Used Hybrid Market Soars

But buyers beware pricey replacement batteries in aging green cars
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted May 28, 2008 10:22 AM CDT
Unsold 2008 Prius hybrid sedans sit on a lot at a Toyota dealership.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The rising price of gasoline has heated up the used hybrid market, leading Newsweek writer Keith Naughton to wonder about the staying-power of the pricey battery the part-electric cars run on. Initial fears that Prius batteries would die well before the expected life of the car have proven unfounded, and the cost has come down dramatically, but when they do go, replacements are still in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.

That's why an underground aftermarket in Prius batteries is emerging, with used batteries going for $450 to $1,700 on eBay. Installation can cost another $900, and it's not a good DIY project, Naughton says. Still, hybrid battery failure is rare, he concludes, and Honda and Toyota are expected to cut the cost of replacement batteries in the next couple months.