The Importance of Your Hybrid Vehicle’s Lithium Ion Battery
Despite increasing problems with their durability and longevity, lithium ion batteries aren’t going anywhere. At least, that’s what Navigant Research’s Electric Vehicle Batteries report says.
Lithium ion batteries in hybrid cars have been the go-to choice since the advanced-technology vehicles were introduced in the late 1990s. And now, it appears that future tech innovation in electric vehicles will also feature lithium ion batteries as the main power sources. But there’s no denying that hybrid batteries have had their share of problems in the past.
If you’ve paid any attention to the hybrid car market in the past few years, you know that Honda has had a bit of a crisis on its hands. All new cars in the Japanese automaker’s founding hybrid model, the Insight, were recently pulled from dealerships because of suffering sales, and one particularly frightening set of data from Consumer Reports showed that the 2009 Civic Hybrid faces battery issues at an unprecedented rate.
That’s all to say that there have certainly been better times in the past to be part of the Honda hybrid vehicle empire. However, Honda’s cars still perform well in the hybrid fuel economy categories, with the Civic netting 44 city and 47 highway on its latest models and the Accord boasting 50 city and 45 highway. Of course, fuel economy isn’t everything, and if it were, Toyota would likely have sunk its claws into the hybrid market a long time ago.
OK, so maybe it has. The Prius is currently the best-selling car in California and one of the best-selling cars in the country, and for good reason. The 2014 Prius flaunts an even more impressive fuel economy of 51 city and 49 highway miles — easily the best of the bunch. But that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have worries of its own.
Since Toyota uses lithium ion batteries in its vehicles, does that means its 2009 models suffer the same fate as Honda’s? Not likely, experts say. Honda models’ batteries tend to fail after only six or eight years on the road, and no such similarity has been found in a Toyota vehicle, luckily for them.
So, what does all this mean for the average hybrid car driver or buyer like you? Consider the ebbs and flows of the car market in general. New systems are introduced and flop like clumsy babies. Cars get written off, yet somehow manage to become institutions in the long-term market. The takeaway is this: Don’t let what one report says dictate your buying habits when it comes to hybrid vehicles. And if your vehicle’s hybrid battery dies after only six or eight years on the market, invest in a new one. Just make sure you buy it from a third-party retailer and not the dealership.