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Are the 1990’s haunting your hybrid vehicle?

New vehicle technology, old problems.

If you drive a hybrid vehicle then you may be suffering from an old school problem that you long forgot about,  battery memory. 

Remember the rechargeable batteries and rechargeable power tools of the 1990’s? You probably remember that when they were new they worked great and the batteries lasted until the job was finished. But after using them for many uses you probably also noticed that they only produced enough energy for a few minutes of use. Similarly, you may also notice that your hybrid vehicle was peppy, accelerated rapidly, maintained great fuel economy, and the regenerative braking was strong for the first few years of ownership but now it just kinda feels worn out. You my friend are experiencing a deteriorated hybrid battery due to old school battery memory issues.

Battery memory is a generic term that is applied to nickel based batteries that suffer from reduced storage capacity due a lack of utilization. Even though you drive your car every day you may be surprised to discover that the hybrid battery pack see very little use storing and releasing energy. Let’s first consider what the hybrid battery pack is actually used for.

Your hybrid battery works more as a shock absorber or a surge tank than as a conventional rechargeable battery. The hybrid battery provides energy(discharges) to the drive motors during acceleration and receives or stores energy(charges) during braking or any time the engine makes more energy than what is needed to propel the vehicle. These periods of energy transfer or charging and discharging are brief and often only involve a few percent of the batteries total capacity. So your hybrid battery is often charging or discharging, but only a small amount compared to what it is capable of. These repeated small charges and discharges cause chemical changes inside the battery that reduce its overall capacity or cause memory issues.

 

1990’s Technology

2004 and newer hybrid battery modules

It gets more complicated because your hybrid battery is composed of 20-40 individual batteries, or modules, that are all experiencing the same charging and discharging cycles. Since we are now talking about up to 40 individual batteries it is very common that the individual modules deteriorate at different rates. This uneven deterioration causes what we call an unbalanced battery pack. So now we have a hybrid battery pack that has memory issues and is also unbalanced? That explains why we are no longer achieving 50 MPG, and the engine runs all the time at stop lights, and we have to smash the accelerator pedal to the floor to get the car moving.

 

Deteriorated hybrid battery pack

Deteriorated hybrid battery pack

How do you know if you are suffering from a deteriorating hybrid battery pack? Well, if you have read this far then you have probably already diagnosed your general dissatisfaction with the performance of your hybrid vehicle, so let’s get to the obvious solution. Since the rest of the car works great it would be foolish to replace the car with a new one. The dealership can replace the battery for several thousand dollars which sounds a little better.  Or, you can replace your degraded hybrid battery pack with a reconditioned battery pack.

Reconditioned battery packs are an economical and environmentally friendly option to restore the like new performance to your hybrid vehicle. Reconditioned hybrid battery packs are restored to above 90% of the original capacity but offer 100% restoration of performance since you only use a small portion of your batteries total capacity (remember, we talked about how the battery is used). Independent repair shops and hybrid specialists can perform a quick test to verify the health of your hybrid battery pack and replace your aging hybrid battery pack in a matter of hours.

The bottom line is if you are not happy with your hybrid vehicles performance your vehicle’s new technology may be suffering from an old problem, but you can fix it with a reconditioned hybrid battery pack.

Balanced/matched hybrid battery modules

Reconditioned hybrid battery pack

Reconditioned hybrid battery pack