THIS BLOG IS OBSOLETE: read the latest here: Prius Battery Rebuild: Yes or No?
(This blog focuses on our rebuild services; read the original blog on Gen 1 battery failure here.)
Rebuilt HV batteries for the Gen 1 Toyota Prius are a convenient and cost-effective alternative to brand new.
New ones cost $2299 list (which is a pretty reasonable IMO), but when you add up tax (9.5% in our dear city) and four hours in labor ($480 at LG; other shops/dealers will surely vary), you’re looking at three grand out the door. You know what you’re getting (the same thing you had) so life expectancy should be nearly the same. In our experience with *genuine* failures—cars that actually needed a pack, not just a wire harness (read the blog about P3030) or a cleaning (read the blog about P3009)—the probability bell curve peaks at 150,000 miles, tapering off in both directions.
Besides offering new assemblies (purchased directly from Toyota) Luscious Garage also rebuilds battery packs in house. I can’t honestly remember what prompted us to figure it out, two years and dozens of packs ago. It was probably a combination of plug-in conversion work (which inherently goes “out of the box” regarding HV batteries) and the drive to find a better way. (There is also a shop in North Carolina—Taylor Automotive, d.b.a. ReInvolt Technologies—also selling rebuilds, for which LG is the Bay Area installer. I’m not sure who was first, but, having spoken with Dave Taylor in person, our process sounds very similar.)
The benefits of rebuilds:
1. Rebuilt packs offer a significant cost savings. We sell ours for $1500 (38 modules at $36/each and a new sensing harness for $120); with tax and six hours labor (two additional hours to cover the building process, which is therefore untaxed) the repair comes to $2361. That’s over $600 less, which is real money.
2. The modules come from young Gen 2 Prius (sourced from early totals or plug-in conversions) which have an upgraded design over the original Gen 1 module (pic: metal sided is Gen 2, all plastic is Gen 1) with better heat dissipation and lower internal resistance. The difference is evident in the cars we service: all Gen 1s will have an HV battery failure; Gen 2s rarely do (despite many with very high mileage).
Thus, though the price is lower and the batteries are second-hand, we expect the rebuilt packs to last as long if not longer than the originals. For most Gen 1 owners, this confidence combined with the cost savings will drive the decision.
All packs are load tested to confirm battery health, and the results are included in the work order (learn more about battery testing here). If I may say so, we build mighty strong packs, with identical performance to brand new units.
All of our rebuilds are guaranteed for one year (the same as new from Toyota) but we have yet to have any come back (and we don’t expect them to).
REBUILT BATTERY PACKS:
38 NiMH, Gen 2 Prius Modules @ $36.30: $1379.40
Sensing Wire Harness, 82165-47030: $119.43
9.5% Sales Tax: $142.39
View of our HV battery service area:
Stacks of bad Gen 1 modules:
Gen 2 module stacks:
With low mileage and plenty of future: