New Prius (2017) enhanced with a hybrid battery heater?

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by Mike Tetro, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Mike Tetro

    Mike Tetro New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2018
    2
    1
    0
    Location:
    Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Technology
    I just bought a 2017 Prius (Technology trim).

    Attached to one of the Smart keys I received, was a small white tag with a Toyota logo mentioning :

    " This vehicle has been enhanced with a hybrid battery heater. Plug-in your vehicle if parked in temperatures of -30°C or less. Refer to P.84 of your owner's manual for more information".
    When I consult my owner's manual at page 84, there is at the bottom of the page a sticker that has been added. It mentions :

    " Hybrid battery (traction battery) heating system

    Your vehicle has been quipped with a hybrid battery heating system. If the hybrid battery temperature is expected to drop below approximately -30°C while parked, connect vehicle to a household ground fault interrupt [GFI] outlet to increase battery temperature. Electrical plug is located under-hood near the headlamp. "
    As a matter of fact, there is under-hood, at left, near the head lamp, a black electrical power plug. Now, I never asked for a battery heater to be installed!

    So many questions come up to my mind. Maybe someone here can help me understand.

    1- Is this a common added feature to any Prius sold in a cold country such as Canada?

    2- If not, why has it been added to the model I bought? (No one at my car dealer has answered this question yet).

    3- Is this battery heater the same as a block heater?

    4- If so, should I verify if my battery heater is a heater recalled by Toyota in 2017?

    5- Has other people here also have a battery heater such as mine?

    Thanks!
     
    RCO likes this.
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,697
    12,267
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    Ohh that's interesting. Yes that's new for 2017 (for 2016, the Touring and Technology trim levels were not available outside of Toronto, Montréal or Vancouver).

    1. No. This is the first time we've seen it in a Prius. Recall that the Touring and Technology trim levels use a Li-Ion battery. The base model (and all older Prii) use a NiMH battery which has been robust in cold temperatures (I've driven it in air temperatures as low as -46°C)
    2. Probably because it has a li-ion battery
    3. I'm guessing no.
    4. If there is a heater recall, then yes. I thought it was an engine block heater but better to be safe and double check.
    5. I guess I'll let other Canadian/US owners chime in

    Intéressant. Oui, c'est nouveau pour 2017. La Toyota Prius 2016 modèles Touring et Technologie étaient disponible exclusif à Toronto, Montréal et Vancouver seulement.

    1. No. C'est le prémier fois dans un Prius. Modèles précédents ont utilisé une batterie au nickel-métal hydrure et aussi la gamme basse pour 2017. La batterie est robuste dans les températures très froid (J'ai conduit mon Prius dans le température de -46°C).
    2. Je pense que c'est à cause de la batterie au lithium-ion
    3. Je ne pense pas
    4. Oui, s'il y a un rappel. Je pense que le rappel était pour le chauffe-bloc moteur mais je pourrais être incorrect
    5. J'attendrai que les autres parlent
     
  3. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    3,708
    5,156
    0
    Location:
    Cornwall
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Whatever, it's a great idea for you guys in the less than tropical climes h especially for those winters!!
    By the way, welcome to Prius Chat and keep in touch with us when you can. :)
     
  4. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    5,963
    1,940
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    I'll check when my friend's Tech. package comes in next week.

    There is a warning in the owners manual that he found that says the battery may not "be available" when the temperature is below -30C. Don't you just love these strange comments?

    The recall was for the block heater. As I have been harping incessantly, it's a poorly thought out design, trying to conduct 400W of power through heat sink grease. It dries out and the heater element overheats. It's also hard on the cord end that plugs into it as it operates at a rather high temperature. I don't think this will apply for the battery heater. It would be a "blanket type" I assume, or bolted to some plate on the battery, and wouldn't be too powerful or operate that hot.

    The only "block heater" I would accept is the type that inserts through a "frost plug" to be immersed in the coolant. Like a tea kettle. ;) The actual element (heater "wire") doesn't get hotter than boiling water, so it lasts a long time. Unless you have no coolant in the engine. But then you have other issues. ;)
     
    RCO likes this.
  5. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    5,963
    1,940
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Via the "grapevine" so take my comments with a pound of salt.

    Well, my friends 2018 is "in" (the dealer's garage), and they "have" to install the "new" "block heater", according to Toyota Canada. Now I know you guys in California find the old 400W heater just fine, but up here in Canada it is basically unnoticeable in -20C and below weather. When you actually need it, even though it isn't powerful enough. But I digress.

    The "fix" to an overheating 400W block heater is to make it a 200W block heater, maybe with a new and better cord and connector. Unbelievable!

