Blog posts of '2016' 'January'

Self-Heating Electric Car Battery for Subzero Weather

A new lithium-ion battery self heats in below 32°F to relieve lots of "range anxiety" for electric- any hybrid-car owners.

In very cold weather, batteries in electric vehicles, hybrid cars, drones, space applications and some other instances slow down and perform poorly. Researchers at Penn State and the software company EC Power say they have a solution: a new lithium-ion battery that can self-heat if the temperature is lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Basically, this would relieve lots of “range anxiety” for electric-car owners, say the researchers. This might be a ‘cold weather car battery’ solution for all drivers using their electric cars during the freezing winters.


Conventional car batteries at below freezing temperatures suffer severe power loss, which leads to slow charging in cold weather, restricted regenerative breaking and reduction of vehicle cruise range by as much as 40 percent, the researchers said in Nature. These problems require larger and more expensive battery packs to compensate for the cold sapping of energy.

“We don’t want electric cars to lose 40 to 50 percent of their cruise range in frigid weather as reported by the American Automobile Association and we don’t want the cold weather to exacerbate range anxiety,” said Wang. “In cold winters, range anxiety is the last thing we need.”

The researchers, relying on previous patents by EC Power, developed the all-climate battery to weigh only 1.5 percent more and cost only 0.04 percent of the base battery. They also designed it to go from -4 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit within 20 seconds and from -22 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 seconds and consume only 3.8 percent and 5.5 percent of the cell’s capacity. This is far less than the 40 percent loss in conventional lithium ion batteries.

The all-climate car battery uses a nickel foil of 50-micrometer thickness with one end attached to the negative terminal and the other extending outside the cell to create a third terminal. A temperature sensor attached to a switch causes electrons to flow through the nickel foil to complete the circuit. This rapidly heats up the nickel foil through resistance heating and warms the inside of the battery. Once the battery is at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the switch turns off and the electric current flows in the normal manner.

While other materials could also serve as a resistance-heating element, nickel is low cost and works well.

“Next we would like to broaden the work to a new paradigm called SmartBattery,” said Wang. “We think we can use similar structures or principles to actively regulate the battery’s safety, performance and life.”


How cold weather car battery works


all-climate battery that rapidly self-heats battery materials and electrochemical interfaces in cold environments

a, Schematic in which a metal foil is inserted to generate internal heating from a low temperature and to provide fast heat transfer to electrodes and electrolyte. This self-heating function is activated by turning off the switch between the activation terminal and the negative terminal.
b, Cell voltage and temperature evolutions during Vact = 0.4 V activation (inset) and subsequent 1C discharge at −20 °C. The battery temperature rises from −20 °C to 0 °C in ~20 s and the 1C discharge thereafter occurs at the ~0 °C battery core temperature rather than the −20 °C ambient temperature.

  • Funny Car Winter Photos
  • Funny Car Snow Photos


  • Cars vs Snow Pics



Source: materials provided by Penn State.

Journal Reference: Chao-Yang Wang, Guangsheng Zhang, Shanhai Ge, Terrence Xu, Yan Ji, Xiao-Guang Yang, Yongjun Leng. Lithium-ion battery structure that self-heats at low temperatures. Nature, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nature16502

About GreenTec Auto

GreenTec Auto is a family owned and operated business specializing in rebuilding hybrid batteries. Originally based in the Sacramento, California area since 2009, GreenTec Auto has expanded to nine shops around the United States. Combined with 35 years of general automotive experience, GreenTec Auto knows your hybrid vehicle from the end to end. For more information, visit

Hybrid Battery Replacement Cost

Replacing hybrid’s battery not as costly as you think

The oldest Toyota Prius and Honda Insight hybrid cars are now 16 years old, and many have long since topped 100,000 miles.

Although the hybrid cars have been breathtakingly dependable, there’s a limit to the life of Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery packs, and many hybrid owners are now reaching it. But that’s not necessarily a reason to sell or junk the car.

While some owners of hybrid vehicles are having to replace batteries at 70,000 miles, others are getting as much as 200,000 miles out of their original units. Toyota said even 300,000 or 400,000 miles on one set of batteries is possible.

