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Prius fuel economy is nearly as efficient a decade and 206K later
Prius batteries hold up pretty well afterall

One of the big questions that consumers have when shopping for a hybrid on the new or used car market is “How long will the batteries last”. That question is the one that at times keeps people previously interested in a hybrid from buying due to the thought of an expensive battery replacement years down the road.

Consumer Reports Car Blog has answered the question of how well a used Prius performs recently. The blog got its hands on a 2002 Prius that has 206,000 miles on the clock, put the car on the test instruments, and pitted it against a 2001 Prius that they tested back when the car was new with 2,000 miles on the clock.

The results are very impressive. The 206,000-mile Prius performed nearly identically to the 2001 Prius. When the editors tested the 2001 Prius with 2,000 miles on the odometer, it racked up highway mpg of 48.6 and city mpg of 30.5. The 206,000-mile 2002 Prius on the same instruments coughed up 46.3 mpg on the highway and 32.1 mpg in the city. This brought the overall combined fuel economy number to 40.4 mpg compared to the new 2001 Prius combined rating of 40.6 mpg.

The 2002 Prius with 206,000 miles on the clock is also reportedly still on the original battery, engine, and transmission. The performance tests show that the car is just almost exactly dead on with the performance when new despite all the miles driven.

The editors at Consumer Reports note that replacement costs for the Prius battery could be as much as $2,600. However, they point out that a Prius owner could likely get a unit from a junkyard for about $500.

Toyota unveiled the latest hybrid called the Prius V back in January.



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RE: Fairly Impressive
By lightfoot on 2/17/2011 4:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They were trying to answer the question: The Prius' battery is rated for about 10 years. If I buy a 10-year old used Prius, should I expect the battery to function substantially worse than when new?

But they didn't answer that question. They answered "if I buy this specific 10-year old used Prius will it function better than some other brand new Prius that was tested 10 years ago.

The problem is that the methodology used proves nothing.


RE: Fairly Impressive
By Solandri on 2/17/2011 5:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem is that the methodology used proves nothing.

Statistical sampling is a pretty well-established field. While a sample of 1 is very thin, it does not prove "nothing". It proves that a Prius battery can survive this long with little degradation. And it shifts the burden of proof onto those claiming Prius batteries won't last this long without significant degradation (I was one of them - given my experience with laptop and rechargeable AA batteries, I thought no way it could last this long).

Except for their surveys, which they fully acknowledge are self-selected surveys, Consumer Reports is pretty good about randomizing the samples they get. They don't accept samples from manufacturers for testing. They buy everything they test by going to the store like you and I do. For cars, they pose as regular buyers to insure the car they're getting isn't selected by the dealer as a "good sample", or that manufacturers are posing as used car sellers to try to trick CR into buying from them. Is it possible that this battery was a fluke? Of course it is. But it's more likely that this is a representative sample, because by definition flukes are rare.


RE: Fairly Impressive
By lightfoot on 2/17/2011 6:07:14 PM , Rating: 1
Taking a single sample of a new vehicle from a dealership is very different than purchasing a single sample of a used vehicle from the used car market.

For all intents and purposes every new vehicle off a manufacturing line should be virtually identical. The same can not be said of used vehicles that have over 200,000 miles. They in fact will be vastly different. The same technique therefore can not be used.

Just because a single vehicle tested good after 200,000 miles does not mean that all the vehicles will test good. It does not even mean that most will test good. It proves only that one did test good and, in theory, others could as well.

They have proven that the failure rate is not 100%, not the inverse.


RE: Fairly Impressive
By SlyNine on 2/18/2011 10:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
They are not trying to prove "Just because a single vehicle tested good after 200,000 miles does not mean that all the vehicles will test good"

They are trying to find out if a battery "CAN"<-- key work, meet Toyotas' claims. Indeed they found out, yes it "can". They made no claims to % or statistics. The artical is very much valid.


RE: Fairly Impressive
By lightfoot on 2/18/2011 2:49:25 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
One of the big questions that consumers have when shopping for a hybrid on the new or used car market is “How long will the batteries last”. That question is the one that at times keeps people previously interested in a hybrid from buying due to the thought of an expensive battery replacement years down the road.

I repeat: " How long will the batteries last? "

This question suggests a Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) type analysis and would require at minimum testing at least two vehicles until one or more failed.

Consumer Reports did not do this. Others have done such tests (as were previously linked above) but Consumer Reports, in this article, did not.


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