Taxi company's Prius 'problem'....

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Dino33ca, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    The key items such as the inverter and hv battery were made smaller and lighter and were asked to give more. Doesn't take a layman to know that they're not going to last as long as the over engineered gen2. Toyota UK also saw fit to reduce the hybrid warranty from 8 yrs/100k miles on the gen1 and 2 to only 5 years/60k miles for the gen 3. (this has since been increased).

    I had my inverter fail at 70k miles (out of warranty), though Toyota did replace it for me. My HV battery has been showing signs of aging in that it does cycle from full to empty much much quicker than it did at new. If I go down a local long hill, even using B mode, the HV battery will go to 8/8 bars very quickly and then drop to 2/8 bars for miles after. I'm only at 83k miles. Some time back another European gen3 owning taxi driver had indicated some of his gen3 owning colleagues had suffered hv battery failure at the relatively low mileage of 100k/130k miles. A few months later he suffered that fate too. Obviously one is unable to criticise the Prius in any way and he was hounded off this forum.

    It seems that the gen3 was suffering premature HV battery failure by hard working vehicles such as taxis, whereas the gen2 didn't. There were some US taxi drivers with gen3's who hadn't suffered problems at this low mileage and thus the European drivers were just classed as trolls. Since, it appears that some of these US drivers have suffered hv battery failure at 180k miles. The earlier mileage on European cars is probably because our vehicles drive around smaller, slower streets (think Oxford) where you're lucky to get to 25 mph. This causes frequent and deeper cycling of the HV battery compared to driving along a freeway at 70 mph.

    So whilst the gen2 is very reliable and hardy and capable of driving to 400k miles in taxi use, the gen3 would appear to need more replacement parts such as the inverter (mine at 71k miles) and HV battery at around 150k miles. Would this affect a private (non taxi) owner using the vehicle for a commute at 60 mph? No, I'm sure such a vehicle could happily drive to 200k miles with no issue, but the gen3 is not the solid work horse the gen2 was.

    I'm not really bothered about the long term reliability as I once was as I'm no longer a cabby and Toyota UK last year increased their HV battery warranty to 11 years/unlimited miles (subject to terms and renewal and servicing at Toyota dealers). The replacement cost of the battery is also only £800 which isn't that much in the scheme of things. I'm guessing it's cheap as they're only made 100 miles from me at the Toyota hybrid plant.

    So there you have it. The gen2 is solid, the gen3 less so for hard work. But as you'd imagine, many owners on here won't take criticism and any negative posts about the car results in being hounded as a troll, despite a history of positive posts. Will I replace my Prius with another? Probably not. There is much more competition for fuel efficient cars in Europe (not just diesel) and many incentives for choosing plug in or pure electric. Toyota UK have also changed their pricing structure so that the Prius is classed as a premium or top end product. The base Prius costs more to buy than the base Lexus CT200h!
     
  2. Scallywag

    Scallywag Member

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    Thank you for the reply. I'm very sorry about those who are unreceptive to criticism. I'd heard that Toyota made the hybrid system smaller and lighter (and they're planning to continue that trend with Gen IV) and was concerned about this sort of thing. It's interesting that it seems to be very dependent on how hard the Prius was worked.
     
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    GrumpyCabbie, I wonder if auto manufacturers need to take the cars-used-as-cabs issue head-on? Acknowledge that a cab is a special duty vehicle, and accordingly design and sell a cab-spec version of the Prius. Might even be a good marketing ploy. ;)

     
  4. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Some do. Mercedes are quite supportive of the taxi market as are Peugeot.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    good point on the inverter gc, as we know, the recall has been riddled with customer dissatisfaction. it's almost honda-esque. in fact, i don't understand the difference between toyota, honda, ford and hyundai, as far as government action on mpg reduction.
     
  6. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    With all due respect Grumpy, smaller and lighter doesn't necessarily translate into cheaper, worse or less reliable. It simply means smaller and lighter.

    It's kind of the natural evolution of any machine developed for commercial sales, as well as focused on being efficient, to find ways to become lighter and more efficient.

    When I was considering a Prius in 2009-2010, one of the reasons I "almost" bought a final model year Gen 2, was the thought that it was "tried and true". Curiosity concerning the Gen 3, as well as wanting to avoid the "Gas Bladder" had me delay.

    The Gen 2, does have a great track record of reliability. The Gen 3 has less total years on the road. I think really only the passage of time can really reveal any glaring quality or reliability differences.

    Now as a Gen 3 owner, I'm hoping for continued reliability through the Prius line. I'm banking on things like a beltless engine, and the heat reclamation system as opposed to the Gen 2's coolant thermos, to perhaps aid in that reliability.

    But it's all evolution. The engineering of the Gen 3 was born out of the "over engineering" of the Gen 2. And smaller and lighter helps in better efficiency and even new products like the Prius c.

