One of the biggest turnoffs for potential hybrid car buyers is the high cost of a replacement battery. Battery packs, which typically cost about $3,000, represent a significant percentage of the total vehicle cost. The fear of battery replacement due to failure has led many drivers to hold back on making a hybrid car purchase.
But battery prices -- along with battery failure rates -- have plunged since the beginning of the decade. To phrase in that a different way, batteries are now less expensive and last longer than they did in the past. In 2001, battery replacement in a hybrid car cost about $10,000. Recently, however, Honda has cut its battery replacement price from $3,400 to $1,968. In the near future, Toyota also plans to slash its replacement costs from where it stands now at around $3,000. Also, Toyota's out-of-warranty battery replacement rate has plummeted from about 1 percent for the first generation Prius to 0.003 percent for the second generation.
Could hybrid cars eventually get power from the same kind of battery you find in an iPod? Find out on the next page.