Battery hybrid cars, once considered somewhat exotic by the average car owner, have quickly become mainstream. Around four and a half million of them were sold worldwide in 2012.
Hybrids are known, of course, for greatly reduced greenhouse gas emissions and considerably better fuel economy. They’re typically 20-35% more efficient than vehicles powered entirely by gasoline. In addition, some insurance companies find them to be less likely to be involved in accidents and therefore offer discounts to their drivers. In the United States, hybrid buyers can take advantage of tax incentives that can save them as much as $3400 a year.
But don’t they cost more as well? Yes, the initial purchase price is usually 15-25% more than that of traditional cars, but that additional investment is more than offset by significant fuel savings if you keep the vehicle for a long period of time.
Hybrid batteries will typically last six to 10 years. Replacing a hybrid battery can cost between $3000 and $4000.
“IMA” is Honda’s abbreviation for their Civic model’s hybrid system. That stands for “integrated motor assist”. The Honda Civic Hybrid IMA produces 110 horsepower at 5500 RPM. It pairs a 1.5 liter i-VTEC four-cylinder gasoline powerplant with an electric motor mounted between the engine and the transmission to add power when necessary.
Replacement batteries for the Honda Civic Hybrid IMA can be found for under $2000 plus shipping. But it’s important to note that many of those are refurbished. That’s true even when you purchase from a Honda Civic Hybrid IMA dealer. So do your research. For about the same cost – and maybe even a little less – you can find a new battery.
Hybrid battery replacement is a fact of life when you drive one of these vehicles. But when you factor in all of the advantages to both your wallet and the environment, it’s a cost you can live with.
The average gas mileage for a car sold in 2015 is 25.4 miles per gallon. A Honda Civic Hybrid can achieve nearly double that by getting 47 miles per gallon on the highway. Since the average motorist drives 13,476 miles each year, and the national average cost for a gallon of gas in 2015 was $2.19, the average driver spent about $1,162 on gas this year, while the the Honda Civic Hybrid driver only spent about $628 on gas. This savings is on top of the tax credits of up to $3,400 just for buying a environmentally friendly vehicle. With that fuel economy and savings, it’s no wonder the line for buying a new Honda Civic Hybrid is always so long.
Of course, there’s always a catch. The catch is, the car uses so little gas because it primary depends on its battery for power. Hybrid batteries are designed to last 100,000 to 150,000 miles, far longer than the standard car battery. However, when it is time to replace your hybrid battery, it can cost you upwards of $4,000. If you own a Honda Civic Hybrid (or any hybrid vehicle), you need to know the following tips that help extend the life of electric batteries for cars:
- Drive often. As with any car battery, leaving it unused for long periods of time degrades it. Drive your car often, and if you’re going to be away for any length of time, have someone start it and take it around the block every few days.
- Accelerate and break slowly. Not because your car can’t handle you putting the pedal to the metal. Actually, it’s a matter of physics. When you’re coasting to a stop, your car is moving with kinetic energy. That kinetic energy naturally charges the hybrid battery and extends its life. When you come to a stop, the hybrid’s gas engine is designed to shut off and it switches to all-electric mode (you might have noticed your hybrid sounds completely silent when it is stopped, as if it’s turned off). By slowly accelerating, it stays in electric mode and helps the batteries cycle, which healthy hybric batteries like to do. It also improves your fuel mileage, as if you needed it. We call that “science,” my friends.
- Perform regular battery maintenance. This might be obvious. Every five years, you should take your car to the hybrid doctor and have the battery conditioned. Having the battery inspected, diagnostics performed, flushing the battery cooling system, and replacing the cables will improve the fuel efficiency and power of your hybrid, as well as prevent any small issue from ruining your battery.
Do you have any great tips for extending the life of your hybrid battery? If you’ve ever had to replace your battery, do you have any advice for other hybrid drivers? Please share your hybrid input in the comment section below.