The Prius is a popular hybrid car made by Toyota which when it launched in 1997 was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. The Prius has a powertrain consisting of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. This electric motor is powered by a battery pack. So then, where’s the battery in a Prius?
We will point out that and explain much more in this guide. The Toyota Prius is undoubtedly one of the most desirable options among drivers when it comes to reliable hybrids. And it’s crucial to understand how it operates and where each component is located if you intend to buy one.
So, before you hop into this deep dive, be sure to check out our write-ups on whether Toyota Prius are good cars. On top of that, we’ve also looked into how long do Toyota Prius typically last, the Toyota Prius model years to avoid, and our buyer’s guide on buying a used Toyota Prius.
Keep reading to discover where’s the battery in a Prius. Additionally, it’s also crucial to be aware of the various Toyota Prius models and their structural differences. We will also give you a comprehensive tutorial on how to replace the battery, the cost of replacement, and jump-start a Prius.
- Toyota Prius Generations
- Types Of Batteries In A Prius
- Location Of The Batteries In A Prius
- Replacing The Hybrid Battery
- Prius Hybrid Battery Replacement Cost
- Replacing The 12V Battery
- Prius 12V Battery Cost
- Jumping A Prius
- Final Conclusion
The Toyota Prius was the first gasoline-electric hybrid car to be mass-produced. The Toyota Motor Corporation worked diligently for five years to create and market this usable, low-emission family vehicle, culminating in its domestic launch in late 1997.
Contrary to what many people believe, Toyota did not invent the hybrid vehicle concept. Since 1898, there have been vehicles having both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.
But Toyota was the first producer to work through the myriad of technical and engineering challenges required to put this powertrain into mass production. The most important of them was the requirement to extend the high-voltage battery’s lifespan in order for it to equal that of the life of other parts that made up the car.
The ground-breaking Toyota Hybrid System was at the center of the new Prius. It was an integrated system whose mechanical components could even now fit within a standard engine compartment.
For maximum fuel efficiency, the system was powered by a four-cylinder 1.5-liter NZ-series engine that used a simulated Atkinson combustion cycle. It was connected to a separate generator as well as a small electric drive motor with high torque.
The last part was a large nickel-metal hydride battery pack that was concealed beneath the back seats. It’s interesting to note that every hybrid vehicle created by Toyota Motor Corporation since then has adopted the fundamental ideas and design of the first-generation Toyota Prius.
This is because they were so meticulously and thoroughly researched from the start. We will now look at the evolution and various generations of the Prius.
First Generation (1997-2003)
Toyota unveiled a hybrid concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, and testing began the following year. On December 10th, 1997, the first Prius went on sale. When the first-generation Prius was introduced, it set a record as the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle to be mass-produced.
The first-generation Prius was a stockier sedan than the current design.
Second Generation (2003-2009)
In 2003, the Prius had its first major overhaul. The Toyota Hybrid System II, an advancement of the prior THS, was added to the new model. This increased its fuel efficiency and solidified the Prius’ reputation as an efficient green car.
The design was altered as well. The vehicle’s highest point was moved above the driver’s head. The Prius now had a “triangle silhouette” that gently sloped downhill in both directions. This new style established a futuristic, distinctive Prius aesthetic in addition to improving aerodynamics.
Third Generation (2009-2015)
In comparison to earlier generations, the third-generation Prius had a slightly larger body, and the THS engine’s displacement was raised from 1.5 to 1.8 liters. The second-generation Prius’s basic “triangle silhouette” was retained.
But the new model’s hood, headlamps, and side view had more modulation. The third-generation Prius offered the highest fuel efficiency rating available at the time.
Fourth Generation (2015-2022)
From the second to the third generation of Prius, there were no significant design modifications. The fourth-generation Prius had a lower center of gravity and a more aggressive appearance while still carrying over the “triangle silhouette” design.
The U.S. market Prius range also debuted an all-wheel drive model using Toyota’s E-Four system in late November 2018 for the 2019 model year.
Fifth Generation (2023+)
A completely revised fifth generation of the Toyota Prius debuts in 2023. It comes fully redesigned inside and out and looks much better and ages ahead of any other Prius model ever produced.
Every Prius now rides on the latest iteration of Toyota’s TNGA-C platform. This makes it leaner, more rigid, eco-friendly, and compact with a broader stance and a lower driving position.
The Prius now features a new 194-hp hybrid powertrain with all-wheel drive available as an option. This not only gives it better acceleration than many of its hybrid rivals but also improves fuel economy without sacrificing performance. All in all, the fifth-generation Prius starts a new chapter in the lifetime of this arguably iconic green car.
