The Day My Prius Died AKA Hidden costs of hybrids

Went for a drive yesterday in my 2001 Prius that I bought in October of 2000. Several warning lights came on. This was obviously something more serious than just the check light. I took it to the dealer. The main battery is gone. $3600 to replace. Ouch,

It was a great car for a long time with no repairs to speak of, and has 102,000 miles on it. But when the battery in a hybrid goes, it costs way more to fix than repairs in an regular car.

So, I have get a new car or may get a new battery. Hmmm.


  1. Don’t we also lose some of the “green” gains over the past 9 years with the disposal of that battery (and the energy it took to make the new one) – First Law of Thermodynamics?

    Non-Hybrid cars with 102,000 miles can experience engine or other mech. trouble that cost $3,600 too, but it’s not the norm with modern cars. Is this the “expected” battery life for the 2001 Prius or is your failure an outlier?

    • It’s about expected with a 2001, some of the newer models have a 150,000 mile warranty. Read somewhere a forklift company was buying old batteries like that, refurbing them, then using them in forklifts.

  2. If everything else is fine – $3600 is way cheaper than a new hybrid.

  3. Not only is $3,600 way cheaper than a new hybrid, it is also way less than what some people with regular cars have had to pay along the years. A friend with a 2006 Accord had to pay $2,000 for a repair, so if all goes wrong again every 3 years, by the time that car has the same age as what your Prius currently has today, his accumulative bill would come to $6,000 (not adjusted for inflation or for any other problems he might encounter).

    $3.6k/9yrs is a small price (figuratively) to pay, really…

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