• What Happens When A Toyota Prius Has A Dead Battery?

And how to fix it for around $1,000

Remember when the Toyota Prius was new and everybody was worried its battery would fail and would cost a small fortune to replace? Me too. Well, it turns out that hybrid battery packs do indeed fail and are very expensive to replace from Toyota – roughly $4,000. On an older Prius, that could theoretically exceed the value of the car, leaving it totaled according to your insurance company. Thankfully, there’s a way around this mess.

Automotive journalist and YouTuber Tyler Hoover bought a 2005, second-generation, Toyota Prius for $1,500 suffering from just that – a dead battery with no more life juice to squeeze. Interestingly, the Prius will drive just fine with a dead battery, though the 1.5-liter four-cylinder is solely responsible for moving the car, making it even more doggishly slow. Naturally, it also makes the Prius’ fuel economy drop like a rock.

But, rather than spending $4,000 at the Toyota stealership… errr, I mean dealership, Hoover went to the aftermarket. These days, third-party companies dealing in hybrid batteries are growing in number and popularity. Used Prii (yep, the official pluralization of Prius) are everywhere now, and folks aren’t willing to spend big money on OEM replacement parts. One such company, Electron Automotive, sells an entire bank of battery cells. See, the Prius’ battery pack consists of 28 individual, iPad-sized cells. These are what fail but generally do so individually. That means some of the cells are still good. Electron Automotive takes these good cells from old Prius batteries, pairs them with other working used cells, “rebalances” the cells to work together, and sells the rebuild kit for $1,000. There’s also a warranty, too. That’s a pretty good discount off the price Hoover says Toyota is asking.

Best of all, replacing the cells within the battery pack isn’t all that hard. In fact, the process seems almost plug-and-play once the suitcase-sized battery pack is removed from the trunk. So, check out Hoover’s video from his YouTube channel, Hoovies Garage. It’s a fun watch.


Toyota Prius

2006 Toyota Prius
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Read our full review on the 2005 Toyota Prius.

2016 Toyota Prius High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the current 2017 Toyota Prius.

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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