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I recently purchased a Toyota Prius and I am very...

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Dear Tom and Ray:



I recently purchased a Toyota Prius, and I am very happy with it. However, I cannot seem to find any information concerning the cost of replacing the hybrid battery pack. I usually drive my cars 10 years at least, and in the range of 200,000 miles. The 100,000-mile warranty is reassuring, but in my case, I'm still going to have to replace the battery pack someday. If you have any information about what it will cost, will you please pass it along? -- Richard

TOM: Toyota is refusing to say what a battery pack costs for the Prius. Probably because if it did, you'd fall out of your Birkenstocks, Richard.

RAY: What it will say is that even IT doesn't know exactly how long the battery pack will last. Toyota is guaranteeing the battery pack for eight years or 100,000 miles, but it says it might last longer than that. There haven't been any Priuses on the road that long yet, so real-world information just isn't available.

TOM: The company does say that its engineers consider the battery pack to be a "life of the car" component, meaning they intend that you'll never have to replace it.

RAY: Or meaning that when the battery dies, the life of the car is over!

TOM: In any case, Toyota's hoping that by the time batteries actually DO have to be replaced, the cost -- due to mass production -- will be much lower. It estimates that by 2008, the cost of the battery pack should be around $1,000. And, by the way, by then a VCR should cost about 59 cents.
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