Share

AutoMatters & More: Cost-effective Dorman remanufactured Toyota Prius Hybrid batteries at AAPEX

Joe's Garage graphic
Joe’s Garage graphic
(Jan Wagner)

Each year, the automotive aftermarket industry gathers at the trade-only SEMA Show and AAPEX in Las Vegas. There they showcase OEM and custom vehicle debuts, thousands of new products, interactive experiences, service and repair, celebrity appearances and exciting motorsports events.

In 2021, AAPEX was expanded to enhance its education program by including more experiential learning opportunities for automotive aftermarket industry professionals. New was “Joe’s Garage,” a simulated real-world shop experience on the AAPEX show floor. It featured eight service bays, lifts and demos.

Toyota Prius Hybrid
Toyota Prius Hybrid
(Jan Wagner)

One of the participants at Joe’s Garage was Dorman Products, Inc. They demonstrated the installation of one of their remanufactured Toyota Prius Hybrid batteries.

Dorman OE FIX battery packs are thoroughly restored, and upgraded with nickel-plated bus bars and soldered safety disconnect terminals to prevent corrosion and ensure conductivity. All components are completely cleaned or replaced with new components.

As Jeremy Hartman, Dorman Product Manager explained to me, by remanufacturing hybrid battery packs, they give a second life to them instead of their being sent to scrap yards and junk yards. Dorman purchases hybrid batteries from low-mileage wrecked vehicles, completely disassembles them and then puts them through their remanufacturing process.

Individual battery modules with serial numbers
Individual battery modules with serial numbers
(Jan Wagner)

This process begins with an initial test of the individual battery modules, screening-out perhaps ten percent of them. The rest go through more advanced individual testing, where they get hooked up to cycling equipment that charges and discharges them, and lets them sit idle to monitor how much they self-discharge over time. This simulates their use in a vehicle — for example, accelerating hard and braking hard — replicating the energy transfer. This process takes from four to 4-1/2 hours, and is done to each individual module. During that process, data is collected every second, to see how each module is performing.

Toyota applies a barcode to every battery module at the factory. That contains a serial number — a unique identifier. Dorman scans that and traces it through their whole process, so that they know how each individual battery module performed at every step in their process.

Dorman remanufactured Prius hybrid battery assembly
Dorman remanufactured Prius hybrid battery assembly
(Jan Wagner)

Then the battery modules are placed into a massive, robot-controlled library that contains 6,000 individual modules. From these, for each battery, the robot selects 28 modules that have the closest properties to one another.

For example, if a particular module is reading six volts, the Prius will use it down to three or even two volts, but what the car cares more about is that all of the modules are in balance with each other. If one is performing at six volts and another is only performing at three volts, those would be way too far apart, creating an imbalance. Since the hybrid battery is only as good as its weakest link, that imbalance would trigger a warning light in the Prius, notifying its driver that a new hybrid battery is needed. If, on the other hand, all of the modules wear more evenly, the battery would have a longer life. The hybrid batteries were designed to last much longer than ten years, as long as they can stay in balance with one another.

Dorman remanufactured hybrid battery in Toyota Prius
Dorman remanufactured hybrid battery in Toyota Prius
(Jan Wagner)

Like a tire, these modules will not wear precisely evenly. Certain areas in the battery pack — generally in the middle, never get as cool as on either end, so the central modules get more accelerated wear due to more heat. To counteract this, the robot positions the modules in a specific sequence, so that the modules will wear more evenly overall, resulting into longer battery life.

For more information, visit https://www.dormanproducts.com/p-66461-587-001.aspx.

AAPEX 2022 will take place at the Venetian Expo & Caesar’s Forum in Las Vegas from Nov. 1 to 3, while the SEMA Show 2022 will be over at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Nov. 1 to 4. Then on Friday, after the SEMA Show concludes, the public will watch from grandstands as an hours-long parade of show vehicles leaves the LVCC in what is called the SEMA Cruise, on their way over to “SEMA Ignited,” the official after-party of the SEMA Show. The cars from the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) will drive over to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a weekend full of exciting, invitation-only, motorsports competitions.

To see the most photos and the latest text, and to explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, visit AutoMatters & More at AutoMatters.net. On the Home Page, search by title or topic, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #758


Advertisement