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Hyundai’s lifetime hybrid battery guarantee

Initially announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, Hyundai’s Lifetime Hybrid Battery Replacement Guarantee applies to all US 2012 model year Sonata Hybrids and is the first-of-its-kind in the industry.

The Hyundai Lifetime Hybrid Battery Replacement Guarantee ensures that if the 2012 Sonata Hybrid lithium polymer battery fails, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling costs for the old battery pack free of charge to the original owner. The coverage is not transferrable, and does not apply to lease and commercial vehicles or vehicles serviced outside the US.

Even with all the hybrid vehicle options on the market today, there is still limited demand for these vehicles because of barriers to customer adoption such as uncertainty about the technology and performance. By offering the Lifetime Battery Replacement Guarantee, Hyundai is addressing customer concerns and demonstrating our confidence in the durability of our product.

—Michael O'Brien, vice president, Corporate and Product Planning

The Hybrid Sonata, with Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive technology, features a lithium polymer battery pack. The lithium polymer cells, developed with Hyundai’s partner LG Chem, use a manganese spinel chemistry that provides a balance between power delivery, energy density and thermal stability. Thermal stability is critical to ensuring durability, eliminating the need to replace the battery pack during the normal lifespan of the vehicle. The electrodes in older lithium ion chemistries expand and contract with the heating and cooling that occurs during charging and discharging. This thermal expansion causes cracks in the electrodes which ultimately reduces the cell's ability to hold a charge. Manganese spinel lithium polymer cells have much lower expansion rates and are thus able to go through tens of thousands of charge cycles even without having to use a heavier, liquid cooling system, Hyundai says.

Comments

kelly

Lets see the other auto makers copy or beat this warranty.

HarveyD

Americans keep their private vehicle for an average of 10.8 years and Canadians for an average of 8.6 years. If hybrid owners do the same, a life time battery guarantee would be very close to the current 8 or 10 years offered by Toyota.

SJC

This is a gimmick, they had longer warranties to get sales years ago, this is just more of that. Someone ran the numbers and it came out cheaper than more ads.

Roger Pham

This reflects the confidence of Huyndai in their Lithium battery technology. Other mfg's will likely follow suit to remain competitive, and this will boost sales of HEV's greatly.

DavidJ

SJC: The ads don't benefit me but the warranty does as an insurance against unknowns with new technology and against lemons. So I think there is a very real difference, and labeling as gimmick is inappropriate.

SJC

Perhaps gimmich may have been too strong a word, but there are 8 year warranties now, in California that may be the average age of the cars. We do not know the fine print of this, perhaps it is prorated and they pay for the labor, we do not know.

"replace the battery and cover recycling costs for the old battery pack free of charge to the (original owner)..."

It is not transferable and not part of a lease, why not? They are trying to build confidence in a different battery type, so this is understandable, but is it necessary for the buyer when there are already 8 year warranties?

This is a hybrid, not a plug hybrid, so the battery pack is small and not as expensive. It appears to be ground breaking, but is not. This is why I refer to it as a marketing technique that may not be all that it appears to be, that is all.

Herm

I think California hybrids get a 10 year warranty on the battery, and it is transferable.

This is just a marketing shot at Honda's recent problems with hybrid batteries reliability.. the batteries for Toyotas and Fords have been bulletproof.

SJC

This is not transferable because that would be a longer liability. If you sell your car after 8 years, they are done.

SJC

I was not aware of Honda's problems, so I looked it up, thanks for mentioning that. I do not mean to be negative about this warranty, it is just one of those announcements that seems big, but may not be. The customer may think it is big, but they should look at it several ways is all I am saying.

kelly

I've owned Hyundai since 1999 and the 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranty has been the trump card, honored - even when my DIY maintenance documentation wasn't perfect.

Gone are the 50,000 mile warranty timing chains snapping at 51,000, the constant velocity (u)joints starting to 'click' out of 70,000 mile warranty, etc.

It's true that warranties may reflect statistics, but after Dad does the family car 60,000 miles, it's still in his name as the teenage kids, perhaps even grandparents add miles.

Even the later owner's have the "built to reliably handle 100,000 miles mechanically" in the back of their minds.

While the GM Volt EV battery("but it was totaled and caught fire weeks later in the junkyard) is getting politics/payback for "that unsafe 3 millionth Prius" - Hyundai gives their EV battery a forever warranty.

Could/should make a good Superbowl ad.

SJC

The 100,000 mile warranty certainly helped them sell cars and this is intended to do that as well. After reading about the Honda problems, I would want some assurance too. Smart move on their part.

JMartin

Good marketing. Eliminate the fear factor, particularly on new technology. Five years from now, it won't make any difference. Right now, it allows those on the fence to make the decision. And all for probably no cost.

Juan Carlos Zuleta

SJC, true the battery pack of the Sonata hybrid is small, but considering a captive market of almost 140k hybrids sold a year in the U.S.alone, Hyundai is indeed after a very promising market. If successful, this strategy may seriously hurt Toyota´s Prius in the years to come. Two and half years ago I warned that in order to retain its largest share in the automobile market of the world, Toyota needed to modify significantly its conservative business strategy (See: http://seekingalpha.com/article/148248-lithium-ion-batteries-for-hybrid-vehicles). Of course Toyota didn´t follow my advice. As a result, though, by December 2011 its sales fell to a third place in the world.

SJC

I guess if these major clueless corporations would just follow your sage, wise and visionary advice, everything would be fine.

Juan Carlos Zuleta

I never said Toyota was a clueless corporation.
What I have long argued is that back in 2009 both Toyota and Honda had economic incentives not to shift immediately to Li-ion battery technology for their hybrid cars. They had to do with their previous investments in NiMH battery technology which - I said - was already an obsolete technology for this type of electric cars. But there was another reason why Toyota and Honda decided to stick with their old technology: reputation. They simply didn´t feel like they should become followers of GM - a financially broken company at the time (See: http://evworld.com/blogs/index.cfm?authorid=209&blogid=728&archive=1). Here they were wrong again because in a way the new technology not only saved GM (See: http://evworld.com/blogs/index.cfm?authorid=209&blogid=919&archive=1) but it gave the American motor giant the very reputation as a "green car company" that both Toyota and Honda were seeking in the first place.

SJC

What you posted read as arrogant. A huge company like Toyota with many talented decision makers was not listening to someone as wise as you....really.

Juan Carlos Zuleta

P
If you don´t like my arguments Taking recourse to insults doesn´t seem as I would have hoped a more educated comment on my arguments but received an insult instead

Juan Carlos Zuleta

My previous comment should have read as follows:
SJC, if you don´t like my arguments you can always criticize them without taking recourse to an insult and lots of sarcasm ... really.

SJC

It is how they are written. You are a writer, I would hope that you are aware when something is expressed that can be taken as arrogant. The content is your opinion, if you want to give it some credibility then show us what your expert credentials are in automotive marketing.

Juan Carlos Zuleta

It is good to know at least that you are in automotive marketing ... perhaps concerned with promoting Toyota? ... as much as you can? Don´t take me wrong; I don´t blame you for that because all you´re doing is exerting your right to promote the company of your choice. But that doesn´t mean that everybody else should necessarily agree with you. My credentials are in more general field. I am a lithium economics analyst not really interested in a particular company. This provides me with much more objectivity and transparency than those shown in your different comments. My credentials are given by the number of readers I have and the quality of the comments I receive on my contributions to other web sites, just as respectable and credited as this one.

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