Hybrids like the Toyota Prius may save money on fuel, but car shoppers have long wondered how those batteries hold up over the long run. In fact, we’re often asked, “When do the batteries need to be replaced, and how much will they cost?” These questions are even more important now that the Prius has been on the market for 10 years--there are many used models on the market. But is it risky to buy a used hybrid?
Early adopters of the hybrids took a risk with the new technology. The lifetime of the batteries and the cost to replace them wasn’t clear. After all, when it comes to standard car batteries, most don’t last more than a few years. And anyone who has a laptop that is a few years old is most likely aware how significantly battery life can degrade with age.
Based on data from over 36,000 Toyota Prius hybrids in our annual survey, we find that the Prius has outstanding reliability and low ownership costs. But we wanted to know if the effectiveness of the battery degraded over the long run. So we hooked up a 2002 Toyota Prius with nearly 208,000 miles on the clock to our testing instruments and compared the results to the nearly identical 2001 Prius we tested 10 years ago.
Conclusion: We found very little difference in performance when we tested fuel economy and acceleration.
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