For those questioning the lifespan of a Toyota Prius battery, one taxi driver has 621,000 reasons why there’s no cause for concern.
That’s approximately how many miles one man has logged in his Prius taxi. Manfred Dvorak, a cab driver in Austria, tells the story of his 621,000-mile (one-million kilometers) Prius in a series of videos posted by Toyota Austria.
“The figure of one million kilometers itself speaks to its excellence,” Dvorak said of his Prius. “Even if the engine survives [in other cars], the other parts will break down. But this is not the case with this vehicle. It still continues to run well, even now.”
He paused for a moment to try to recall if the Prius has ever broken down before stating, “Nope, never.”
In a second video, Dvorak talked about how much fun the high-mileage Prius is to drive, with the car still maintaining its ability to quickly accelerate and handle the mountain curves with ease.
“The acceleration is very good,” explained Dvorak. “I’m sure the drivers I have overtaken feel the same way.”
Of course, these are promotional videos created and released by Toyota. It doesn’t appear that Dvorak has given an interview to any other news source (at least within the U.S.), so it’s difficult to verify his story.
But his claims of 621,000 miles on an original Prius battery aren’t implausible.
Taxis in general see far more wear and tear than most other cars on the road. In the U.S., the average taxi logs 70,000 miles each year (according to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission). Compare that to the 13,000 miles most household vehicles travel annually. These aren’t easy miles, either, with taxicabs spending a significant portion of time navigating stop-and-go traffic, which wears heavily on a vehicle’s powertrain.
Even looking beyond the realm of service vehicles, it still doesn’t appear that Dvorak’s taxi is a singular exception of a long-running Prius battery pack.
In the San Jose Mercury News, Gary Richards listed more than half a dozen examples of Prius owners reporting mileage in the neighborhood of 200,000 miles on the original battery. Only one had ever needed to replace the battery, and that was after seven and a half years of use. One owner even rolled over 530,000 miles before a collision took the Prius off the road permanently.
“The only problem that I had regarding the battery was a cooling issue that occurred due to dog hair sucked into and clogging the battery cooling fan located below the rear seat,” remarked the 530,000-mile Prius owner. “Toyota did not design an air filter for this rear seat vent. It is probably the only design flaw I would mention about the car.”
Consumer Reports has also tested to see if Prius batteries lost effectiveness after a long time.
“We hooked up a 2002 Toyota Prius with nearly 208,000 miles on the clock to our testing instruments and compared the results to the nearly identical 2001 Prius we tested 10 years ago,” said Consumer Reports editors in 2011.
“We found very little difference in performance when we tested fuel economy and acceleration,” they concluded. “Our testers were also amazed how much the car drove like the new one we tested 10 years ago. We were also surprised to learn that the engine, transmission, and even shocks were all original.”
“So is an old Prius a still a good value?” asked the editors. “We think so.”
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