If you’ve been paying attention to developing news in the world of hybrid car batteries lately, you know that the industry is in a bit of a crisis. Some automakers — especially Honda — are experiencing big problems when their batteries hit the six-, seven- or eight-year mark. The car itself could be running great, but the hybrid batteries were likely not made to endure much past eight years, studies are now showing.
Between problems with diminishing battery life, hybrid fuel economy is always a feature put into question by potential buyers as well. And rightly so — you don’t want to invest in a brand new automobile that’s purported to be more efficient only to find out later that you’ve been duped. Luckily, the industry is taking great pains to correct these issues. For example:
Prohibitive hybrid battery replacement costs.
The Problem: In addition to the unexpected costs of having to replace a battery, it turns out they’re not the cheapest things in the world to get your hands on. In fact, if you’re going through the dealership, you can end up paying upwards of $4,000 to replace something you initially purchased less than a decade ago. That’s bad news for thrifty auto shoppers.
The Remedy: However, there’s good news, and it comes directly from folks within the industry. Third-party battery manufacturers have taken to creating the most sustainable, long-term options for battery replacement in models like the Honda Civic and Insight hybrids. These companies can significantly chop the dealership prices (sometimes in half), leaving you a realistic option for giving your hybrid a proper tune-up.
Deceptive fuel economy claims on new hybrid models.
The Problem: You might remember a big story from 2013 involving Ford and its claims about hybrid fuel economy for two of its expanding models. Essentially, Ford boasted that its C-Max and Fusion automobiles both racked up impressive readings of 47 MPG, but the real numbers were closer to 37 and 39, respectively (says Consumer Reports). Does this mean that you can’t trust any automakers who offer new hybrid models?
The Remedy: Not necessarily. Ford owned up to its mistake and took to digitally updating its C-Max and Fusion models to improve their overall performance quality. As for other brands, it’s always worth double-checking their MPG claims against how they actually run out on the road. Talk to a mechanic or a industry pro to get the real scoop on the cars you’re looking at purchasing.
Of course, there will always be controversy with hybrid cars. Whether it’s hybrid fuel economy issues, battery problems or some future ailments that we’ve yet to uncover, the important thing is that your car is something you feel comfortable with before you purchase it. The best way to do that? Start researching plenty in advance. So far, so good.