Realistic battery life

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Andres V, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Andres V

    Andres V New Member

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    Bought it used 1 year ago. Did at least 30000 km till now. Fuel economy overall the same since I got it. 4.5-4.6 L/100km, haven't seen so much variation. I mostly drive in the city with some occasional out of the city trip but I drive around 60km per day.

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  2. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Doing it that way will buy you time. Could be years, months, weeks, or even days. You are playing what I call "whack-a-mole"

    whack-a-mole2-487x365.jpg

    You fix one and it is a very temporary fix. Then another will go. You fix it and it is temporary. Then another. It just keeps repeating and never ends.

    The Prius doesn't care much about the capacity of the pack. What it cares about is the difference between the blocks within the pack. If all the cells are equally crap and have 15% capacity left and 400% the internal resistance no error codes just poor fuel economy and quick charging and discharging. But we don't live in an ideal world where things age identically. There will inevitably be variations, even very slight variations which will eventually cause a code to be thrown.

    When you replace a single battery module, to get the best results you ideally want a matching battery module. It has failed (Techstream will tell you which block and then you can measure which of the 2 is the more bad one) so this battery module is no longer like-enough to the other 27. You need to find 1 battery module that is like-enough to those 27. If you replace the failed 1 with a brand new battery module, you will immediately get failures. It is too dissimilar to the rest of the pack. The game you have to play is to find a battery module on the used market that matches the 27 you have in the car. Usually you will fail at this. How good your match find is, is how long it will last. Hence the days/weeks/months of potential fix time.

    This is why the most reliable way of rebuilding a pack is to collect thousands and thousands of used modules. Test and characterize each one. You can then statistically find 28 from this sample set of thousands that is quantitatively similar enough to make a single pack. It will still have low capacity and high internal resistance. But they will be pretty equivalently terrible which is all the car asks for.

    Now here's the problem. In the peak of rebuilds finding thousands of modules wasn't too hard. You had a good mix of new cells and old cells. High mileage new ones, low mileage old ones. Ones that lived at high temp their whole life, ones that were barely used in a mild climate. So finding a match was possible. Today, there is almost no surplus. There are lots of companies that offer this service. About 2 or 3 of them are big enough that they can still do this. All the fly-by-the-night mechanics that do it on the side, may have 5 or 10 packs sitting around. Finding 28 matching modules out of 280 is pretty difficult and they usually don't last long.

    If your goal is to fix it and unload it to someone else you really don't like, then the whack-a-mole approach with balancing will buy you the time.

    If your goal is to actually keep the car, then get a new battery. You only have 2 options. Buy the one from Toyota or buy the one from me. Both require DIY in the battery. Even if you were to buy a Toyota pack at a dealership if you drove to the US you could get it done in the $2500 - $3000 range.
     
    Mendel Leisk and Raytheeagle like this.
  3. davecook89t

    davecook89t Active Member

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    One of the first things I did when I bought my Gen 2 Prius a couple of years ago was open up the side panels and check the HV battery fan. I was fortunate that it was relatively clean, a light layer of dust only, but I took it out and scrubbed it down anyway. I guess it's not likely that either of the 2 previous owners of my car traveled with any pets, because I have seen examples online of how clogged with pet hair a fan can get, especially the Gen 2 cars. I don't know if you were able to see what came out of your car's fan, but I would be curious to know. Perhaps there are other circumstances apart from having pets in the car that can cause a fan to be clogged. In any event, if your car had been operated for a period of years with insufficient cooling of the HV battery due to a compromised fan, I would suspect that would be the main culprit for your premature failure. If you are considering spending money to fix the car's battery, I would guess you really like the car, apart from the current battery issues you are having. With its relatively low miles, it should be good for many more years once you take care of this "Achilles heel". I would definitely recommend going with the new battery from Toyota or @2k1Toaster rather than any of the alternatives. Just keep an eye on that fan from now on.
     