Prius Hybrid Battery
The Toyota Prius is an example of a hybrid car that runs a little differently from other cars. They have two batteries. The smaller of the two is a 12V battery that performs many of the same functions as a typical car battery. The car itself is powered by a second, higher-voltage battery, which cuts down on the demand for gasoline.
The hybrid batteries, however, are extremely pricey. These batteries have a long lifespan and will degrade along with your car. They also come with a warranty that is valid for either 10 years or, 150,000 miles in places with California emissions rules. It is valid for 8 years or 100,000 miles in all other states.
Recently, Toyota started offering extended warranties. Beginning with models for the 2020 model year Toyota has raised the coverage for all hybrid batteries. It has been upped from 8 years or 100,000 miles to 10 years from the date of first use, or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.
This means that if your battery needs to be replaced during the warranty term, you can get a new one without paying anything out of pocket. Consequently, purchasing a hybrid battery can be difficult. You can get it directly from a Toyota dealership.
However, there are highly expensive substitutes available. With the most recent industry developments, replacing individual sections of the pack might be simpler than replacing the entire thing.
Prius 12V Battery
The 12-volt battery found in Toyota Prius cars is typically used to power electronic components. These include starting the vehicle and powering electrical components like the lights and the radio.
Although more recent models employ both, it typically uses Lithium-ion (Li-ion) or Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. In addition, the battery is considerably smaller than in conventional cars. So, if you’re wondering about how much does a car battery weigh, it’s a lot less in the Prius.
In contrast to the normal lead-acid nature, it features a glass mat design architecture. As we will see later, the 12V battery is typically found in the trunk or hood. You must replace this after 4-5 years of use, just like any other 12V automobile battery.
A popular replacement choice is Optima, a respected battery manufacturer that creates a variety of top-notch batteries for various automobiles.
Prius Battery Location
So then, where’s the battery in a Prius? In all of the Prius models, the high-voltage hybrid battery pack that powers the car itself is located below the rear seats. However, the 12V battery is located at different locations depending on the generation and model of the Prius which we will explain below.
Prior to the fourth generation Prius, the trunk on either the driver’s or passenger’s side held the 12V batteries. However, things have returned to normal with the generation 4 Prius.
In this gen, you can easily find your battery under the hood, much like in other cars. Let’s break this down by locating the precise placement of the 12V battery in each Prius model.
The first generation Prius was produced between 2001 and 2003. In these cars, the 12V battery was located under the trunk on the driver’s side. From 2004 to 2009, the second-gen was built as a follow-up to the generation 1 sedan. This model’s 12V battery is located in the passenger-side trunk, close to the tail lamp.
From 2010 through 2015, the third-generation Prius was manufactured. However, the position of the 12V battery was left unchanged from the generation 2 versions. That is, they were located below the trunk on the passenger side.
In the Prius C Model which was produced from 2012 to 2018, the battery was located under the passenger seat. The Prius V which was also produced in the same time period had its battery in the passenger-side trunk, below the trunk.
The fourth generation Prius is the one that normalized the battery position. This one has its 12V battery located under the hood, like most cars in the market.
Prius Battery Replacement
Here we will discuss replacing the hybrid battery of the Prius while we will cover replacing the 12V battery further down the line. Early hybrid battery failures are mostly caused by a few broken cells.
Keep in mind that a hybrid battery contains numerous cells. The cost of replacing an entire hybrid battery when only a few cells are harmed isn’t practical. Therefore, why not just replace the ones that are broken?
To prolong the longevity of the battery, you must balance the battery pack in addition to replacing the broken cells. Replacing all of the damaged cells is also not the best option if there are numerous damaged cells. If that is the case then you might as well change the battery pack entirely, right?
Where’s The Battery In A Prius: Prius Battery Charging
The next best (or less expensive) alternative is to do a hybrid battery reconditioning or rejuvenation. This is accomplished by charging and balancing the battery’s cells. It resembles giving your hybrid battery new life in certain ways.
A reconditioned battery, however, is not the same as a brand-new battery. It is not likely to last as long as a brand-new battery. Consider battery reconditioning as a technique for you to increase the battery’s lifespan (it can give you an estimated 60,000 additional miles).
The main benefit of battery refurbishing is that it enables you to prolong the life of your Prius battery while just costing a small portion of what a new hybrid battery would cost.
Prius Battery Replacement Cost
Sometimes, especially if your Prius battery is older than ten years, it is preferable to simply replace the hybrid battery. Because a brand-new hybrid battery will always perform better than one that has been fixed.
