Following the viral circulation of an owner’s bill for the replacement of the lithium-ion battery pack in his Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid which showed he had to pay RM120,960, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has announced that the recommended retail prices for the battery packs are RM50,000 for the E 300 BlueTEC hybrid and RM65,000 for the S400h.
The company did not comment on the RM120,000 cost incurred by an owner, though, but from what Motor Trader Online learnt, the prices of the same item could vary depending on the dealership.
Extended warranty for battery pack
Additionally, for a one-time payment of RM2,688, owners of the E300 BlueTEC hybrid and S400h can extend the battery warranty for an additional 4 years. The Hybrid Battery Extended Warranty provides 100% coverage for the repair or replacement of the battery pack for up to 8 years or 180,000 kms, whichever comes first (terms and conditions apply).
The S400h and E300 BlueTec Hybrid, both assembled locally, were launched in 2014 and early 2016, respectively. They had attractive pricing because they were hybrid models and for a few years, the government exempted such vehicles from all duties. The S400h was thus priced at about RM588,000 while the E300 BlueTec was about RM349,000, considerably less than if duties had been included.
High cost of replacement
The cost of replacement battery packs for hybrid vehicles has been of concern to consumers right from the start. They are not priced in the hundreds of ringgit like conventional batteries but many thousands of ringgit. They are very different from the small lead-acid batteries and they employ advanced technology which is still expensive.
The problem is, like ordinary batteries, the lifespan varies due to many environmental and usage factors. Some owners were unlucky to have to replace the battery packs after a few years while others could use them for a long time and until they sold the car off.
With volumes rising, costs should go down but there’s also new and better technology being introduced every year to make the battery packs more powerful and that limits cost reductions. Still, today’s battery packs are probably cheaper in relative terms than the early ones. The owner of an electric vehicle purchased many years ago said that the price of replacing the battery pack was about as much as the price of a small MPV from the same brand.
Influence on resale values
The high cost of replacing a battery pack – especially the newer lithium-ion type – would certainly influence resale values of hybrid models. If the original one has not been replaced with a new one, then anyone buying it would offer a lower price taking into account a big sum of money would be needed for a new battery pack.