Peter2673

2012 Plug in deteriorating battery

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Hi

When new my 2012 Plug in would do near to the quoted 15.5 miles on a charge. In particular, my regular 13.2 mile trip was always possible with electricity to spare.

These days I'm getting only 8 or so miles on a full charge, and even driving very carefully I can't complete my regular trip.

At the recent service I asked about getting the Battery replaced under the 8 year warranty. 

I was told firmly that the car had passed its annual hybrid system check, so the Battery is fine. 

No amount of remonstrating would persuade them the Battery is not fine. 

I gather the hybrid system check measures the voltage and internal resistance of each cell and compares it with all the other cells, which would obviously highlight one failing cell, but it does not include a discharge and charge test to measure the battery's actual capacity. If all your cells deteriorate at the same rate the test will be passed.

I argued further with the dealer, and they agreed to ring Toyota and get back to me. Apparently Toyota said the same- failing the hybrid system check is their only criterion for allowing Battery replacement under warranty. I'm really upset by Toyota and their dealer's attitude- "We're telling you your Battery is fine so you telling us your car won't go as far as it used to must be wrong".

When purchasing my car, I carefully worked out if the cost premium over a standard Prius was worth it on the basis of fuel costs saved over the 8 years the Battery was guaranteed for, assuming I managed 2 charges per day. The benefit was marginal, but fascinated by the then new technology I went ahead anyway.

The present state of the Battery not only messes up my calculations but the car is reaching the point where I find it's hardly worth the bother of plugging it in- the petrol engine running its warm up cycle in the last few miles of the regular trip uses a disproportionate amount of fuel.

Does anyone else here have any experience of plug in Battery problems and of persuading Toyota to replace them under warranty?

Thanks

Pete

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That's a rather sad attitude, by Toyota, poor PR.

I do their regular surveys through the year, and I'm sure one included replacing the Battery (foc!) as a USP, if it deteriorated, and yes if you're getting a significant decrease in distance, that ought to be recognised as the start of a failing - though arguably that's what happens with re-chargeable batteries over time?

My 5 month old PHV is now charging to 30.5 miles, instead of the heady 33.6 it was giving in the autumn - both without heat/AC on. At that rate of decline, I'd hate to think what I'd be getting at 2 years old, never mind your 6.

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It's stated in the manual that reduction in capacity is expected over time and use, and the warranty also states that this is not covered - unlike other manufacturers (maybe Nissan?) who do state a specific loss in capacity that will be covered by the warranty.

I don't think the health check really takes loss of capacity into account.

One thing I would suggest is to check your brake calipers are moving freely and lubricate the guide pins (slide pins?) at least every 2 years, especially the rear brakes. I gained nearly a mile in range after sorting out mine, though I had to replace all the rear pins as they were badly corroded.

Regarding fuel consumption in its current state: I'd recommend starting the ICE during some higher speed/low traffic section to avoid any unnecessary idling during the startup phase.

@altocumulus I'd say your observed reduction in range is down to the change in ambient temperature and road conditions in winter. It should go up again in the coming months. I don't know how you're putting up with no heat up there!

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1 hour ago, altocumulus said:

My 5 month old PHV is now charging to 30.5 miles, instead of the heady 33.6 it was giving in the autumn - both without heat/AC on. At that rate of decline, I'd hate to think what I'd be getting at 2 years old, never mind your 6.

Bear in mind regard;less of other factors, the range will decrease in colder weather and should improve again in warm,er weather.  So when comparing EV range, you need to compare with range figures produced (or estimated) at similar temperatures.

I've spoken to a few (first generation) PiP owners who said they got 12 ish in the summer and 8-9 on cold winter days even when their cars were fairly new.

Edited by PeteB
added note my range figures related to original PiP
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Thanks guys, but I was referring to Battery charge capacity.

100% full Battery now yields 30.5 miles as opposed to 33.5 new. I understood, (wrongly?) there was a heating during the charge to help with "colder" temperatures?

 

It doesn't get cold up here any more; not like it did in the 80's and 90's when it was routine for our roads to get blocked by that white stuff (snow I believe 😄 )

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The displayed range after a full charge is not directly proportional to your Battery capacity, it is based on previous journeys and other data. Your efficiency will be down during winter due to lower ambient temperatures. The Battery will generate heat while charging, but that's not enough. Li-ion batteries like operating temperatures closer to 20 degrees.

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I obviously misunderstood the heat boost the Battery has whilst charging during winter months, though it's not been that cold this winter 😄.

Despite running winter tyres I've not seen any significant deterioration in mpg. Interestingly a 12 mile round trip yesterday took 11.1 miles out of the charge range. Mind if I had driven in the other direction, I'd have spent 5 miles of harge driving for 1 mile. Swings and roundabouts. But we certainly prefer the phv to the standard hybrids.

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I think examples sold in cold climates may have a Battery heater, like Canada and Scandinavia, but I'd be surprised if it's available on UK spec cars as we're talking about -30C when that becomes relevant. Any Battery will generate heat while being charged, just like your phone does - it's recommended to set your charging timer so it finishes soon before you start your journey, assuming you have a regular commute in the morning.

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Thanks All,

Just to confirm, in 7 years of ownership I'm well used to the reduced range in winter that returns to normal in summer, and I'm basing my comments on actual distance covered on a charge- the range display tries its best but often gives nonsensical estimates. 

My 15 miles in Summer, 13.5 in winter was a regular occurrence till last summer, aged 6 years, which is when I started to notice the reducing range whilst the weather was still warm, worsening over the winter and not improving now we have a warm February.

I'm just hoping my Battery dies completely in advance of its 8 year warranty running out.

Pete

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If you car is serviced at a dealer you get the Hybrid Health Check, each of which extends your HV Battery warranty by 1 year to a maximum of 12 years.  If you don't have dealer services ton can have the HHC for about £45.  Might be worth considering.

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Ah! That's interesting. My car has been dealer serviced from new and has had all health checks.

P

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