The Prius is one of the most famous cars of the past two decades. Touted as the original hybrid vehicle, and viewed as a bold leap in automotive technology, this Toyota is the best of both worlds. But what exactly makes the Toyota Prius so effective as a hybrid car? This article will tell you everything you need to know about Prius battery operations, how the Toyota Prius battery charging system works and affects the car’s longevity.
First, a hybrid is any car defined as using a combination of gasoline and electricity to produce the power necessary for operation. There are different types of electric vehicles and two types of hybrid vehicles (1) Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) and (2) Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). All PHEVs are hybrids, but not all hybrids are PHEVs.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) are vehicles that rely primarily on gas but do contain some electric components like regenerative braking. HEVs do not rely on a source of electricity to charge their vehicle batteries and are fueled mainly by gas. HEVs are the most common type of electric vehicle on the road today and became popularized by Toyota when the company released the revolutionary Prius hybrid.
- A Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) uses gas and electricity and has a split engine wherein a battery operates the motor used for low mileage driving at minimal speeds. The battery is charged by a plug with an electric car smart charger, much like that used for a battery-electric vehicle, as well as a system called regenerative braking. The Prius Prime, a PHEV, works similarly to a standard Prius, but with an increased EV Mode and driving range of 25 miles, with more powerful electric motors and enhanced fuel efficiency. It also recharges the battery of the car through regenerative braking and most Prius Prime drivers charge at home, so they don’t have to worry about where to charge their electric car.
So, how long do Prius batteries last?
In California, hybrid electric vehicles are warranted up to 150,000 miles or ten years. Outside of California, most states only require hybrid electric vehicles to guarantee the life of their hybrid battery for 100,000 miles or eight years. Because Prius hybrids are still relatively new cars, there is only a small sample size concerning how long a Toyota Prius hybrid battery will last. Most Prius owners with vehicles from the early 2000’s claim that their Toyota Prius battery lasted anywhere between 12 and 15 years before it needs a battery replacement. Some Prius owners boast of battery life that reaches mileage volumes of 200,000+ miles, but these cases seem to be rare.
Why do rechargeable batteries wear out?
If an electric car battery is rechargeable, then why would it ever wear out? In the same way, the rechargeable battery on your phone wears out over time, so too will the battery in your car falter, fade and eventually die. The degradation of a rechargeable car battery is partly due to its material chemistry and partly due to the charging process itself. However, an increase in temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or frequent deep discharge can also expedite the battery aging process. Still, batteries can degrade even without use.