Anyone that is even remotely familiar with hybrid vehicles is aware that even with the many benefits they give, there are some potential drawbacks that are necessary to consider. One of these drawbacks, according to mechanics and consumers, seems to be with their battery’s longevity, power and all-mighty gas mileage over time. The drawbacks do not affect every consumer and every hybrid on the road – and there are plenty. Current reports estimate some two million hybrid-gas-electric and diesel-electric vehicles on the road in 2013 and the EIA estimates that in 2011, there were nearly 11 million alternative fuel vehicles in the United States. With that many hybrids driven, there are bound to be some battery issues and most have to do with loss of power and gas mileage.
Most consumers are willing to take the risks and many warranties have extended battery coverage to 100,000 in many cases. Most batteries will last well beyond those estimates and can continue to perform as new. But there are some batteries which even after this amount of life just need some new life breathed into them. If a hybrid car experiences a battery failure outside of its warranty, however, the owner is on his or her own when it comes to battery replacement. Consumers who are not aware of the hybrid battery conditioning option may find themselves in awe at current hybrid battery prices, some climbing over $4,000. Dr. Mark Quarto and his team at the Automotive Research and Design have developed technology that can restore a hybrid battery to over 95% of its original performance.
The technology sounds quite mind-blowing, but the question remains – does it work? Many consumers are anxious to save thousands of dollars with hybrid battery conditioning rather than replacing their old battery. Not only are financial savings evident, but many hybrid owners are anxious to enjoy the environmental benefits of this exclusive technology as was one of the original factors in why they purchased a hybrid in the first place. Dr. Mark Quarto is an expert in hybrid battery conditioning and states that his proprietary technology will change the hybrid industry. His familiarity with nickel metal hydride, lithium technologies and the history of hybrid development makes for some very interesting and research-based finds.
If you notice that your hybrid has less power than ever before, or that your fuel efficiency is far below your normal range, your battery capabilities may be under some sort of failure or deterioration. How does a hybrid battery lose performance capabilities? There are two systems that can impact your hybrid’s acceleration. Of course, when it comes to traditional cars you only have one propulsion system composed of the engine which goes on gasoline. With a hybrid, you have the engine with gasoline and then you have an electric propulsion or traction system. Both must work together in order to make your hybrid what it is. There are times where the hybrid battery pack may be low on energy and power. When you begin the acceleration process, the hybrid requires that electric traction system to make the vehicle go. If that battery pack isn’t providing the proper amount of energy, you may feel the hybrid hesitate or seem more sluggish than usual. If you can identify the cause or work with an auto repair shop specialized in finding solutions for diminishing batteries or acceleration issues, your hybrid can continue to last you for many years.
That is why battery conditioning is gaining so much popularity. Hybrid owners can immediately enjoy their vehicle’s performance again. The hybrid battery conditioning is straightforward and costs a fraction of the cost of a new battery. This alone is what consumers are most excited for, and rightfully so. There are thousands of old hybrid batteries filling up landfills across the country. In order to make a difference on the environment, as most hybrid drivers want to do, so hybrid battery conditioning can help eliminate landfill waste.
At an average cost of $4,000 to $4,500, this is a significant investment that essentially eliminates the reason for buying a hybrid vehicle. Hybrid vehicles tend to be a little more expensive upfront but are not necessarily more expensive to maintain during their lifetime, unless you need to replace the battery after the warranty is up. Hybrid battery conditioning eliminates this drawback by costing less and giving your vehicle more life. Because the hybrid battery is an integral part of the vehicle’s operation, it is often compared to the vehicle’s transmission. Most hybrid batteries do not need to be replaced. In fact, 60-80% of hybrid batteries which were bought new didn’t have to be replaced when they were not performing well (when under warranty or not).
The battery system is much more complex, however. The hybrid battery is not one entity but a pack of battery modules. The battery pack is what gives the vehicle its power. Without this battery pack, a hybrid driver cannot and would not get the power or the fuel efficiency it claims. The Toyota Prius battery, for example, consists of 28 individual modules and when there is a battery pack issue, it is most likely due to one of the modules, not all of them. Each of the 28 modules has its own health state and at any given time they can be at a different state. Over time, the battery modules in the worst state in that pack end up triggering a diagnostic code and that sometimes can force a dealer or repair shop to replace the battery. However it may be that one or two of the modules need to be replaced and not the entire pack or the battery could just be imbalanced or low on capacity. Low capacity is where battery conditioning comes into play and is very common. Conditioning means that the pack is cycled (top charge taken down to zero then back to 100%). This is good for the battery pack and the cells but can also help diagnose any pack issues.
All in all, hybrid battery replacement is one of the most critical issues facing hybrid drivers. With hybrid battery conditioning as effective and as efficient as it is, drivers have another option for extending the lifetime of their hybrid and supporting a cleaner environment. Reconditioning a battery has been found to add about six years to the vehicle for one-fourth of the price of replacing the entire battery pack. It has been proven to improve fuel efficiency and increase power and has been highly recommended by consumers all over. Is it worth a shot? Absolutely. When shops can guarantee the advantages mentioned above, it is well worth it.