Home » Plug-In Hybrids Come With An Insane Warranty If You Live In One Of These 11 States

Plug-In Hybrids Come With An Insane Warranty If You Live In One Of These 11 States

Phev Warranty Ts4
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If you live in certain states, and you want to buy a vehicle with the best warranty in the business, buy a plug-in hybrid. These vehicles are covered by a 15 year, 150,000 mile warranty that applies to pretty much every single high-cost powertrain component — and no, this warranty does not apply to EVs. Only plug-hybrids. Here, let me tell you about this incredible “TZEV” warranty, which covers a humongous list of components on my newly-acquired 2021 BMW i3 for another 12 years, 130,000 miles.

I just spent 30 large on the Holy Grail of BMW i3s — a 2021 BMW i3S Rex in Galvanic Gold with Giga World Interior. If that huge name means nothing to you, it just means that I bought a carbon fiber electric car outfitted with a gasoline range-extender (and it’s a “sport” trim with a nice interior). It’s a lot of money, though I will be saving thousands on tires (as I mentioned yesterday) and potentially thousands more on avoided repairs. What do I mean by that last part? Well, my i3, despite being three years old, is still covered by the best warranty in the entire auto industry: California’s “TZEV” warranty, formerly called the “PZEV” warranty.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

It’s a warranty that applies to certain cars (here’s a list of TZEV cars) registered in California, as well as 10 other states, as BMW describes in its 2024 warranty booklet:

*The California Emission Control System Limited Warranty applies to all 2024 U.S.-specification BMW vehicles registered in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

You may have noticed that that’s actually 14 states, but BMW notes that “TZEV models registered in Delaware, Pennsylvania or Washington have different emissions warranty coverage.” Ford also notes: “Delaware, Pennsylvania and Washington did not adopt the California TZEV emission warranty; standard California emission warranty coverage applies to all emission components.” I’ve read some conflicting info on that, but for now, I can tell you with certainty that the 11 states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont — require all PHEVs to have specific components covered by a 15 year, 150,000 mile warranty.

Plug-In Hybrids Offer A Better Warranty Than Gas Cars, EVs, Or Regular Hybrids

Here’s a look at BMW’s warranties available across its product line — as you can see, the longest warranty available applies solely to TZEVs (plug-in hybrids):

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Here’s Ford’s warranty overview; you’ll notice that the longest bar is, again, the TZEV bar:

Screen Shot 2024 05 29 At 8.58.38 Am

And here’s how Mazda breaks down its warranties, depending upon whether it’s a gas car, a plug-in hybrid, or an EV. Here’s gas:

Screen Shot 2024 05 29 At 9.19.03 Am

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Here’s plug-in hybrid:

Screen Shot 2024 05 29 At 9.19.17 Am

And here’s fully electric:

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You’ll notice that gas cars do have a California and Federal warranty for emissions-related parts, but those are only up to eight years, 80,000 miles. EVs have pretty much no warranty in California-emissions states.

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EVs May Soon Get A Better Warranty

Here’s a Reddit post in which folks are discussing why EVs have a worse warranty than plug-in hybrids:

California does NOT have a 10 year 150,000 warranty requirement for ZEV (BEV) batteries.

I’ve read different things regarding California’s battery warranty, with some people assuming BEVs fall under the PZEV classification so they have a 10 year 150,000 mile warranty, so I emailed the California Air Resources Board directly to ask. This is the email I received back.

California mandates that PZEV certified vehicles be covered for 15 years/ 150k miles for all emissions related parts and batteries or energy storage devices of vehicles certified to the Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) emissions standard be covered for 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. To determine your vehicle’s emissions standard, refer to the emissions label under the hood of the vehicle to verify eligibility or contact the manufacturer directly for verification.

If your vehicle is warranted due to the year and mileage and the manufacturer is not honoring the warranty, you will need to obtain a case number from the manufacturer directly. Once you obtain a case number, we can send you a warranty complaint form to begin an investigation.

The emission warranties that California mandates does not include vehicles that have been certified as Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV). To confirm warranty information on a ZEV, you would need to contact the manufacturer directly and they would be able to inform you what the warranty is for the vehicle or battery. Their contact information can be found in the owner’s manual.

The good news is that EVs will likely get an improved warranty starting in 2026, with the California Air Resources Board writing on its website:

The new regulation also takes regulatory steps to assure that ZEVs can be full replacements to gasoline vehicles, hold their market value for owners, and that used car buyers are getting a quality vehicle that will not pollute.

