It’s difficult to say how long any car can last, but if we take a look at a few critical aspects of hybrid cars which tend to fail eventually, we can come up with a reasonable estimate. The first and most crucial aspect of hybrid car longevity is the battery.
While most manufacturers tend to cover their batteries for up 100k miles, batteries can last a lot longer. However, the difference here is that they tend to degrade faster after 100-150k miles. Even then, the battery will be usable, but the maximum capacity of the battery will be severely compromised.
Many different things affect how long a battery can last. Mileage is the most obvious one, but weather, proper charging, age, the intensity of use, and maintenance also play a major role. If you follow all the rules set out by the manufacturer you should be able to max out the battery.
A few studies have shown that Toyota makes the most reliable hybrids on the market, and these are the ones that usually last the longest. Be that as it may, it depends on how well a specific car has been treated.
Hybrid battery basics of longevity
As previously stated, hybrid batteries should last you at least 100k miles before they start degrading, but most batteries do a lot better than that. Most hybrids these days are powered by lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries which offer superior power to weight ratios.
They are incredibly dense and offer many charging cycles. The total energy of a hybrid/EV car battery is measured in kWh, and most hybrids these days offer between 10-70ish kWh, while electric cars like the Rimac Nevera offer up to 120 kWh which is the highest kWh battery in any car to date.
These batteries are used to power the car, and a full state of charge should give you between 10-150 miles on average. In order for the battery to last a long time, you ought to follow all the regular maintenance and you should also do what the manufacturers tell you to do.
A battery can not last forever, and most reliable sources estimate that a regular hybrid battery should be good for around 1000-2000 charging cycles. It’s always a good idea to keep the battery between 20-80% of charge, even when you park the car for extended periods.
Is it okay to drive a hybrid without a battery? <<– read the answer here.
Maximize the battery longevity
Age does matter, and in some instances, you ought to replace your battery in as little as five years. This is primarily if you drive your car on lengthy daily trips, but if you drive it privately around town, and you follow all the charging instructions, the battery should last you a lot more.
However, even though age does matter, mileage matters even more. Because you have to recharge your battery more often, it means that you are using up an estimated amount of battery recharge cycles. So if you do maximum range every day, you are looking at more than 300 recharge cycles per year.
Another important aspect of battery longevity is also the balance of each battery cell. For the battery to last longer, every battery cell should be balanced with the ones nearest to each other. If not, the cells will break down earlier which will significantly lower the longevity of the battery.
Weather also plays a massive role when it comes to battery longevity because extreme weather conditions can negatively affect the battery. Even though you can heat up the combustion engine early, the battery takes more time to heat up.
Proper charging is essential
There are several ways one can charge a hybrid battery. You can either use a regular home plug which should charge the car up in up to 8 hours or so, depending on the battery size. However, current charging technology is way more advanced, and a Level 3 fast charger is the most advanced.
A Level 3 fast charger can charge up a battery in as little as 30-40 minutes, but these do take a toll on battery longevity. Even though most cars are equipped with advanced battery charging management systems, they are unable to completely condition the battery.
A fast charger works more aggressively by pumping more electricity into the battery which ends up in faster battery degradation. To charge responsibly, you should only charge the car when necessary, this means that there is no need to charge the car up if it already has a decent state of charge.
What else affects the life of a hybrid car?
Even though the battery is the most important aspect of hybrid car longevity, other factors also play a massive role in extending the lifespan of a hybrid. As such, general wear and tear are always important with any type of item, so maintaining the car and servicing it is a must.
Just keep your car tidied up at all times, and you should get the most out of it. Regular service intervals should be respected, the same goes for recommended tires and fuel types. Try to maintain the interior and the exterior of the car, and beware of rust.
Are there any next-gen hybrid batteries on the horizon?
Lithium-Ion batteries are advanced, but the future of battery technology is not Lithium-Ion. Lithium Silicon and solid-state battery technologies are the true future of EV/hybrid batteries. These batteries should improve performance, last longer, be cheaper and hold more energy.
Many mainstream manufacturers such as BWM, Daimler, VAG have already invested a hefty amount of money into these technologies.
What happens to old EV and Hybrid batteries?
The best-case scenario would be to recycle the batteries, and almost 98% of all lead-acid battery components can be recycled into cabling, detergents, road guideposts, etc. However, with Lithium-Ion batteries, it’s not all that positive.
Lithium-Ion batteries are comprised out of hazardous materials which have a limited amount of use. Furthermore, if these are disassembled incorrectly, they can even explode. 5-10% is a fair estimate as to how many lithium-ion hybrid batteries are being recycled at the moment.