In short, yes, it is expensive to replace hybrid batteries—it can cost in the neighborhood of $3,000 for a full hybrid battery replacement. But on the other hand, hybrid batteries have proven themselves to be extremely reliable. And as long as they are not abused and the vehicle charging control system operates effectively, they can be--not unrealistically—expected to last for nearly the life of the vehicle.
Manufacturers are providing generous battery warranties (generally about 8-10 years and 80,000 to 100,000 miles), but as with most warranted components, they are designed to last well beyond the coverage period. It would not be unreasonable to expect the life of a battery pack to exceed 150,000 miles.
Something to keep in mind: as more hybrids take to the roads, reclaimed batteries from out-of-service (wrecked) cars will become more available at steep discounts.
More Hybrid Information:
Why is electricity an alt fuel? How exactly do mild, full and plug-in hybrids work? Plus FAQs about hybrids.
Hybrid Buying Guide
Check out the photos and test drives of current hybrid models, plus the lowdown on up-and-coming models.
Hybrid Maintenance and Safety Issues
Get the scoop on hybrid maintenance: from routine maintenance and professional repairs to safety issues and “beware the orange.”
Hybrid Tax Credits & Rebates
They go hand-in-hand: reduce your taxes and greenhouse gas contribution when you buy a hybrid vehicle.
Learn More at Hybrid CentralMore Frequently Asked Questions about Hybrid Vehicles