What Does the Future Hold for Hybrid and Electric Car Batteries?
Late last year, Nissan unveiled plans to beef up the battery plans for its popular LEAF model, a completely electric automobile. As an all-electric car, the LEAF suffers from what car info hub The Newswheel calls a “driving range dilemma” — and no, there’s nothing wrong with its golf swing. The LEAF currently can only travel a maximum of 75 miles, according to EPA estimates. This is a problem for folks looking to operate more environmentally friendly rides for longer distances.
The solution? As Nissan’s planning and sales strategist Pierre Loing told PluginCars.com, “The packaging easiness [of the battery] makes it easier to put more batteries in the car, and you will see this.” In other words, keep an eye out for electric cars that don’t just run off of one power source, but multiple batteries. Currently, all-electric options aren’t as popular as hybrids, but a development like this could change the landscape.
At least, that’s what it looks like given the problems batteries in hybrid cars have had for the last five years or so.
Take the Honda Civic hybrid, for example. The Civic has long been a popular hybrid model right alongside Toyota’s Prius, but unlike the Prius, Civics have been known to have issues with their batteries the older they get. As it stands now, some Honda hybrid autos experience decreased battery performance after about eight years of driving. Sometimes, it’s even less, closer to six years or so.
What that means is that more Americans may indeed switch over to full electric cars if models like the LEAF explode onto more dealerships and into more marketplaces. Now though, Honda Civic hybrids are popular because they garner better fuel economy (averaging 40 miles per gallon) and reduce harmful gasoline emissions that standard autos still produce. Plus, despite costing more up front, hybrids can save their drivers up to $3,500 per year according to certain studies.
That’s all to say that the state of electric and hybrid batteries is currently in flux. Though there are plenty of things you can do to prolong the life of your hybrid battery — park in garages to conserve heat, clean it and secure it — they’re simply not engineered to last longer than the car itself. If the trend towards innovation continues, however, that all might change.
Until then, keep an eye on your hybrid battery. The time for replacement might be just around the corner. For more about this, go here.