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Recharged: How Much Does a Hybrid Car Battery Cost to Replace?

It may be shocking to hear, but the first hybrid vehicle was actually invented by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche way back in 1898. It wasn’t until Henry Ford perfected the assembly process a few years later when gas-powered vehicles overtook electric ones. But now, over 100 years later, it’s clear that electric and hybrid vehicles are making a big comeback.

While owning a hybrid car can save you a lot on gas, it’s important to understand other related expenses. For example, given how crucial the battery is, it’s worth knowing how much a hybrid car battery costs to replace.

Interested in learning more? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

What Is a Hybrid Car?

In order to first understand why a hybrid battery costs as much as it does, it’s important to know what a hybrid car actually is. As the word hybrid suggests, a hybrid vehicle combines different types of energy in order to move the car. Typically, a hybrid car has a hybrid battery and an electric motor as well as a traditional internal combustion engine.

This combination often gives hybrid cars major advantages when it comes to fuel efficiency.

What Is a Hybrid Car Battery?

On electric motor propulsion alone, a hybrid vehicle can usually travel a short distance of around 25 miles or so. As we can see, a car like this is going to need more energy in order to go places. Specifically, it will need a battery pack that can deliver high levels of power. 

Unlike most other types of car batteries, a hybrid car battery also needs to be able to fully discharge without getting damaged and then it has to be able to quickly recharge. That’s not an easy combination of tasks to accomplish. While a typical car battery is used to energize a 12v system, a hybrid car battery is much stronger.

For example, the battery in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a capacity of 288 volts. But you can add an inverter and increase the power to 500 volts!

How Often Does a Hybrid Car Battery Need to Be Replaced?

A typical, everyday car battery will have an average lifespan of around three to five years. Some can last longer but don’t count on it. That lifespan isn’t too troublesome considering it doesn’t cost a whole lot to have it professionally replaced.

But hybrid car batteries aren’t typical, everyday batteries. These batteries are much larger, more powerful, and therefore, more expensive.

Like with all other batteries, a hybrid battery’s life expectancy will depend greatly on how it’s charged and how much it’s used. Regularly charging your battery, preventing it from discharging completely, and making sure that it doesn’t get exposed to extreme temperatures for long periods of time can all help extend the life of your battery.

Car manufacturers practically always give a longer warranty to hybrid batteries. These warranties are usually good for eight years, which is the minimum amount of time that your hybrid car battery should last you. However, hybrid car batteries that are exceptionally taken care of can last longer than pretty much all of the other mechanical systems in the vehicle.

How Much Does a Hybrid Car Battery Cost to Replace?

The cost to replace a hybrid battery ranges greatly. This is because each auto manufacturer uses batteries that are built specifically for their cars. So it’s difficult to give one value for all hybrid batteries.

Also, different hybrid batteries have different materials in them. For example, Toyota uses nickel-metal-hydride. Other hybrid batteries might use sealed lead-acid (SLA). And there are many new vehicles that now have Lithium-Ion batteries.

Each of these batteries has different manufacturing costs and thus cost different amounts to replace.

With that said, you can likely anticipate that the cost of a replacement hybrid battery will be from $1,000 to more than $6,000. And in addition to paying for the battery, there will also be costs for conditioning and testing. These parts of the battery replacement process can cost around $1,500.

Also, buying a new battery will usually cost you more than buying a used battery.

And don’t forget labor. Labor costs for hybrid battery replacement can sometimes be $1,000 or more. On some occasions, the cost for the labor to replace the battery will be more expensive than the replacement battery itself.

If you drive a common hybrid car, then the labor and battery costs probably won’t be as expensive as batteries for more rare vehicles.

Labor Costs

Replacing a hybrid car battery isn’t the same as replacing a typical car battery. Mechanics need to be properly trained and they have to use specialized tools. It also takes longer to replace a hybrid battery.

For example, replacing a battery in the Prius C can take three hours or longer. Replacing a battery for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid can take 6 or more hours to complete.

After seeing the big difference between replacing batteries for just two different Toyota hybrids, it’s easy to see that determining how much the labor costs for your hybrid will be difficult. Speak with your mechanic in order to get a solid estimate for the cost of labor.

Improvements to Hybrid Batteries Being Made

While a hybrid battery may seem expensive, battery replacement costs, as well as battery failure rates, are actually significantly lower today than where they were several years ago.

Unfortunately, the high price of battery replacement costs is a major turnoff for consumers. But while battery replacements might cost you a few thousand dollars today, they would’ve cost you tens of thousands in the early 2000s.

