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When Hyundai launched its new Sonata Hybrid a few months back, skeptics wondered what the Korean automaker would do to back its hybrid powertrain. Known for one of the best warranties in the business on the rest of its products, no info was provided about a warranty on the new lithium-polymer setup used in the hybrid – the first use of a lithium-polymer battery in a car.

At a technical seminar last week at the company's HACHI R&D facility in Detroit, Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik confirmed the car will get a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty, exceeding the 8 year/100,000 mile warranty Toyota offers on the Prius.

This guarantee should help resale values for the cars, although finding a buyer is still likely difficult once that end-date approaches.

Read AutoGuide's 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review by Clicking Here

More: Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Battery to Get Industry-Best 10 Year/100,000 Mile Warranty on AutoGuide.com
 

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A couple of questions about the battery... This type of battery is in use a lot in different industries. I have been reading about it this morning, and I notice two possible concerns...

1) The battery is prone to overheating and exploding rather violently when overheated - the model airplane people have had quite a bit of trouble with this. They like the battery because of its weight, but I have seen videos of the batteries exploding and bursting into flames. I have read on their forums that the critical temperature is around 160 degrees F before runaway conditions can start. I live in south Florida, where the sun is intense, and was considering a black Sonata hybrid car - I have actually ordered one. I am now wondering if that is a mistake... And I am wondering if any significant testing has been done one the battery safety in this application. No way to tell, I guess, but I would hate to have a battery behind the back seat burst into flames while my child is in a safety seat strapped in the back of the car as required by USA laws. Am I being overly cautious and somewhat stupid on this? Or not? ny thoughts?

2) Also, the battery life is notoriously short. Once again, I guess the warranty protection covers me, but I wonder if they are rushing to market with this battery... No way to tell on this either, I guess.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
 

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QUOTE (RJQMAN @ Apr 19 2011, 12:02 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=432666
A couple of questions about the battery... This type of battery is in use a lot in different industries. I have been reading about it this morning, and I notice two possible concerns...

1) The battery is prone to overheating and exploding rather violently when overheated - the model airplane people have had quite a bit of trouble with this. They like the battery because of its weight, but I have seen videos of the batteries exploding and bursting into flames. I have read on their forums that the critical temperature is around 160 degrees F before runaway conditions can start. I live in south Florida, where the sun is intense, and was considering a black Sonata hybrid car - I have actually ordered one. I am now wondering if that is a mistake... And I am wondering if any significant testing has been done one the battery safety in this application. No way to tell, I guess, but I would hate to have a battery behind the back seat burst into flames while my child is in a safety seat strapped in the back of the car as required by USA laws. Am I being overly cautious and somewhat stupid on this? Or not? ny thoughts?

2) Also, the battery life is notoriously short. Once again, I guess the warranty protection covers me, but I wonder if they are rushing to market with this battery... No way to tell on this either, I guess.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
There is danger with any technology. But are you referring to lithium-ion batteries or lithium-polymer batteries?

I'm only asking because Hyundai is the first car company to use lithium-polymer batteries in the industry. All other electric vehicles that use batteries to store energy up to this point have used lithium-ion batteries (like the ones used in laptops). There are a great deal of specifics that we can go into (best bet is to google it), but the main difference is the use of a gel (metal/salt) as opposed to liquid. This actually makes the battery much more stable than regular acid/liquid batteries. So I'm curious to know which articles you have read.

A quick search around has also yielded articles about how it can hold charges much better (see Audi A2) than older battery technologies--not only while the car is being used, but also when it is not for extended periods of time.

Theoretically every battery has a potential for a "critical" failure, but there are technologies in place that safeguard against abuse (intentional or otherwise). These include chargers that automatically shut power off once the battery reaches its optimal charge, enclosures that will protect against fires, and so on.

Make no mistake about it, I'm sure the DOT and many other government agencies have gotten their hands on these batteries and stressed them to the max to ensure that people are not put in any extra-ordinary dangerous situations. That's just the nature of the industry these days, that's why it takes so long for prototypes and concept vehicles to make it to production. But it's a good thing since everybody does their due diligence and we don't perish in a big ball of flame when we have a fender bender. ;)

Hope this helps alleviate some of your concerns.
 

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QUOTE (BLUE 42 @ Apr 21 2011, 12:48 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=433624
There is danger with any technology. But are you referring to lithium-ion batteries or lithium-polymer batteries?

I'm only asking because Hyundai is the first car company to use lithium-polymer batteries in the industry. All other electric vehicles that use batteries to store energy up to this point have used lithium-ion batteries (like the ones used in laptops). There are a great deal of specifics that we can go into (best bet is to google it), but the main difference is the use of a gel (metal/salt) as opposed to liquid. This actually makes the battery much more stable than regular acid/liquid batteries. So I'm curious to know which articles you have read.

A quick search around has also yielded articles about how it can hold charges much better (see Audi A2) than older battery technologies--not only while the car is being used, but also when it is not for extended periods of time.

Theoretically every battery has a potential for a "critical" failure, but there are technologies in place that safeguard against abuse (intentional or otherwise). These include chargers that automatically shut power off once the battery reaches its optimal charge, enclosures that will protect against fires, and so on.

Make no mistake about it, I'm sure the DOT and many other government agencies have gotten their hands on these batteries and stressed them to the max to ensure that people are not put in any extra-ordinary dangerous situations. That's just the nature of the industry these days, that's why it takes so long for prototypes and concept vehicles to make it to production. But it's a good thing since everybody does their due diligence and we don't perish in a big ball of flame when we have a fender bender. ;)

Hope this helps alleviate some of your concerns.
Thanks for the reply. The batteries I have seen explode in model planes were Lithium polymer and Lithium Ion. I understand that Lithium batteries have been somewhat restricted in commercial airlines - you are not supposed to even pack them in your luggage unless they are in a device. I do not think that is limited to the type of lithium battery. Rather than post a link I suggest you just google Model Airplane Lithium Battery Fires and you will find hundreds of links.

I know my concern is off-the-wall and there is probably zero worry, but sometimes the obvious things do not get tested even in the most well-intentioned testing programs, and the thought had crossed my mind. I can recall when we used to sit around the table trying to figure out ways to get our products to fail and then tested them under failure conditions and we did pretty well. But we were not perfect. When I designed appliances, we had to submit to Underwriters' Labs or ETL to test under UL specs. Underwriters' does a pretty darn good job at it on a lot of writing specs, but I have less confidence in the government. But that is another topic altogether.

I appreciate your thoughts very much. Thanks.
 
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