According to Eric Evarts, senior associate autos editor at Consumer Reports, “Most hybrids have been extremely reliable in our survey, and few have needed battery replacements. Even if you’re one of the unlucky few, look at it this way: In the most popular hybrid design, from Toyota, there are virtually no wearable parts in the transmission. So if you have to spend $1,800 on a battery after 150,000 miles, you’re still ahead of where you would have been in many less-reliable cars that are on their second or third transmission by then.”

So owners of popular hybrids who have seen reduced battery performance or warning lights on the vehicle’s dashboard have worthwhile alternatives that don’t involve sending the car to the junkyard.

Hybrid Battery Replacement Cost

(Crain News Service photo)

The first recourse is getting a new battery at a dealership – an experience that has left some consumers with sticker shock. But it may not be quite as expensive as you think. One Long Island, N.Y., 2005 Prius owner was quoted $4,000 for a new pack, and then learned that he was actually covered by the longer, 150,000-mile warranty that applies to owners in states that follow California emission laws.

Another owner haggled the price down from $5,875 to $2,299 after some negotiation – don’t be afraid to bargain. For the record, Toyota now charges an official $3,649 for a new first- or second-generation Prius pack, but a $1,350 “core credit” for your old battery makes that much more reasonable. For the 2006 to 2009 Honda Civic hybrid, expect to pay approximately $2,000 for a replacement pack.

Some of the batteries sold by both auto makers and aftermarket suppliers are remanufactured, which shouldn’t be a bad thing if it’s done correctly. Ironically, major supplier Mile Hybrid Automotive in Denver — which sells 500 replacement packs a year – offers new Honda Civic packs from a supplier in Hong Kong, while an auto dealer is more likely to provide a remanufactured unit.

According to info reported by hybrid car repair shops, they see hybrids that need new packs as early as 70,000 miles or as late as 200,000 miles. Toyota said even 300,000 or 400,000 miles on one set of batteries is possible, depending on how the vehicle is driven and if hybrid battery maintenance was regularly performed—that’s the all-important factor.

Honda Civic IMA Battery Replacement Costs

GreenTec Auto sells Honda Civic Hybrid 2003-2005 Rebuilt IMA Battery packs for $1,450.00 with a 18-Month/Unlimited Mileage Warranty and Free Shipping. Boost the power and performance of your Honda Civic Hybrid by a battery upgrade with 8 Amp-Hour brand new cells for $2,000. On top of the completely new battery pack you get a 3-year/Unlimited Mileage Warranty an a free shipping.

How much does it cost to replace a Prius battery?

For a refurbished Toyota Prius battery pack with Gen 2 cells that fits 2000 to 2003 cars, GreenTec Auto charges $1,745. and $1,100 for the second generation (2004 to 2010) Prius. They’re usually sent via truck freight to local garages. Toyota Parts & Service now charges an official $3,649 for a new 1st- or 2nd-generation Prius pack. Some buyers opt to install the packs themselves, though you will have to deal with return of the old core and shipping charges. You are probably better off going with GreenTec’s Mobile Installation they offer. Hybrid technology trained technicians eliminate the hassle of searching for a mechanic that’s willing and able to install your new HV battery. In addition to convenience, it removes all costs accrued with third party installations. They will perform the battery installation around your schedule and even right in your own driveway.

It’s possible to find individual battery cells for sale on the Internet, which can seem like a low-cost way of getting back on the road. But experts say that hybrid cells need to be balanced properly with professional equipment. Skipping that step can lead to overcharged cells and a hydrogen fire, which is very dangerous.

Yet another alternative is buying a used battery via eBay or other suppliers—with some replacement Prius batteries available in junkyards for less than $600. But, of course, caveat emptor applies: There’s no way to know how long batteries sourced that way will last. There is no guarantee the company from eBay will be still on the market next year to back up its warranty.

There are a lot of hybrid cars on the road now—1.3 million just from the market leader, Toyota. Hybrids have been on American roads since 1999, so it’s not surprising that a lot of them are reaching battery-replacement time. The cost of hybrid batteries is never going to be low, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, either.

By Jim Motavalli, Crain News Service