Monday, October 03, 2016

How Reliable are Hybrid Cars?

How reliable are Ford hybrid cars, and how long do they last? Pretty darn relible, and quite a long time:

Last week, Ford released data on how well its hybrids have survived, and it's remarkably good. Among the 190,000 nickel-metal-hydride battery packs it has built, just five reliability issues have been logged, out of a total of more than 42 million cells in those packs.

The five cells involved in those incidents turned out to have two different manufacturing flaws, which Ford resolved with its supplier. According to Ford, it has had no cell issues at all since 2007.

Put another way, an owner's odds of experiencing a battery cell problem in a Ford hybrid are 8.5 million to 1. That's as rare as being struck by lightning, twice.

More than two years ago, reports of taxi drivers in various locations who logged up to 300,000 trouble-free miles on Escape Hybrid taxis began to surface. Ford's data now reinforces the anecdotal evidence shared among those who have to buy new vehicles for taxi use.

The general manager of Yellow Cab San Francisco, Jim Gillespie, calls Ford's hybrid taxis “incredibly durable,” citing their use in stop-and-go traffic, up and down San Francisco’s notorious hills, for as much as 21 hours per day. Running up to 90,000 miles in a single year, Giillespie says, his drivers use just one-third of the fuel they previously burned in non-hybrid taxi vehicles.

Assuming I drive 12,000 miles a year, my old Explorer would consume 800 gallons a year, while the 43-mpg Ford C-Max will sip just 279 gallons to roll the same distance. Assuming gasoline stays at the very low price of $2.20 a gallon, that 's a savings to me of $1,146 a year, or about $9,000 over the life of this $10,000 car (with a $1,500 trade in, and with 34,000 miles on the odometer).

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