Westward Independent

LtE – Electric battery woes

by Westward Independent
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In 2019 I decided to buy a hybrid electric car. My goal was to find an environmentally sensitive vehicle that would last for at least 10 years. My job required a lot of travel since I saw clients in their homes. I researched the options and then went to Toyota. When I met with the salesman, I told him exactly what I was looking for – environmentally sensitive and durable for long commuting. He showed me the 2020 Prius Prime. According to him, it ticked all my boxes. He pointed out an older generation Prius parked in the showroom that had been used for a taxi in Vancouver which had over 1-Million kms and was still running. He told me the car was over 20 years old and so well constructed that it had needed minimal maintenance or repairs. I was assured I could expect the same in the Prius Prime if I bought it. I purchased the car believing that I’d bought a car that would last me at least 20yrs.

Being hybrid electric, I could plug the car in to charge the hybrid battery. Initially in summer, a full charge gave me 60 km of electric driving. In the winter I got 50km on a full charge. However, 4 years (and 200,000km later), I asked Toyota to look at my battery because I was getting less than 40km on a full charge in mild winter conditions. A full diagnostic was run on my battery showing there were no issues, my battery was just aging. I inquired about the cost of replacement. The agent advised me a new hybrid battery would cost $12,524, plus 6 hrs labour, bringing the total to $13,475 plus tax. I was shocked and told her the new battery was likely more expensive than my car. I explained that I had purchased the car believing it was my ethical, environmental lifetime car and said I was very upset because they had sold me a disposable car. She agreed with me adding “I’m concerned with the older generation batteries that are reaching the end of their lifetimes. There is no way to recycle them.” We spoke of toxic batteries in landfills, of children in the Congo mining the cobalt and of other lies we had been told about these “ethical and environmental responsible cars.” Were all of the claims just lies?

Cowichan Valley Resident

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