When Honda Motor Co. rolled out its latest-generation Civic Hybrid, it was sold as the automaker's green car of the future.
But five years into production, Honda has discovered that its high-tech batteries can die years early — a potentially expensive flaw that the automaker has been addressing with a software update that many owners claim has made the car less environmentally friendly.
Jason Marchesano, a computer consultant from Overland Park, Kan., said the battery in his 2007 Civic Hybrid started losing its ability to hold a charge last year. Rather than replace the battery, which was under warranty, Honda loaded a software program into the car's computer that he said made the car sluggish and slashed the vehicle's gas mileage.
When he complained again several weeks ago, Honda installed a second software update, cutting efficiency further. Today, he gets 33 mpg, compared with 45 mpg when the car was new.
Marchesano and other hybrid owners fear that Honda has decided to sacrifice their vehicles' performance in order to avoid the huge cost of replacing thousands of faulty batteries, which are still under eight- or 10-year warranties and cost as much as $3,000 each to replace.
I'm just saying, again, that hybrids, with their advanced batteries, aren't all that they are claimed to be. There is still that nasty factor of how these batteries will be disposed of, and that goes for CFL lights as well.