A hybrid battery can either be replaced, reconditioned, or rebalanced. Between these three, replacing a worn-out battery is the best course of action from a functionality standpoint. However, a brand new battery can cost upwards of $4000 brand-new, while a used one could also set you back at least $2500.
Battery reconditioning is a process in which sulfate crystal deposits are removed from the surface of a battery plate. Such sulfate deposits occur due to battery discharging and every Lithium-Ion battery is susceptible to such surface deposits.
Battery rebalancing is a process that aims to achieve consistent capacities through multiple different battery cells. Such variations in capacity are due to battery impurities, manufacturing issues, cell aging, or environmental exposures.
In essence, a hybrid battery can be repaired even if damaged physically. This process usually entails replacing the damaged cells, but this should be done by trained professionals as batteries tend to be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
Whenever sulfate crystals appear on the battery plate, it usually translates to subpar charging times, less efficiency, and an overall lower battery capacity. Battery reconditioning or refurbishing aims to clear out those sulfate surface deposits and to replenish the electrolyte solutions from within the battery itself.
This means that the battery is now able to work as new. Even though this process does not require a degree in engineering, it should be left to professionals, especially if you want to recondition a lithium-ion battery.
That being said, lead-acid batteries are way safer and easier to recondition, but as the growth of lithium-ion battery-powered hybrids becomes more and more intense, you must never try to do this yourself.
Lithium-Ion batteries are delicate, precise made, and dangerous, and every sort of servicing or repairing should always be left to professionals.
Battery rebalancing or battery redistribution is a process that aims to achieve continuous and equal capacity levels throughout all the individual battery cells. A balanced battery is a more efficient one, so if all the individual cells are in perfect harmony, the battery can provide optimum performance and longevity.
SOC is a term used to describe the State of Charge as this becomes more and more relevant the longer the battery is in use. Slight variations between several individual cells in negligible, but these tend to increase as time goes on and as more and more cells become unbalanced.
Most battery packs also come with specific automatic battery balancers which are designed for battery packs that are built out of more than one cell per series. The difference with parallel cells is that they naturally balance each other because they are directly connected at all times.
In order to do this as best as possible, the battery should be completely depleted, and later charged to maximum after the deep charge cycle is finished. This should restore the original battery capacity which usually means that now the battery lasts longer.
As previously stated, batteries can be repaired. However, that’s not always the case. If you physically damage your battery to such an extent that it can’t be fixed, the only option you are left with is investing in a brand new battery.
A brand new battery costs a lot of money which means that paying upwards of $3000-$6000 is to be expected. Besides paying for the battery, you also sometimes need to insure it, ship, and install it, all of which costs more money.
If the situation presents itself, you are also able to buy a used battery. The prices of these can vary depending on the size, age, capacity, and availability. Price-wise, you are also looking at a $2000-2500 minimum if you want a decent battery without considering additional costs.
It is worth mentioning that a brand new battery is a must for cars that are built to offer performance above everything else. This means that cars such as the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder, or any other high-performance car should just get a brand new battery.
Can you drive a hybrid without the battery?
Most hybrid vehicles are designed to transition between the combustion engine and the electric engine in order to achieve superior fuel efficiency. While most hybrids can not be driven without the battery because this could result in serious damage to the hybrid systems, some are kind of able to drive without a battery.
Hybrids are usually built on a so-called ‘’Parallel System’’ which means that the electric engine and the combustion engine always work together, while others like the Toyota Prius for example are built differently. These can drive without a battery, but that should only be reserved for emergencies.
What’s the warranty like on most hybrid car batteries?
The vast majority of hybrid car manufacturers offer an eight-year or 80k-100k miles warranty on their batteries. There are a couple of brands out there that offer up to 12 years of warranty coverage, but these usually cost more money anyway.
This means that the battery should be replaced under warranty which should save you a lot of money. Be warry of used hybrid cars and always try to buy cars that are still eligible for warranty coverage extensions.
Can you repair a physically damaged hybrid battery?
There are many crashed hybrid cars out there. Some of them are used for spare parts, others are scrapped entirely, but the bulk of them are repaired. This usually entails repairing a physically damaged battery which can be both dangerous and expensive. Even though this is a possibility, the repairability depends highly on the amount of damage the battery has suffered.
To repair a physically damaged battery, one has to replace all the damaged individual battery cells. This makes sense if only a small portion of the battery is damaged and that the rest of the battery is still capable of delivering decent juice. You should take your car in for an inspection at an authorized repair shop before you make any decisions.