Warranty and Roadside Assistance Coverage: What You Need to Know

Battery warranties for hybrid and electric vehicles:

Battery warranties for conventional hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, and plug-in hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Volt, are straightforward: The primary purpose of a hybrid drive system is to reduce air pollution from the gasoline engine by cutting down on the amount of fuel the car burns. And so batteries and associated equipment are considered part of the overall emissions system. Under federal emissions rules, they must be warrantied for at least eight years or 100,000 miles.

California’s zero-emission vehicle regulations require even more coverage: Hybrids sold in the states covered by California’s mandate must carry a minimum 10-year/150,000-mile warranty on their battery systems. As of this date, the states are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to the California Air Resources Board.

In addition to the high-voltage battery packs themselves, the hybrid warranty also covers critical elements such as battery pack cooling system components, battery control modules, the hybrid car’s continuously variable automatic transmission (if equipped with one) and any high-voltage current converters. The parts lists vary by model and manufacturer. Check the owner’s manual for specifics.

For pure battery-electric vehicles, there are no underlying federal or state emissions regulations. But because battery life and reliability are essential to an electric car’s operation, automakers have largely adopted the standard for hybrids: eight years or 100,000 miles on batteries and associated components.

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