So then how much does the battery itself cost? That will depend on the year and model of your Prius and where you buy the battery from.
Where’s The Battery In A Prius: Prius Battery Cost At A Toyota Dealership
If you intend to buy your Prius battery pack from a Toyota dealership, expect to pay around $3,000 to $4,000. This does not include installation or labor charges. Here is a list of multiple Toyota Prius models made by Toyota since 2001 and the prices of their batteries to give you an idea.
- 2001-2003 Toyota Prius (1st generation) – $3,650
- 2004-2009 Toyota Prius (2nd generation) – $3,940
- 2010-2011 Toyota Prius (3rd generation) – $4,080
- 2012-2015 Toyota Prius Liftback – $3,940
- 2012-2016 Toyota Prius V – $3,940
- 2012-2016 Toyota Prius C – $3,810
Dealership pricing isn’t exactly inexpensive, as you can see. Toyota dealerships are infamous for having exorbitant costs. This is not surprising given the low margins and hefty overhead expenses of large corporations like Toyota.
You should still call your local Toyota dealer, though, to learn more about your options. Additionally, purchasing through a Toyota dealership has a more “formal” air to it. This could give you some extra peace of mind. Purchasing a replacement Prius hybrid battery from a Toyota dealer is not a bad idea if you don’t mind the price.
Where’s The Battery In A Prius: Prius Battery Cost At A Private Seller
Don’t worry if spending at least $3k on a replacement hybrid battery cost is too expensive for you. One can be purchased from a private seller or a hybrid specialist shop at half the cost. Of course, you don’t just want to get the least expensive battery that is offered.
You want to purchase one from a vendor you can rely on and who has a solid reputation for offering dependable hybrid battery systems. Additionally, it’s usually a good idea to locate a business or store with a skilled and experienced hybrid technician for obvious reasons.
Even more crucially, ensure sure the merchant you’re buying from provides a reliable and long battery warranty. Why? Because the Prius battery warranty serves as a guarantee of the seller’s integrity.
It demonstrates their commitment to quality and that the hybrid battery they are offering you was made with the utmost care and adherence to the highest standards.
Replace Prius 12V Battery
The Toyota Prius features two batteries inside. A sizable 200-volt battery for powering the vehicle in electric mode and a smaller 12-volt battery for accessories like lights and radios. Here we will explain how to swap out the smaller, 12-volt battery. This battery is more difficult to install or change than the ones in the majority of cars.
There are numerous objects blocking the path from finishing the work, and it is hidden in the trunk rather than under the hood. Nevertheless, as long as you know where it is and what must be done to gain access to it, it is not extremely challenging.
The average car owner should have no trouble completing the task, and it shouldn’t take too long. The Prius 12V battery isn’t like the normal car batteries. Because it is smaller than those used in typical automobiles and is made of glass mats as opposed to lead-acid batteries.
Of course, you may buy it via a Toyota dealer, but you also have another choice. And while you’re there, feel free to check out our other guides on 12V batteries. That includes our discussion on how to test a car battery, how long does it take to charge a car battery, weak car battery symptoms, and how much is a car battery.
Where’s The Battery In A Prius: Prius 12V Battery – Optima DS46B24R
There is only one manufacturer of a battery that is a direct substitute for the Prius battery. It is also vastly superior to the Toyota battery at roughly the same price. That brand is Optima, a reputable battery producer recognized for its high-caliber batteries.
The Optima DS46B24R is the model as of the publication of this article. This battery is a direct replacement for Prius models manufactured in 2004 and later. These models come equipped with a smart key system, as are the majority of vehicles in that range.
Nearly all Toyota Prius models can be directly replaced with this specific model. In the case of the Prius, being a direct-fit replacement is crucial because the battery is situated inside the passenger compartment.
The DS46B24R does feature a vent port for connecting a hose that leads to the outside atmosphere. Anytime a car battery is located in an enclosed space, it should be properly vented to the outside atmosphere.
It shouldn’t be difficult to connect the vent hose to the port while installing the battery because all Prius batteries were manufactured in this manner.
Prius 12V Battery Cost
Batteries of hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius are significantly more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles. Why? It’s because of the higher complexity of the vehicle and its powertrain. To ensure a silent, seamless, and comfortable driving experience, the majority of hybrid and electric vehicles include additional equipment.
As a result, a Toyota Prius battery, which is typically 12 volts (if you’re curious, check out our guide on how many amps is a 12-volt battery), is a little more expensive than those found in other battery-powered vehicles. Before taxes, a 12-volt battery replacement for a Prius typically costs between $300 and $500.