    There may admittedly be some "owner" bias. But I'm not going to default to the idea that my Gen 3 Prius can't possibly offer me as much reliability or years on the road as a Gen 2.
     
  7. CooCooCaChoo

    CooCooCaChoo Active Member

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    Don't know about that. A car company builds a $30000 hybrid car that lasts 800k km. That car is going to go through a lot of parts.
     
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Thanks for sharing your insights. Other evidence of G3 cost reduction: No MFD provided unless the nav system is installed. The Smart system only works on the driver's door for lower level models. Steel wheels installed on lower level models. I guess these moves were required to keep MSRP of the lower models in the USD$22K range.

    Well, I would not agree that use of an electric engine coolant pump translates to a more reliable engine. At least the most likely failure mode of the mechanical engine coolant pump is well-known (a leaking bearing) and an alert owner will recognize that the pump is failing when pink antifreeze deposits become visible. That owner will have plenty of time to take action and thus there is no reason to be stranded on the side of the road.

    Compare to an electric pump. One day it is fine and the next it stops working when the motor fails. The Prius inverter coolant pump is a well-known example of this behavior. There is no warning before that pump fails. The inverter can tolerate a pump failure in colder weather; the engine definitely will not.

    Regarding the 2G coolant heat recovery system, the complexity of that system does not necessarily lead to reduced engine reliability. The impact of the engine coolant valve sticking in one position may impair cabin heating. Overall though, I would agree the CHRS system is silliness devised just for the North American market to help the 2G Prius qualify for AT-PZEV certification in California. At least Prius owners in CA and the other states observing CARB emissions regs get the longer hybrid vehicle warranty.
     
    #28 Patrick Wong, Jan 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  9. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Isn't driver's door SKS technically a step up from the non-SKS base models of the Gen 2? Those only had remote keyless entry. I'm not a fan of the 1-dr SKS but it is technically a step up even if it's not as convenient as 3-dr SKS (and better than other systems that have proximity lock/unlock but still require the key to start the car lol)
     
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  10. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Are UK Prii built in England?
     
  11. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    No, but the Auris Hybrid is. It's the same size as the Lexus CT200h and based on the Prius running gear.

    I'm not sure if the HV battery is actually built here in the UK or just shipped over in huge numbers, but the fact a hybrid is built locally is probably why the HV battery costs are so cheap for the UK.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    nice looking car, too bad it isn't a little bigger.
     
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Just to clarify: this is United Kingdom Prius?

    MFD is Multi Function Display, ie: the screen displaying navigation, back-up camera, some other functions? Maybe I'm a luddite, but I dislike this trend. Especially for Heat/Vent controls, would much prefer tactile, easily distinguished knobs, placed within easy reach. The MFD is the last thing I need, going through a curve with a fogging windshield.

    And steel wheels? I'd almost welcome them, on the base models. Instead of the alloy rims sans center caps and plastic wheel covers.
     
  14. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    An amazing price, that translates to USD1,210. There would be no argument from me regarding paying that amount for a new traction battery.

    The current MSRP is more like USD3,200 now.
    2004 Toyota Prius Parts - AutoNation Toyota Gulf Freeway Parts
    The cited price of USD$22K is for the lower models of US-sold Prius.
    You are correct regarding the definition of MFD.

    With 2G Prius that display also facilitated control of the stereo system and heating/ventilation/AC. And it was possible to get the backup camera option, without getting nav. With 3G, you must buy the factory nav system in order to get the backup camera.
     
    #34 Patrick Wong, Jan 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Yeah, I have the back up camera that shows in the rear view mirror. I'm really averse to these displays though, think they rival texting on a cell phone, for distraction value.
     
  16. MattNiem

    MattNiem Junior Member

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    The evolution of inverters and battery technology is fast. I don't think that it's fair to say that 2009 tech is worse than 2004 just because it weighs less.
     
  17. Sergiospl

    Sergiospl Senior Member

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    Is Toyota launching a dedicated hybrid Taxi?
     
  18. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    That was my hope/understanding when I purchased my gen3 five years ago.

    Unfortunately I've had my inverter fail at 71k miles. Since then Toyota have issued the inverter recall as I think their programming was over stressing it in certain circumstances. There was no such recall for the gen2. I do believe the gen2 inverter costs about double the cost of the gen3's.

    Wouldn't surprise me. They've produced a dedicated, non hybrid taxi for years.

    Toyota Comfort - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  19. MattNiem

    MattNiem Junior Member

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    Well let's hope it was really a software issue, not GM style cost cutting problem :) Gen3 inverter could be even cheaper than that due larger production volumes
     
  20. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Toyota's solution to the inverter problem is software. The inverter problem is physical, cracked solder. It's in the documentation. Instead of improving the part they are reducing usage of the part. I call that "pulling a Honda".
     
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