  4. Andres V

    Andres V New Member

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    Hi @2k1Toaster. I keep reading about different options, I still haven't decided what to do and meanwhile my car is still in my garage, it's getting annoying to lend a car from others but at the end that's my problem... one thing I'm sure of, I am definitely discarting the idea of the cell swap. Most of the info I read confirms that it's a temporary fix. Since I was planning on doing it myself and I still can't figure out how to level equally each cell (I'm no engineer or electrician), I can't be asked to go through all that work for having it fail after a month.
    I was checking out your product too, seems strange the packs are made with cylindrical cells but at the end they are made so they fit the same prismatic, "slate" like cells right?
    The thing that discourages me from buying a rebuilt battery or for that matter your solution is the battery life. 25000 mi warranty it's nothing for me. I get that warranty is one thing and life expectancy is another, the warranty will always be less, but in your experience how long is the life expectancy really on your batteries? I did 21000 mi just in the past year.
    I am still checking different companies batteries but their duration it's not that different, standard warranties for 1 year 15-20k mi. I'm getting the impression I'm loosing all the advantages of this great fuel efficiency by changing this forsaken battery every 1 to 2 years. Talking about critical car components a normal combustion engine won't need a new engine not even in 10 years... At the end a new Toyota battery it's starting to be more appealing.
    Sorry for my frustrated tone, I just lost my car in an accident last year to be in the same situation again after a year, I really feel an idiot for having bought a used hybrid and the worst is I thought I informed myself enough before making this decision but apparently not.
     
    #44 Andres V, Oct 11, 2018 at 9:30 AM
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 10:48 AM
  5. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    It sounds like you need either a brand new car or a brand new pack. There are a few places in Texas that should be able to broker you a brand new OEM battery pack and maybe even do the install cheaply. At least get the pack for you. Lots of places don't sell to "normal people". The only other option for a new pack is me. I will ship to MX but it costs more than shipping to the Texas border and you picking it up (which is FREE).

    I wouldn't use the word weird, that was the design goal! Yes they fit the original prismatic pair-of-modules footprint and replace each pair of modules with a single module. 6 cells per pair of original modules for 12 cells total is equivalent to the 12 cells in my single module.

    Like you said, battery life and warranty have minimal relationship. Keep in mind that Toyota now gives a 1 year unlimited miles warranty on their batteries that aren't installed at a dealership, and 3 years unlimited miles on a battery installed at a dealership. They also give a 36K mile warranty on the engine. Doesn't mean it blows up at 36,001 miles.

    Warranties mean liability. The time of a warranty offer is directly translated to cost of the liability for the business. Toyota, a multi-billion dollar business, offers less warranty than I do in your case (21k miles in a year for you).

    The only two options for new batteries that perform like new original batteries are Toyota and myself. Any other battery is going to be a rebuilt. That the difference of putting a salvage yard part on versus a brand new part. Salvage yard part will work but will fail much sooner. It already has lived a healthy long life before you even got it.

    Nobody but a fool changes their battery every 1-2 years. Those fools are anyone that buys a rebuilt or used battery. Brand new battery should last you just as long as the original.

    I've got my packs in taxi's that do way more miles than you in a year without issue so far. Same with Toyota.
     
  6. Andres V

    Andres V New Member

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    It all depends if I decide to keep the car or not. If I do keep it I think I'm buying the pack from you and I'm coming to get them at the border for sure with a friend that lives in Laredo. So your batteries and Toyota's are the same and last the same... I really hope so, I really love my car it's the best I have ever owned, and if I'll have the liquidity I'll keep buy Priuses only from now on. It would really hurt me to sell it for cheap. I'll just have to wait a little longer to get the money. How can I pay you from here, PayPal would be good for you?

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #46 Andres V, Oct 12, 2018 at 1:30 AM
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 10:03 AM
  7. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    They aren't the same, but pretty much as close as possible.

    You can order on the website and pay via credit card if you want. If you're driving up to Texas you may want to check local dealerships there to see what they can do for you on a dealer installed Toyota battery. If you don't want to DIY, that's your best option. If you're up for the DIY, just make an order on the site.
     
  8. Andres V

    Andres V New Member

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    Thank you I'll keep you posted. In the case I decide and sell it, I'm buying the most affordable battery and sell it ASAP.

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