Why Hybrid Batteries Fail

There are 4 main reasons why hybrid batteries fail. Hybrid vehicles are expensive, so when you buy a new hybrid vehicle you would like to think that it will last you a very long time.

When you search the Internet, most hybrid battery makers claim that their batteries will last for up to 10 years.

However, in Sri Lanka it’s very different. Here’s why…

4 Reasons Why Hybrid Batteries Fail:

We believe that if you’re equipped with the knowledge of WHY your hybrid battery fails, then you can be prepared to maintain it and extend its life.

There are 4 main reasons why hybrid batteries in Sri Lanka do not last the 10 years that most automakers tout. In fact, most hybrid batteries in Sri Lanka only last 3-4 years before their battery health has been compromised beyond repair.


Dormant Battery

First off, most of the new (or newer) hybrid vehicles in Sri Lanka are imported from Japan or the UK. Before a hybrid vehicle has been imported to Sri Lanka, it would have been kept dormant for at least a few months before being placed in a shipping container. It also sits in the shipping container for 1 to 3 months in transit to Sri Lanka. As with any rechargeable battery, it becomes weaker if it is not used for a prolonged period of time. Thus, unknowingly, the new hybrid owner in Sri Lanka will have a vehicle with a weak battery pack from the start.

Prevention Tips
  • Have your battery checked after purchasing your car.
  • Drive your car often.


Improper Usage

For a muscle to stay strong and healthy, it needs to be subjected to the right amount of exercise. Too little exercise would weaken the muscle, and too much of it would cause muscular damage. Just like a muscle, the nickel–metal hydride (NiMH)/ Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) cells in your hybrid battery pack need to operate within a certain range to stay healthy. This healthy operating range is typically between a ‘State of Charge’ between 20% and 80%. This can be achieved if the hybrid vehicle is driven constantly in situations where the charge indicator gets to gradually oscillate between the lowest charge level and the maximum.

Prevention Tips
  • Drive your car often.
  • Drive on the motorway and in the city to get a full battery charge.
  • Drive long distances at least one time per week.


Heat and Dust

The worst enemy of any rechargeable battery is excessive heat, and in Sri Lanka it gets very hot. To keep the NiMH/ LiIon cells in your hybrid battery pack operating at an acceptable temperature range, your hybrid vehicle has a dedicated cooling system in place to cool the battery. The heat and dust in Sri Lanka make it hard for this cooling system to do its job fully. Dust can get trapped between the cell modules (In Toyota hybrids) and inside the battery-cooling fan, which hinders the airflow. Air leaks in the cooling system can also occur, preventing the airflow from traveling around the cell modules completely. Parking your vehicle under direct sunlight for long hours will weaken the cell modules over time as well.

Prevention Tips
  • Change A/C filter regularly.
  • Do not park in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
  • Roll your windows down 1.5cm when parked in direct sunlight.


Oxidation Levels

This is the least problematic reason for battery failure, and it only applies to Toyota hybrid vehicles. However, it is still a concern, thus it is worth mentioning. High levels of oxidation on the copper contacts limit the amount of energy that passes through the cell modules. Thus, reducing the opportunity for your battery cell modules to frequently cycle between 20% and 80%.

Prevention Tips
  • There is nothing you can do to prevent oxidation from occurring on your hybrid battery. However Lucid Technologies can service your battery to remove the oxidation.

Toyota Voxy hybrid battery

Read about the symptoms of a weak or failed hybrid battery

Symptoms of a Weak Hybrid Battery

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