Hybrid Car Batteries Lifespan – Are They Worth The Money?

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The batteries in hybrid cars are responsible for the improved fuel economy that has become central to the technology.They get a hybrid car moving from stopped to a low speed – generally around thirty-five mph, at which point the gas engine cuts in.  This puts less stress on the gasoline engine and extends the amount of fuel a car burns between trips to the gas station.

The harmful chemicals that give the hybrid batteries their energy, however, are becoming a concern for the environmentally conscious.  But because of the comparatively low number of hybrids on the road, the ‘poison’ alarm has not been offically sounded.  Nevertheless the concern is that at some point the trash dumps will fill up with carcinogenic materials.

There are two types of batteries currently being used in hybrid cars:  Lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride, otherwise referred to as NiMH.  Lithium-ion (Li-ion) is the third kind, but by the time these are in each and every hybrid, lead-acid batteries are going to be history. Certainly, lead-acid is the most poisonous of the three, and on top of that it is also exceptionally heavy, reducing some of the energy efficiency gains from the electric motor.

Lead-acid is becoming less of a contender in the hybrid vehicle battery market and is being replaced by nickel-metal hydride. NiMH batteries may be less harmful than lead, however they do have environmental disadvantages:  They are at least potentially carcinogenic and the method through which the nickel is mined is hazardous. Lithium-ion batteries in contrast, are by far the least contaminated of the three and are considered by many experts to be the future of hybrid vehicle batteries. In fact, car companies are committing millions of dollars in research for a functioning hybrid car battery that utilizes the identical sort of power currently found in laptop computers and MP3 players.

Just how long do hybrid car batteries last? And the answer is over 300,000 miles!  Honda and Toyota guarantee their batteries for 100K or less, but they have rarely had to sell replacements.  As far as cost, you would shell out between 3 and 4 thousand dollars to get a full battery pack change.