By model year 2030, the rules require the vehicle to maintain at least 80% of electric range for 10 years or 150,000 miles. (Phased in from 70% for 2026 through 2029 model year vehicles.) By model year 2031, individual vehicle battery packs are warranted to maintain 75% of their energy for eight years or 100,000 miles. (Phased in from 70% for 2026 through 2030 model years.) ZEV powertrain components are warranted for at least three years or 50,000 miles.

It Doesn’t Look Like Regular Hybrids Get The Same Coverage

Just out of curiosity, let’s look at the Toyota Prius hybrid’s warranty and compare it to the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid’s warranty. From their respective warranty booklets. Here’s regular Prius:

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And here’s Prius Prime plug-in:

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There’s no mention of the 15 year, 150,000 mile warranty in the regular hybrid Prius booklet, but there is in the plug-in booklet.

A Breakdown Of California Emissions-States’ Warranty Coverage

Here’s a breakdown of California air resources board warranties, per the organization itself:

Screen Shot 2024 05 29 At 9.09.52 Am

So it looks like, for now, it’s plug-in hybrids that offer the best warranty. And my god is it a great one.

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A Look At How Absurdly Comprehensive The TZEV Warranty Really Is

Just how comprehensive is the TZEV warranty? Shockingly. Check out this humongous list of BMW i3 parts that are all warrantied for 15 years, 150,000 miles (or a remaining 12 years, 130,000, since my i3 is a 2021 with 20,000 miles on the clock). NOTE: My BMW i3 is essentially the same as a fully-electric i3, except it comes with a small gasoline “range extender” under the rear floor. I mention this because the inclusion of that small engine is the only reason why my i3 qualifies for this absurd warranty. The fully-electric model does not qualify, as you can see below (another note: this list is from 2021, so the states noted in the rightmost column would now get the full warranty, if I understand it correctly):

Screen Shot 2024 05 29 At 8.42.12 Am Screen Shot 2024 05 29 At 8.42.25 Am Screen Shot 2024 05 29 At 8.42.36 Am

That is an absolutely absurd warranty! It covers the battery for 10 years, 150,000 miles (I’ve already leveraged this and received a new battery), and look at that huge list of 15 year, 150,000 mile coverages! The APU — that’s the gasoline engine — is covered! The electric heater is covered. The electric AC compressor is covered. The electric motor that drives the car is covered. All the power electronics are covered. Electric power steering is covered. Electric coolant pumps are covered. The radiator cooling fan is covered. The APU’s fuel pump and starter motor are covered.

Ever major expensive component is covered. For 15 years, 150,000 miles! (10 years for the battery). That’s an absolutely absurd warranty — better than that offered by any automaker today.

If any significant powertrain component on my 2021 i3 fails, I’ll just head on over to the dealer and get it replaced for free. AC compressor failures and electric motor bearing failures are not uncommon on i3s, but am I worried? Not anymore. I’ve still got to handle suspension maintenance and brakes (even though, really, the brakes will last forever since the i3 has such strong regen), but otherwise, I won’t have to do any wrenching on this i3. All thanks to a bonkers warranty that only applies to plug-in hybrids.

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As if we needed another reason to love PHEVs. 

 

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Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago

And what is the tire thing you never mentioned? Why is the new one cheaper, and what year does this start. I live in CT, and am now in the market for this exact car. And I told my wife I was done with German cars…….

Musicman27
Musicman27
1 month ago

So if I got a Prius were I live and crashed by “accident” it 10 years and 11 months later… I could get a 2034-35 Toyota Prius for free!

Last edited 1 month ago by Musicman27
John Gustin
John Gustin
1 month ago
Reply to  Musicman27

That’s…not how warranties work. If there was a massive system failure on a 2024 Prius Prime over the next 15 years or 150,000 miles, Toyota is required to honor its warranty. If there’s damage caused by an external factor (intentional or accidental) outside of standard operation, that would void said warrant.

Musicman27
Musicman27
1 month ago
Reply to  John Gustin

It was a joke.

Suss6052
Suss6052
1 month ago

Pretty sure the emissions warranty coverage only applied if it was purchased in either California or a carb following emissions state originally, but buying a plug in hybrid from a non carb state and registering it after the fact meant it’s not covered under the same California emissions warranty, so I’d check with bmw regarding this. It’s a dangerous assumption to presume that registering a used car in California subjects it to a better warranty than it was entitled to through the original state. North Carolina isn’t a CARB state despite requiring emissions testing and vehicle inspections so if that was where it was originally leased from then it’s not likely covered.

