I hear it all the time. “When you need a new battery for your hybrid vehicle, all the savings will be gone.” I will have to disagree with this statement. I purchased a 2011 Prius with 200,000 miles, a year ago. Many of you may think I’m crazy for this. The car was clean inside and I wanted to have to make repairs to it. The Hybrid battery was original along with the Brakes. That’s right 200,000 miles on original brakes! This winter I noticed we would park the car with a full hybrid battery and the next day it would be very low. Awesome, this is the reason I bought a high mileage car.
We have had training on Hybrid battery reconditioning. We know how to do it. We wondered however, how well does it work? My crew and I wired in a loom to the high voltage battery being careful to follow all the proper safety measures. I will point out that these batteries can kill you if proper techniques are not used. I therefore recommend this be done only by a professional. We then proceeded to charge the battery for 24 hours with our High voltage battery charger up to 235 volts. We used a special load tester to measure the capacity of each cell and replaced any that are not within acceptable levels. Next, we discharged it. The next day charged it again. Then another discharge, going lower and lower each time. We performed the discharge 3 times and finally charged and balanced it the final time. The first day after reconditioning the battery, we noticed the battery was still fully charged. Ok, good sign.
I had a training event in St louis scheduled the following weekend. I decided this would be a great trial for our Newly reconditioned battery. I was totally shocked when I averaged nearly 48 mpg on the St louis trip. In March, we had taken this car to Kansas City for training and averaged very low 40’s for fuel mileage. That was nearly 6 mpg increase from just balancing and reconditioning the hybrid battery.
I am now more confident than ever in balancing or reconditioning hybrid batteries. With a cost in the $895 -$1500 range (depending on the number of modules that need to be replaced). This is a great alternative to a hybrid battery replacement that could run $3000-$5000. It is a win, win because we are reusing many of the cells in the original battery and recycling only the failed modules. The process works by low rate charging and deep discharging to break down crystal formations/voltage depressions within the battery cells restoring lost usable battery capacity and equalizing the cell voltage levels to each other. The ending result is a battery with more usable capacity for the vehicle to take advantage of. This equates to better performance and higher miles per gallon.