Since it started developing the gas-electric Prius more than a decade ago, Toyota has kept its attorneys just as busy as its engineers, meticulously filing for patents on more than 2, systems and components for its best-selling hybrid. Its third-generation Prius, which hit showrooms in May, accounts for about half of those patents alone. Defenders of the patent system often say that there's no problem: But when companies create a patent thicket like this, that makes it effectively impossible.
Like other hybrids, the Honda Civic Hybrid relies on a battery system that gives the gasoline engine an extra boost in efficiency. These energy cells recharge while driving, but lose capacity over time. Now a class action lawsuit alleges that Civic Hybrids from the years to had shoddy batteries that reduced their fuel economy from the promised 50 miles per gallon to 30 m.
How long should such a battery last?
Hybrid owners already pay a premium for their fuel efficiency. Fortunately for hybrid owners, the Civic's battery problems seem to be Innovation of toyota in hybrid anomaly.
What does MPGe mean, exactly? Cinda Gobeille had to garage her Toyota Prius when the battery gave out after a healthy life of 10 years andmiles. The car looks great, she says. Gobeille, a nurse case manager from WoonsocketR.
It's a great little car. I really enjoyed my Prius, but this battery system is just too expensive to replace on such an old car. In some cases, old hybrids show no signs of aging. Last year, Consumer Reports compared a Prius withmiles with the results that it had collected 10 years earlier on a nearly identical Prius that had only 2, miles.
There was barely any difference in fuel efficiency. The near-mint model had logged So why are hybrid batteries sprightly after a decade, while laptop batteries start wheezing within just a few years? The chemistry is different — but in some ways, humans are to blame.
Berman, "and you're depleting it to zero percent. That is the worst thing you can do for the longevity of the battery. Similarly, the battery will say it's empty when it falls to about 20 percent. The exact numbers are company secrets, but the point remains: By undertaxing their batteries, hybrids ensure longer life spans.
Of course, that limits the usefulness of a single charge in exchange for long-term gains. If hybrids do conk out early, most batteries come with an eight-year or ,mile warranty.
Even as her Prius's efficiency slipped, "it always had good power," says Gobeille. She now drives a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and says she plans to stick with hybrids — or maybe electrics — from now on.
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