Last edited 1 month ago by Suss6052
Suss6052
Suss6052
1 month ago
Reply to  Suss6052

However if it was originally leased in Oregon then maybe

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
1 month ago
Reply to  Suss6052

While it doesn’t necissarily apply to PHEVs when we had our 2010 Fusion Hybrid the emissions warranty page stated that the CA level of warranty only applied to vehicles originally registered in CA or one of the states that had adopted CA emissions and emissions warranty coverage at the time the vehicle was originally registered. In theory that did imply that a vehicle originally registered in one of those states had the coverage no matter where it was registered when one of the covered part failed.

OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
1 month ago

This is great and will absolutely help get some over the apprehension of trying new technology. That said, I don’t have a PHEV for the same reason I didn’t have an EV: I don’t have anywhere reliable to plug in (for any level of charging)

My Skoda is the Most Superb
My Skoda is the Most Superb
1 month ago

I recently found out thanks to the forums that my 2012 VW GTI (engine code CBFA) is actually still covered under the 15 yr/150k mile PZEV warranty for all emissions-related equipment since the original owner registered the car in Washington D.C., which circa 2012 did adopt CARB emissions regulations. My intake manifold needs replacing and is supposed to be covered under this warranty, but dealing with the dealers has been a colossal pain in the ass. I get it, I’m in Georgia now, most of these dealers don’t even know what the PZEV warranty even is, but I’m not giving up. VWoA hasn’t been the most helpful either.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago

I’m curious from anyone who has used the warranty services for these longer term coverages:
When you take it in for a covered repair are the dealers pretty much aware of it or do they present a bill to you and you have to explain to them how it’s a special case under the law?

Jj
Jj
1 month ago

New Hampshire is so stupid. They don’t get the warranty because they haven’t adopted CA emissions. Meanwhile almost all the cars on dealer lots have CA emissions because they need to to trade inventory with a dealer in any bordering state – or to sell a car to a resident of any bordering state.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
1 month ago

David, you’re killing me – please back off from telling the world about this until after I get my holy grail i3!

Last edited 1 month ago by Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
1 month ago

Not if I get one first! It’s totally a coincidence but last month I barely missed out on 3 separate i3 that were exactly what I wanted and priced great. Now, stock seems to have totally dried up.

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago

Great to know about this! Were I considering a Prius (MA), I’d have gone for the regular model, but adding the better battery warranty to the better performance of the Prime, that changes the metric for me in terms of value in regards to its extra cost. I’m not actually looking to buy a Prius, but it’s still good to know.

You Audi Know
You Audi Know
1 month ago

I live in PA, but bought my PHEV new in NJ. Which warranty period would cover it?

Jj
Jj
1 month ago
Reply to  You Audi Know

Looks like it goes by the state where it’s registered.

Davey
Davey
1 month ago

Love to see it. Manufacturer warranties have needed to improve for the last 20 years

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
1 month ago

Sounds tempting, but I’ve got 4 years and 84K miles to run on my TDI’s 11 year/162K warranty…

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
1 month ago

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Main,” Main, eh? Interesting!

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
1 month ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

Dropped the E given full Electrics aren’t covered.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
1 month ago
Reply to  NebraskaStig

I wish I could give you more than one like! Well done.

MY LEG!
MY LEG!
1 month ago
Reply to  NebraskaStig

Oh I hate you so much for beating me to that joke.

Healpop
Healpop
1 month ago

That’s a pretty awesome warranty, but it’s gotta be contributing to the high upfront cost for PHEVs. These companies aren’t stupid, they’re building that warranty cost into the purchase price.