    Thanking the gods, if there be any, that I managed to get Pearl S without that 400W fire starter that they wanted HOW MANY dollars to install?!

    Still waiting to actually see the car and whether it also has a battery heater.

    Next week, I guess. Once delivered I'll take measurements of the "block heater" and battery heater if installed.

    Oh, and my friend is happy, the dealership is treating him well. It's in actually earlier than promised.
     
    RCO likes this.
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,697
    12,267
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    @David Beale The new block heater could be part of the recall.

    I still use mine on my Gen 3 when it gets near/below freezing.
     
    RCO likes this.
  7. Mike Tetro

    Mike Tetro New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2018
    2
    1
    0
    Location:
    Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Technology
    Thanks for your answers!

    Finally I think those battery heaters are not concerned by the block heaters recall.

    I hope the Li-Ion battery will be as strong as the NiMH battery. Since I can't plug my battery heater at home (I park on the street), I wish that those future cold winter days won't kill my car.

    Thanks!


    You are right : I feel a bit uncomfortable about those strange comments.

    I hope the Li-Ion battery will be as strong as the NiMH battery. Since I can't plug my battery heater at home (I park on the street), I wish that those future cold winter days won't kill my car.

    I now cross my fingers...

    Thanks! Let me know!
     
    #7 Mike Tetro, Apr 23, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2018
  8. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,697
    12,267
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    It may not kill it but you may not be able to start the car until the battery temperature has risen above a certain temperature.
     
    RCO likes this.
  9. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    5,963
    1,940
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    On the plus side, the LiIon battery is more efficient at accepting and delivering charge. This is probably why it's smaller in capacity than the NiMH battery.

    We just don't know about how long it will last, but I'm betting it's going to be just fine. Fewer cells should mean better reliability. It sure looks well constructed in the videos.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    87,401
    38,906
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    how often does it go below -30c? this sounds potentially serious, and something toyota should make sure dealers make potential buyers aware of.
     
  11. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,697
    12,267
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    Yup. Freaked me out when the Gen 4 showed 1 bar (which never happened in the Gen 3 and only happened once in the Gen 2). But it tops up really fast (combination of the battery chemistry and the more efficient regen braking). It's more than happy to use the battery so it will fluctuate more than the NiMH. For those who are seasoned Prius owners that are upgrading to a Gen 4 with Li-Ion battery - the large and frequent fluctuation in battery SOC is normal!

    (ok not that frequently. I don't mean to make it sound like it goes up and down like a yo-yo. But the software does make it seem more eager to go into EV mode and has no problem using the battery charge since it can regen it back pretty quickly)
     
    RCO likes this.
  12. goldfinger

    goldfinger Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    535
    392
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    If it gets that cold I'm staying inside. The record for Buffalo NY was -29C in 1934.
     
    bisco likes this.
  13. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    5,963
    1,940
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Got to the car today, and it has a 200W block heater. No battery heater seen (no cord). This is a 2018 Advanced Technology package Canadian car. The block heater has a much nicer abrasion resistant cord. I see it also has no solar panel and a slightly smaller sunroof (compared to Pearl S) with tilt or slide action. It has a funny looking thing, battery maybe, under the hood too. ;)
     
    krmcg likes this.
  14. Leo

    Leo Leo

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    67
    11
    0
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    I have the 2017 Technology Edition as well. I live in Ottawa, Canada, where temperatures below 30C have been seen.
    The first time I opened the hood I saw this power cable with a plug and I thought it was for an engine block heater. However, it is actually for the traction battery heater. I have the same sticker on page 84 of the manual .
    It is highly unlikely that I will ever need it, as I park indoors in an apartment heated garage.
     
    RCO likes this.
  15. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    5,963
    1,940
    0
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    I would love to actually see or see a picture of this battery heater. I have a "Battery Blanket", a plastic encased thing you wrap around a lead-acid 12V battery, but using that would probably cause overheating of the traction battery. The one I have is 60W, but does make a big difference in the dead of winter! Cars and trucks that have one powered up would actually start! Even when maybe they shouldn't. Not sure how they would heat the traction battery, maybe heat an aluminum plate slid under the traction battery?

    I wondered if my friend's was actually a battery heater, but the cord traced to the side of the block facing the firewall. Couldn't see exactly where it went after that, but that's where the block heater cord is routed so I "assumed". We all know how reliable that is!
     
    RCO likes this.
  16. Timi

    Timi New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2018
    5
    3
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Technology
    My 2017 Prius Technology came with the battery heater factory installed. Had the block heater recently installed by the dealer and they installed/connected it to the the battery heater harness so I have one plug only for both. You might have them both and be mislead by the one plug. Check with the dealer
     
    #16 Timi, Oct 3, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2018
    krmcg likes this.
Loading...