Toyota Hybrids

toyota-prius-pluginToyota ignited the hybrid revolution with the U.S. introduction of the Gen I Prius in 2000.  Suddenly, conservation-minded motorists could buy a compact, peppy sedan that that routinely delivered 45+ miles per gallon.  Unfortunately, Toyota Motor Corp and Prius owners soon discovered an inherent leakage problem with the hybrid battery cell packs that could bring the vehicle to a stop if not dealt with properly.  Toyota addressed this problem in two ways:  they created a dealer-installed “fix” that sealed up the areas of possible leakage and, second, they began using a superior type of cell pack in their Gen II vehicles that virtually eliminated the leakage problem.  The Gen II Toyota batteries are rugged and reliable and respond extremely well to our efforts to condition them back to like-new performance.

Toyota’s integration of electric and gas engine propulsion coupled with regenerative braking is, in our opinion, a technical masterpiece. A plus for Toyota is their use a planetary gear transmission that has minimal moving parts and provides excellent reliability.

Toyota employs a nickle-metal-hydride (NIMH) battery assembly composed of multiple 6-cell battery packs hooked together in series to create a high voltage power source that propels the car and is recharged by the gas engine and deceleration and braking.

So what can possibly go wrong? The “Achilles heel” of these nearly bullet-proof gems is the hybrid battery pack. If you own the car long enough it is almost certain you will experience some battery-related problem. Initially, it might just be a reduction in fuel economy – fewer miles per gallon. When the “battery degradation” becomes severe enough the “check engine” and hybrid drive warning lights come on along with warning lights for the brakes and steering.

You may ask, “Did I do something to cause this?” Well, battery life depends on a wide array of factors. what kind of driving do you do? These batteries thrive on stop and go driving; they are not ideal long-distance commuters. They like the constant charge-discharge action that comes with in-town travel. Heat is a battery-killer. Cooling air for the battery is drawn from the vehicle interior, so it is important to run the AC on hot summer days. On older cars, it is a good idea to have your service people check the cooling fan to make sure it is not clogged up with ????

Over time, every one of these batteries loses some of its ability to charge and discharge efficiently and the cell packs become “out of balance” resulting in degraded performance and poor fuel economy. The dealer can only offer you a replacement battery at prices that most owners find shocking. We have solutions for all of these problems at reasonable prices. We have the ability to condition hybrid batteries back to 95+% of their original performance for a fraction of the cost of a replacement battery.