As a point of reference I looked up pricing for the Hyudai Tuscon in the UK and US, presuming they don’t have to offer such a crazy warranty on UK cars. The price difference for the PHEV vs. hybrid version is about $4k in the UK. In the US it’s about $6k.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
1 month ago
Reply to  Healpop

MSRP don’t differ by states, so the buyers from states without these awesome warranties are subsidizing the warranty cost but they don’t get to use them.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago

My Hyundai is a regular hybrid and came with a 125,000 mile battery warranty, but it was a separate extended warranty option the dealer threw in, ordinarily it would just be part of the regular 10 year/100k powertrain one, so Delaware definitely does not require anything like that for non-plug ins, however it is interesting to see that, if I had gone with the PHEV option, it might have been covered for a lot longer

Mostly academic, I’m not really allowed to keep a car long enough to run out 150,000 mile warranty, I mean, I could keep it if I wanted to, but it’s not nice enough or endearing enough to keep as personal car, and my employer requires that my primary car used for work be no more than 4 years old, but a longer warranty might have improved resale value at trade in time. Or not, it’s still a Hyundai, residual values aren’t really much of a thing with them, period

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
1 month ago

SAAB offered a genuine lifetime warranty for the last of their two-stroke engines, the reduced-displacement Shrike. They’d fix or replace it for as long as the original owner kept the car:

https://dudazps6njn84.cloudfront.net/images/g/g44AAOSw6MBdl1Y8/s-l1600.jpg

They were still honoring this from their dwindling stockpile up to the point that they went out of business over 45 years later.

Beasy Mist
Beasy Mist
1 month ago

I’m in Pennsylvania but my 2017 Volt STARTED as a New York car, and as a result when you look up the warranties at GM it includes the 150k mile special emissions warranty. Which is a very good thing since the Volt has a known problem with lunching the engine’s EGR valve.

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
1 month ago

I don’t have a place to plug in, but this makes me consider buying a PHEV and just operating it in “hybrid mode” all the time.

The APU is covered in the i3, but that is categorized as a range extender specifically. Would the gas engine in a Prius Prime or Outlander PHEV be similarly covered, or not?

JMJR
JMJR
1 month ago

If your i3 starts racking up expensive claims towards the end of the warranty, can BMW mechanically total it and buy you out of the vehicle at fair market price against your will?

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  JMJR

…since when could a car manufacturer “total” my car? I thought only insurance could do that.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Yeah I don’t think manufacturer warranties are allowed to have those types of Limits of Liability built in like insurance companies or aftermarket service contracts use but I’m not 100% on that.

Bendanzig
Bendanzig
1 month ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

So, this is only anecdotal, but my neighbor bought a Dodge Caravan with the lifetime warranty. She brought it in last year, and it needed a new transmission. The car was about 15 years old and had over 200k miles, and they ended up buying her out of her warranty. I don’t know if she had to agree to that or not, but I know she really wanted to keep that car forever. So, I have seen a manufacturer “total” a car.

JMJR
JMJR
1 month ago
Reply to  Bendanzig

That’s the kind of case I was thinking of. Come to think of it, my brother-in-law works for a company that provides warranties to F&I offices. I’ll see if this is standard operating procedure for low value vehicles that still have coverage.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Bendanzig

I guess my only question is whether the selling price was negotiable at all, and whether she was happy with the price. I’d be very disappointed if, say, they only offered the market value of the car (presumably next to nothing for an “old” minivan needing a transmission), or the value of, say, parts & labor for a transmission replacement, plus extra. Still not as much as a lifetime warranty would ultimately be worth, but still a lot considering the circumstances and the vehicle in isolation.

Bendanzig
Bendanzig
1 month ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Yeah, it was a Dodge warranty, not a 3rd party warranty. She was not happy with the result, but the dealership had already had the van in for this repair for a couple of months while they were pushing back on whether they were going to do it under warranty. She gave up, because she needed something to drive, and took the money vs. waiting longer to hope they finally repair it. I don’t remember exactly what she got, but I think it was close to market value for that van with a functioning transmission, maybe $5k.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Bendanzig

Eh…from here, that sounds okay. “A good compromise leaves everybody mad.”

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago
Reply to  Bendanzig

What they can do in terms of the “law” and what they can do in terms of other things are different. I don’t think they can just wash their hands of it at a certain dollar amount and be done, but they can offer an alternative and make it painful not to accept for sure.

JMJR
JMJR
1 month ago
Reply to  VanGuy

I was just brain storming. I remember hearing about someone that had a Hyundai that required a $60,000 replacement battery that wasn’t covered under warranty.

If a manufacturer had a warranty claim that far exceeded the value of the vehicle, could they refuse to repair the vehicle and instead pay the car owner fair market value instead? Or what if it requires a battery replacement and there are no new OEM batteries available because they’re out of production?

Viking Longcar
Viking Longcar
1 month ago

Honest question: What if you buy it in another state, say one with a low sales tax, and then register it in one of these states?

Viking Longcar
Viking Longcar
1 month ago
Reply to  David Tracy

love it!

