c J Wagner-20211103_142201-02009-SEMA Show 2+AAPEX-Las Vegas LVCC&Sands-RAW+JPEG-Sony Alpha 1-08845-Edit-6in x 300dpi

Cost-effective Dorman remanufactured Toyota Prius Hybrid batteries at AAPEX

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.

The 2021 SEMA Show, inside the Las Vegas Convention Center

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.

Joe’s Garage at AAPEX

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.

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.

Individual battery modules

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.

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.

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.

Installing the remanufactured Dorman battery in the Prius
Dorman remanufactured hybrid battery installed in a Toyota Prius
Installing the remanufactured Dorman battery in the Prius

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 November 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.

SEMA Cruise 2021 in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center
SEMA Cruise 2021 in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center
SEMA Cruise 2021 in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center
SEMA Cruise 2021 in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center
SEMA Cruise 2021 in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center
Drifting at SEMA Ignited 2021
Drifting at SEMA Ignited 2021
SEMA Ignited 2021

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.

2021 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2021 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2021 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2021 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2021 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2021 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
End of the 2021 trip to AAPEX, the SEMA Show, and the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Vehicle: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE plug-in hybrid

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

Jan Wagner

3 Comments

  1. David Sperry on September 10, 2022 at 12:41 am

    Maybe another viewer will have a comment.

  2. David Sperry on September 9, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Jan, very interesting column. Those Street Cars look like a lot of fun. I never knew there was such a category.

    The section on the Dorman remanufactured batteries really caught my eye as a topic ripe for discussion. Just the other day I asked my family “what will happen to all those EV batteries that become obsolete through usage or technology”? Will they all go to land fills and become the next major polluters of the earth?

    Dorman is making a worthwhile contribution but it must be a drop in the bucket. Rebuilt batteries can only be used in EVs of the same era. Battery technology is constantly being upgraded for greater range.

    When the dust settles, I believe there will be one scrapped battery for one scrapped EV, just like there is one scrapped engine for each scrapped ICE.

    Do you think we can avoid dead battery land fills?

    David.

    • Jan Wagner on September 9, 2022 at 9:06 pm

      I don’t know enough about recycling EV batteries to answer that. I hope that commercial battery recycling programs succeed.
      Jan

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