeling about the battery experiencing problems after the warranties expire?

    Alternatively, NiMH batteries can be installed locally for about $2000 with a lifetime warranty.

    I'm pretty sure I'd like to make the upgrade. Just trying to make peace with the comparatively short warranty.
     
  9. bdc101

    bdc101 Member

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    Where do you find a NIMH battery replacement with install for $2,000 and a lifetime warranty? That must be a used battery for that price, and they are going to lifetime warranty it?
     
  10. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    The prototype pack in my Prius is about to hit 40 months of use and has the same cells as new packs. Also there's a guy who already put 200K miles on his pack and Jack gave him a free new pack just so he could study his pack and project forward on the capacity of the cells holding up past the one decade goal. He made a youtube video about those calculations: Hybrid App - YouTube

    Also, as each new version of the pack comes the owner understands existing customers will want it so he's planning a huge discount for existing customers so whenever your mechanic doing your install has someone to buy your old pack at a discounted price you'll likely be able to get a new pack in your car at next to no additional cost.

    Let me know if you have any more questions?
     
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  11. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    GreenBean has something similar to that on their rebuilt batteries. I think it's less than 2000 dollars. People I know who have that warranty think its a good way to go.
     
  12. Brunto

    Brunto New Member

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    Both GreenBean and PriusKings have lifetime warranties for 2k or less. Admittedly, they're remanufactured batteries—both claiming to only use OEM parts in the process. It ain't new.

    This was super helpful, Camper. I think probably my last question:
    I've been planning another road trip to Montana from Houston, TX. It's about an 1800-mile trip, roughly 500mi/day. I-25 through Denver misses the more significant elevation gains, so it's not a terribly treacherous trek for the little Prius. I was making plans to make this trip around April or May of 2024. Are you sufficiently confident in your experience with your Lithium that you'd feel comfortable making such a drive? If the answer is "Yes," I'll pull the trigger on an install tomorrow. I did see they're currently sold out, of course. What's the typical gap between pockets of availability?

    [One other thing... the local installer understandably won't warranty customer-purchased batteries, so he needs to order it. I'll be sure to see if I can convince him to use your affiliate link.]
     
    #12 Brunto, Dec 13, 2023
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2023
  13. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I always say that other than rebuilding and reconditioning a long road trip is the best thing you can do for an older OEM battery pack because all the use always seemed to improve its performance for a few days after the trip. Not sure if that applies to Lithium-based packs? But if you want to feel like your car is running better than before on your road trip...

    Of course the problem is the owner of Project Lithium is a perfectionist and worries too much. So every time he finds a way to improve his design he shuts down production and no longer builds the outdated version. I'm pretty sure he'll have more packs for sale in early January and might be able to provide one to your mechanic sooner than that. Perhaps you can facilitate a business relationship with the Project Lithium owner and the mechanic? I think he has price breaks for mechanics who install them.