Most of the warranties that I hear about are like the Volt's, which is eight years/100,000 miles on its 16-kWh battery. That's less important for a conventional hybrid, which will typically have a 1-kWh or 2-kWh battery that may use a less costly nickel-metal hydride chemistry.
If it can be done, it certainly makes sense, davtrowbridge. Right now, the cells make up only about half of the pack costs, according to most of the estimates that I hear. If you can cut the cost of the cooling system, that pack cost could drop significantly.
I note that getting 15 to 20 years is contingent on power and cooling management systems, which adds to the cost of the battery subsystem. New chemistries may reduce or eliminate the need for these systems; the cost reduction this will make possible is needed to penetrate the burgeoning stop-start market.
Full disclosure: I'm affiliated with Leyden Energy, which is developing such a chemistry.
Chuck, With possible replacement costs potentially that high, it makes sense that buyers would be concerned to get some kind of long term service agreement to protects against catastrophe. Do you have any idea if this is common? I have heard with some hybrids that these agreements are available.
It's especially good news, Rob, when you consider the price of replacement batteries. A year ago, when a Tesla customer fried his Roadster battery, Tesla gave him a "friends and family" price of $40,000 for a new one. Most batteries are smaller than the Roadster's, but a few are even larger, so cost is a big consideration.
This is good news, Chuck. Many of us keep cars well beyond eight years. Stats show that the way to get the most out of a car economically is to run it till it falls apart. That can mean 15 to 20 years. If EVs and hybrids can't make it that long, it's a mark against them. So a long-life battery is good news.
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There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
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