Aside from the popular nickel-metal-hydride batteries, here’s also the shift to lithium-ion (Li-ion) ones. These batteries are smaller and lighter and contain more power which means less stress on the vehicle’s systems and healthier car.

Then again, there are also lead-acid batteries. These batteries have been around for quite a while. In fact, a French physicist by the name of Gaston Plante first invented them in 1859.

As time went on, researchers developed lead-acid batteries further and created the UltraBattery. The UltraBattery uses supercapacitors. Supercapacitors are electric devices that give large bursts of energy to hybrid cars so that they can accelerate without damaging the battery.

These batteries are relatively affordable and more environmentally friendly.

For People Considering a Repair Instead of Replacement

Seeing that it can be quite expensive to replace a hybrid car battery, you may be considering repairing it instead. While repairing a battery may be all you need, it’s also important to know that a repair might simply end up being a short-term solution. Mechanics aren’t magicians and if your battery needs to be replaced, there’s only so much that can be done with a repair.

And if your battery is old, more problems will likely pop up in the future. For example, your technician may fix one cell on the battery but that doesn’t mean some separate cell won’t break down on its own a little later. This is why it’s important to compare the battery costs with the life of the battery and the car’s value.

Only Use Professionals

You should never try to repair a hybrid battery yourself unless you’ve undergone proper training for it. Repairs and replacements on hybrid batteries should always be left to the professionals. The assembly contains enough electricity to injure or even kill someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Hybrids Require Specialized Tools

Working on a hybrid car is not the same as working on a standard automobile. Because of that, you can’t just take it to any mechanic. And different hybrids require different tools. 

Make sure that you select a mechanic who has experience with hybrid batteries in general as well as with your specific car’s too.

You Might Void the Warranty

Give your warranty a careful read before you go ahead and get a repair done. This is especially important if it’s a newer car. You may still have coverage on a car that you bought many years ago if you got an extended warranty.

Comparing Hybrid Car Batteries Among Different Makes and Models

The amount that you end up paying for a replacement hybrid replacement will depend on the make and model of your car, as well as its condition, year, and other factors. To give you a better idea of what you can expect your hybrid battery costs to be, we’ll go into a quick overview of some of the most popular hybrids and what their batteries are like.

Toyota Prius Hybrid

As the best-selling hybrid in America, chances are that if you’re looking into hybrid car battery replacements, it’s probably for a Prius. As one of the first modern hybrids, the Prius has remained extremely popular thanks to its reliability and strong reputation. Today, there are a variety of Prius models including the Prius Prime, which is a plug-in hybrid, the Prius V which is a bit larger than the Prime, and the Prius C which is a bit smaller than the Prime.

As stated earlier, the Prius holds a nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery that contains 168 individual cells. While the average lifespan of a battery is around six to eight years, Toyota claims the batteries for the Prius’ can last for 10 years/100,000 miles.

Those figures, however, are expected to be reached from “perfect” usage. That means that your battery is both charged and drained at optimal levels and at optimal rates. Nobody is perfect, so you can’t expect to necessarily reach those numbers.

With all that said, a battery that can last nearly a decade is definitely a battery of quality.

Chevy Volt

The first Chevrolet Volt arrived on the scene in 2011. This hybrid is a plug-in which makes it a little different than other hybrids. Instead of the usual hybrid format, the Chevy Volt uses the electricity from the battery until it runs out.

Once that happens, the car switches to the traditional engine in order to charge the battery by way of an electric generator.

Nissan Leaf

Technically, since the Nissan Leaf is an all-electric vehicle, it’s not actually a hybrid. But the battery replacement is similar to replacing a hybrid battery. Unfortunately, Nissan Leaf battery replacements are some of the most expensive.

With more expensive batteries, it’s worth considering how old the car is. If your car is getting up there in age and miles, more and more pieces are likely to start breaking down. You’ll then have to consider if you want to keep replacing parts or if you just want to get a new vehicle altogether.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Many people choose Toyota Avalon because it’s one of the best luxury sedans on the market. It’ss the most spacious hybrid currently available without going all the way to full SUV status. This car gets an average of 44 mpg (44 hwy and 43 city).

This car also uses a nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery.

The Importance of Knowing How Much Hybrid Car Battery Costs to Replace

There is no one single type of hybrid car battery. But by learning about how they work, how they differ, and why they cost as much as they do, you can become more informed about the car that you drive and make smarter repair and replacement decisions. Hopefully, after reading the article above, you know feel that you have a better understanding of the question, “how much does a hybrid car battery cost to replace?”

Are you looking to get your hybrid car battery repaired or replaced? If so, request an appointment today and see how we can help you!