With 32 Prius taxis operating in his Cairns, Queensland fleet of Black and White Taxis, owner Graham Boundy knows the truth about high-mileage hybrids - and it's surprisingly good. Each car racks up about 200,000km (125,000mi) each year. Two of the older examples have managed a lifespan of 350,000km (218,000mi) and 550,000km (341,000mi) before needing replacement of their nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. The only problem even at the end of their battery pack service life was a low voltage reading.The cars have been in service since September, 2005, and Bounds has ordered another 8 to bring his fleet total to 40.
According to Toyota Australia's manager of hybrid sales and fleet strategy Vic Johnston, the use seen in the highest-mileage car during those three years equates to roughly 36 years of normal road use. The math works out a bit differently across the pond in the U.S., with a 15,000mi per year average equating to roughly 16 years of use. Still, that's impressive for a hybrid, and in fact equal to or better than a person might expect of trouble-free service from a similarly priced standard combustion-powered car's engine.