If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have noticed that we’re pretty big supporters of hybrid and electric cars here at The9Billion. We’re always keen on bringing news of the latest developments in the emerging industry sector. So, admittedly I’m more than a little disappointed to find out that the IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) battery needs replacing in my family’s 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. It has 29,094 kms on the clock, and we bought the used hybrid from a Honda dealership only 6 months ago.
I certainly have no complaints whatsoever about the customer service I’ve been receiving from Honda Care. The people at the other end of the dedicated Honda Care phone line have been very helpful, and assured me when I first called about the problem that the battery is under warranty and would definitely be replaced if there turned out to be a major problem with it. In fact, they have advised me that the warranty on the IMA battery is for a substantial 8 years!
However, the main issue for someone like me, who obviously thinks about sustainability quite a lot these days, is that it’s still a little troubling that a new battery is, as we speak, winging its way (I assume, as it takes only a couple of days) from Japan to replace our prematurely deteriorated battery.
From an environmental point of view, I hope a lot of other hybrid drivers out there aren’t going through a battery every 3 years or so, given the amount of resources and transport needed to manufacture them and distribute them. I feel like it defeats the purpose of buying a supposedly more efficient car in the first place if the batteries are only going to last this long. Thankfully, the Honda service centre has assured me that Honda now recycles old hybrid batteries, extracting the increasingly in demand rare earth metals in the process.
I really doubt that it’s the case that this is an average time for a hybrid battery to last. The authorised service centre that’s servicing the car has assured me that they haven’t seen many cases of batteries only lasting this long. Anecdotally, through my conversations on Twitter, it certainly doesn’t seem like the norm.
Apart from this problem with the battery, I have very few complaints with the car. It’s big enough to carry my family of four around and it’s certainly light on fuel. Sure, environmentally speaking it’s always going to be better to walk, use a bike, or use public transport, but that’s not often an option when your household has little kids to ferry around (on hills) on a daily basis, and you live somewhere where the public transport is not great.
Anyway, I hope our replacement battery lasts longer! I’m also interested to know if many other people have had similar experiences with their hybrid batteries not lasting very long. If you own a hybrid, is your battery still hanging in there after years of use?
Image CC licensed by John Johnston: Our Honda Civic Hybrid