Just a hybrid marketing ploy?
Last month we covered Hyundai’s lifetime Sonata hybrid battery warranty that guarantees that Hyundai will replace the lithium-ion battery pack in the Sonata hybrid and replace it, if needed. Then, however, we weren’t sure if that warranty would be transferable.
Unfortunately, the warranty is not transferable, but it’s still a good industry standard that other automakers should follow, as long as it doesn’t affect pricing.
Considering the Honda Civic hybrid small claims suit regarding poor fuel economy and faulty battery packs, plus Chevy Volt battery fire concerns, Hyundai’s guarantee is a good way to squash battery concerns. Hopefully, other automakers will follow this lead.
Some might argue such a warranty is just PR since most hybrid batteries — outside of Honda — have proved quite reliable. King of hybrid cars Toyota, for instance, claims its hybrid batteries should last at least 150,000 miles, so why not just offer a lifetime warranty?
Of course, one might imagine a scenario where old hybrids could be kept ‘forever’ with free battery packs from the dealership. Still, as Consumer Reports found, managing a healthy supply of used hybrid battery packs could manage such scenarios cost-effectively.
Still, I don’t believe it’s battery worries that are keeping a cap on hybrid sales. Instead, it’s price. If Hyundai’s hybrid prices reflect this warranty, then I’d call it counter-productive.