ADAMSTOWN, MARYLAND -- My car stopped working on the way to work. The gasoline engine was still running, but the car would not move. I knew it was the electrical drive system, but had no way to troubleshoot, so I called the tow truck and had it towed to the nearest dealer (not my home dealer). Two hours later: the inverter/converter of the hybrid system had failed. The car was less than 4 years old. The kicker was the price of the repair bill of $11,000! The part itself was $10,600, and since I had 110,000 miles on it, warranty was out of the question. I called Toyota customer care, figuring that maybe buying $75,000 worth of new Toyota hybrids in the past five years would count for something. I did call my local dealer and found they listed the part for $8200. In the end, Toyota got the dealer my car was at to sell the part for $8200, take 50% off the labor (half of $600) and Toyota would pay for half the part. Final total $5022 to repair the vehicle.
This was not the end of the story. Because Toyota "paid" for half the part, they considered a warranty coverage, and would not give me the old part as I had requested. I know a bit about electrical systems and how an inverter works. There isn't $500 worth of parts in the thing, but I wanted to see the inside of this thing to see what justified anyone thinking thy could charge over $10,000 for one. I'm not going to get the old part.
Bottom line is for five years I have praised the hybrid technology. I'm no environmentalist by any stretch, but I love cool technology. It is insane that any single part on a vehicle could cost $10,000, or even $5000 to repair. For me, hybrid technology is over priced and no where close to worth the initial costs, or the savings in gas. Which is why I now drive a 2011 Chrysler 300c. V-8's and rear-wheel drive are the best!