There is a lot of hype revolving around this "mystery" lithium replacement pack that supposedly exists. Well, I can tell you that it is available for purchase but initially in limited quantities.
If you have not heard about the global shortage of computer chips, take a moment to read this article about it. The drought has limited the initial amount of these lithium packs, but that is not the point of this story.
People ask me why they should get into a lithium pack over the "tried and true" NiMH. I will use that for another in-depth review, but I will answer some frequently asked questions to help you get more information.
Question 1: Will This Make My Prius Faster?
Technically yes. Due to the new lithium battery's energy density, it can sustain more extended output on heavy acceleration. What that means is you get consistent acceleration for more extended periods. NiMH cannot support long periods of hard acceleration and especially as the battery becomes weak due to age.
Better power flow also means that your passing ability is less hindered. The 400 available amp output compared to the 100 amp output means you get 4x the available power from the lithium version. More power means a better driving experience in many ways.
So will you see record 0 to 60 times? No, but you will be able to merge on the highway and pass people without breaking a sweat.
Question 2: Do I Have To Have My Car Reprogrammed To Use This Battery?
Another great question. The answer is no; reprogramming is not necessary. Remember those computer chips I said that is in a shortage? Each one of the replacement blocks has its own chip that allows it to integrate seamlessly with your existing platform.
The BMS or battery management system will not know the difference between battery chemistry. The kit has been designed and tested to ensure a seamless integration so you can get back to enjoying your Prius.
Question 3: Can I Install This Myself?
Professional installation is recommended. I will tell you that because of lithium technology, you need to be extra careful. The greater energy density is a little scarier to work with. However, this kit, in my opinion, is very user-friendly.
If you have ever messed with your NiMH pack before, you can install this pack. Remember, you are doing it at your own risk like any disclaimer would tell you with high voltage.
I have had many more questions about this pack. I will tell you I own one, and the benefits are astounding. My ancient Prius that hardly got 39 mpg now hits 57. (so I hope that answers your mpg question). The acceleration is better, the engine is smoother and more linear. Overall, it has been an excellent investment.
I will tell you that because of the chip shortage, packs are in limited quantities. If you have been needing a new battery, get one before this first initial shipment is gone. It will be months before more will be available.
If you would like to know more about this battery, follow me on Twitter @the_hybrid_guy or find me on Facebook.
That is all for this one; I hope you have a great start to your week. I look forward to seeing you in the following article.
Want a hybrid but Prius is not the one for you? Check out this article to see what other options are out there.
Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.