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Hybrid Battery Replacement vs Repair: Options, Costs, & Testing

There are a few different ways that Hybrid Battery Repair can be performed.  Of course, there are pros and cons for every method: 

  • replacing bad cells
  • replacing all cells with rejuvenated cells
  • installing a new battery

Before doing any of the below, it is important to note that you should have your hybrid battery tested first to determine what state it is in. Now, let’s take a few minutes and go over your hybrid battery replacement or repair options.

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The least expensive way is to replace a couple of bad cells.  
Cost: $499 – $699

There are many (20-40) cells that are connected to make one battery pack.  For example, Prius C has 20, Prius has 28, Camry has 34 and GM trucks have 40.  Usually all the cells don’t go bad at the same time. When the hybrid battery is tested, a technician usually finds 2-8 cells that are bad and should be replaced.

Hybrid Battery Testing: Exclusively Hybrid vs. Others

Most “Hybrid Battery Repair Specialists” use a voltmeter to find bad cells. That doesn’t always give you proper results.  At Exclusively Hybrid, we use a time-tested process to find bad or even weak cells and put the results down in a “battery test report” for our customers.

The report shows how many bad and weak cells your battery has, and our recommendation on how many should be replaced. During this process all the good cells in your battery pack get rejuvenated and now have a higher capacity. We replace the bad and weak cells and balance the battery pack as one unit.  

When the “other guys” just replace the bad cells, the problem may be fixed for a short period of time. Their finished product is a battery pack that has cells with different capacity, which means it will not stay balanced. Also, older cells that are still in your battery pack and have not been rejuvenated have a higher chance of going weak (bad), making the system fail again. 

Our process takes a full day, but using it gets you a better battery. This is the least expensive way to get your battery repaired.

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Replacing all the cells in the battery with rejuvenated cells. 
Cost: $890 – $1890

This option gets you a completely rebuilt and reconditioned battery pack. All our cells go through the rejuvenation process before we use them. After the process each cell gets tested for capacity. 

After the capacity test we put them together in a battery pack and use a high voltage charger to charge and balance the cells. We also replace all the copper tabs on the bus terminals, because the old ones are usually corroded. This refurbish process takes a longer time and has a higher cost, but it will last longer. This option only takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on the vehicle. We can also go to your location and replace the battery there.

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Replacing all the Cells and Wire Harness with NEW PARTS!!! 
Cost: $1,990

New batteries are always better than used or refurbished.  

We found that one of the reasons cells go bad is poor air circulation inside the battery pack. The less air goes through, the hotter the battery gets. Heat is not good for the batteries. The new cells are configured differently than the original cells in your hybrid battery. The way our battery is set up allows air to go in between every cell in the battery pack, which keeps the temperature down and lets the battery perform at its best.

We value our customer satisfaction. For this reason, we always suggest rejuvenating all the cells or using all new cells when it comes to repairing or replacing the Hybrid Battery in your vehicle. All our products come with a warranty on replaced parts.

In December of 2017 we started testing new cells from different vendors to put into our batteries. I am proud to announce that in August of 2018 we started selling Hybrid Batteries with NEW modules. 

New Vs Refurbished Hybrid Batteries

Many people ask me, “Why should we buy a new hybrid battery for my Toyota Prius vs. a refurbished one?” There are three factors that make your battery good or weak.  

Unfortunately, there is no simple way to detect a weak battery. Here is the explanation of these factors.

Figure 1

Energy storage in a battery can conceptually be divided into three imaginary segments of: 

  1. empty zone that can be refilled,
  2. available energy, 
  3. the unusable part (rock content).

As the battery gets older, the performance declines further and the battery gets smaller in terms of holding capacity. With nickel-based batteries, the so-called rock content is often the result of crystalline formation, also known as “memory,” and a full discharge can sometimes restore the battery.

Batteries begin fading from the day they are manufactured. A new battery should deliver 100% capacity; most packs in use operate at less than that. For example, your Toyota Hybrid Battery operates at a state of charge between 38% to 80%.

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A high capacity battery has limited use if it is unable to deliver the stored energy effectively. To bring the power out, the battery needs low internal resistance. 

Measured in milli-ohms (mΩ), resistance is the gatekeeper of the battery; the lower the value, the less restriction the pack encounters. This is especially important with heavy loads and high current pulses, as elevated resistance causes the voltage to collapse and trigger an early shutdown. 

In hybrid cars you will feel as if your transmission is slipping or loss of acceleration. A hybrid battery on a car never fully discharges. Sulfation and grid corrosion are the main causes of increased internal resistance. Temperature also affects the resistance. As the batteries discharge, the resistance increases further, making the cells more prone to fail when you actually need the energy, as in accelerating or using the air conditioner.

Figure 3

All batteries are affected by self-discharge. The amount of electrical leakage varies with chemistry, and primary cells, such as lithium and alkaline, are among the best in retaining the energy. Nickel-based rechargeable systems, in comparison, leak the most and need recharging if the battery has not been used for a few days. 

High-performance nickel-based batteries are subject to higher self-discharge than the standard versions with lower energy densities. Energy loss is asymptotical, meaning that the self-discharge is highest right after charge and then tapers off. Nickel-based batteries lose 10 to 15 percent of their capacity in the first 24 hours after charge. 

Self-discharge on all battery chemistries increases with age and at higher temperatures. The rate typically doubles with every 10°C (18°F). A noticeable energy loss occurs if a battery is left in a hot vehicle.

Conclusion: A New Hybrid Battery is Better than a Rejuvenated One

In summary, even after we rejuvenate all the cells in the battery pack, there is still an aging process that cannot be reversed. Getting a new battery means better energy capacity, better flow of energy due to low resistance, and less energy loss while the car is not in use.  For the owner, it means better fuel economy, better car acceleration, and longer battery life.

Shop new or refurbished batteries for Toyota or Lexus cars or if you’re in the South Florida area, contact us for battery testing services

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