However, the price would largely depend on the dealership’s location and the battery model. For instance, a newer battery model would cost more compared to an older model. On top of that, third-party repair shops or DIY replacements would usually cost significantly less than a dealership.
Of course, prices change as time passes, and preparing your budget in advance is strongly advised due to the variable rates. You must also factor in other expenses in addition to the price of the battery, particularly if you are not replacing the battery yourself.
As a result, you would be engaging a mechanic to complete the task on your behalf. Therefore, there would be labor expenses and other fees to take into account.
Jumping A Prius
Along with mastering the specifics of replacing a Prius battery, it is beneficial to be skilled at jumpstarting hybrid vehicles like the Prius. This enables you to handle basic battery issues on your own, such as issues where your Prius won’t start.
- Connect the positive terminal of the Prius to the red positive jumper cable (if you need a hand, check out our guide on how to connect jumper cables).
- Connect the second red positive jumper cable to the live/assisting vehicle’s positive battery terminal.
- Connect the black negative cable to the negative battery terminal of the assisting vehicle.
- Connect the second negative clamp to the stationary, unpainted, solid metallic point. For safety reasons, be sure that this link is at a distance.
- Try igniting the assistance car’s engine. Allow it to run for a few minutes.
- Start the Prius next, and after you’ve gotten the “ready” signal, detach the jumper cords. To avoid messing up the connection, remove the jumper cables in the reverse sequence.
Where’s The Battery In A Prius: In Conclusion…
Understanding your Toyota Prius’s components inside and out is essential for an owner or a potential owner. In the event of unanticipated circumstances, such as a battery failure or similar occurrences, it enables you to conveniently navigate the crucial areas.
Now you have an idea of the types of batteries incorporated into a Prius, where’s the battery in a Prius, and the cost of replacement. A battery that is too old might also reduce the fuel efficiency of your Prius.
The car will keep trying to recharge it to full status even though the battery is no longer capable of receiving a full charge. Hence, it is important to keep track of the health of your batteries and make sure they are functioning in great condition.
FAQs On Where’s The Battery In A Prius
If you’re still curious to learn more about where’s the battery in a Prius, our FAQs here might help…
Is Red Positive Or Negative
The red one is positive. There are two metal connections on each battery. One has a plus sign (+) and the other a minus sign (-). The jumper cable set also includes positive and negative cables. The black one is negative (-), whereas the red one is positive (+) (-).
How Long Do Prius Batteries Last
There are a number of variables that will affect which end of the spectrum your battery life falls on. But the average estimate is that it will operate efficiently for 8 to 10 years, or anywhere between 100,000 and 150,000 miles.
How Much Is A Prius Battery
Hybrid car batteries are generally expensive, and the Prius hybrid battery is no exception. A Prius hybrid battery replacement typically costs between $2,000 and $4,500. You could end up spending less if you choose a private seller over a Toyota dealership. However, even if you choose a used battery, expect to pay around $1,500.
Where Is The Battery In A Prius
The Toyota Prius models’ batteries are typically placed under the passenger seats. Standard cars, typically have them in the engine compartment or underneath the hood. In a Prius, the battery is located in the right back portion of the trunk. To be more precise, beneath the plastic molding of the vehicle’s passenger compartment.
Why Don’t You Connect The Negative When Jumping A Car
Never attach the black cable to the dead battery’s negative (-) terminal. This is because it is extremely risky and might cause an explosion. When jumpstarting your car, be careful to adhere to the owner’s manual’s directions. Every automobile is unique and the owner’s manual provides specific instructions to be strictly followed.
Can You Jump Start A Prius
Yes, you can jump-start a Toyota Prius. Jump-starting a Prius or another Toyota hybrid is quite similar to jump-starting a gas-powered car. Jumper cables, a helping vehicle, and a solid metallic point are all required to jump a Prius.
How To Charge Prius Battery
Before you park and turn off your Prius, take a few minutes to get that auxiliary battery charged. This can charge up the battery and keep it in a healthy condition. Make it a point to drive your car once or twice a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
Are All Priuses Hybrids
Yes, all Priuses are hybrids of some kind. While the normal Prius models are hybrids, Toyota also offers the Prius Prime which is a plug-in hybrid model. Both of these are referred to as electrified cars. They continue to combine electric components that increase fuel efficiency with gas-powered engines to create these more efficient automobiles.
How To Check Prius Battery Life
Start your engine and drive. Keep an eye on how long it takes your battery to discharge. Next, locate a hill and let your automobile roll down it. Keep an eye on how quickly your battery charges. You are in stage two of three battery health stages if your battery level fluctuates quickly. This indicates that reconditioning may be necessary for your battery.