Jatkat
Jatkat
1 month ago
Reply to  David Tracy

In the Volt’s case, it has to be a specific California Emissions car (It’s in the VIN). Volts without that VIN designation do not qualify for the extended PZEV warranty. Doesn’t matter which state its registered in.

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago
Reply to  Viking Longcar

I imagine you’d still have to pay the sales tax when you register it as that’s how it works here. If you buy anything that needs to be registered in, say, sales-tax-free NH and register it in MA, you pay the sales tax.

Mike B
Mike B
1 month ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Beat me to it. I bought a car in NH to register in RI, the guys at the dealer were like “oh man, that sucks” when I mentioned I’d have to pay sales on it when I registered it.

Mike B
Mike B
1 month ago
Reply to  Viking Longcar

You typically pay the sales tax in the state you register it in, not the state you purchase in. I bought a car in NH, which charges no state tax, but had to pay RI sales tax when actually registering it.

Jatkat
Jatkat
1 month ago

Oooh another excuse to talk about my Volt! Because my car was originally sold in California with PZEV certification, and I live in Washington, I get all the benefits that this program provides. It covers dang near everything that goes wrong on these cars, plus I have the added bonus of the battery being guaranteed until 2027. Pretty great to buy a car that was originally the equivalent of 43K (in todays money) for ~10.5K after all of the incentives and what not. A 50,000 mile car with warranty for another 100,000 miles for that kind of money is nuts!

Beasy Mist
Beasy Mist
1 month ago
Reply to  Jatkat

I’m in almost exactly the same situation, ’17 Volt with 50k on it that started in NY. Do you know what is covered? I assume anything emissions related like EGR valve and catalytic converter sort of thing, but anything else?

Jatkat
Jatkat
1 month ago
Reply to  Beasy Mist

Here is a link to the warranty manual: https://www.chevrolet.com/bypass/pcf/gma-content-api/resources/sites/GMA/content/staging/MANUALS/3000/MA3212/en_US/6.0/2k17chevywm2ndPrint.pdf
Make sure you have a C or a D in the 5th position of the VIN to make sure it really is a CARB emissions car. You can also punch the VIN into chevys site to check warranty coverage.

Beasy Mist
Beasy Mist
1 month ago
Reply to  Jatkat

Thanks! I know I have it I just wasn’t sure what exactly it covered. That link helps. Way more is covered than I realized.

Jatkat
Jatkat
1 month ago
Reply to  Beasy Mist

Yeah its a ton! Especially useful the EGR is covered, as that is a major point of failure on the Volts.

Beasy Mist
Beasy Mist
1 month ago
Reply to  Jatkat

Yeah mine hasn’t failed yet. I already have the new BECM though.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
1 month ago
Reply to  Jatkat

Shift to park is also covered by the same warranty 🙂 EGR and BECM, the pain points for Gen 2 Chevy Volt.

Beasy Mist
Beasy Mist
1 month ago
Reply to  Mrbrown89

That’s insane. I bought this thing in 2021 and I was not anticipating it would be under warranty until 2032!

Thx1138
Thx1138
1 month ago

Sometimes they have to give some crazy long emissions warranties. On the 2015 to 18 Mercedes Benz cars with the 2.0 litre 4 cylinder, they have extended the PCV system to 15 years and 150,000 miles, with the intake line assembly to be replaced ($602 for the part and 5 hours and 40 minutes of labor) and 1 hour for the software update. That is due to the PCV system being buried in this car. This warranty update started on August of 2023, which is 5 years post production.

Brian Brodeur
Brian Brodeur
1 month ago

Typo:

 I’ve read some conflicting info on that, but for now, I can tell you with certainty that the 11 states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont — require all PHEVs to have specific components covered by a 15 year, 150,000 mile warranty.

Main?? 😀

Janeane Garafolo
Janeane Garafolo
1 month ago

I get that there are politics involved in all of this, but that aside, it’s pretty wild that no states with primarily sunny climates are involved. It’s understandable that the big oil states like Texas and Oklahoma wouldn’t be 100% in on the idea, but surprising that a Nevada, South Carolina, or a Georgia wouldn’t be cool with it. Kinda silly, actually.

(Cali doesn’t really count, as it is an anomaly in every respect to any policy.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Janeane Garafolo
Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 month ago

Prius Prime, Here I come!

Data
Data
1 month ago

Good luck, Toyota makes about 5 a year.

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