Electric car batteries are supposed to last for a long time.
However, given the high cost of an electric car battery replacement, you might be wondering, “how long do electric car batteries last?”
If you’re looking for the answer to that question, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll discuss how long electric car batteries last and tell you how to prolong the battery life of your electric car. Later, we’ll answer six FAQs about electric car batteries to give you a comprehensive overview of this component.
This Article Contains:
- How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?
- 3 Practical Tips To Prolong The Life Of Your Electric Car Battery
- 8 FAQs About Electric Car Batteries
- What Kind Of Battery Does An Electric Car Use?
- What Is The Range Of An Electric Car Battery?
- What Are The Factors Affecting Electric Car Battery Life?
- How Much Does Electric Car Battery Replacement Cost?
- How Much Does Charging An Electric Car Battery Cost?
- Does Warranty Cover The Electric Car Battery?
- What Happens To Used Electric Car Batteries?
- Are Electric Car Batteries Safe?
Let’s get started.
How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?
The exact battery lifespan can vary depending on the make and model of your electric vehicle (EV). However, batteries of most electric cars sold in the United States should last you at least 8 years or 100,000 miles.
With that said, given the advancements in battery technology, automakers are confident that their batteries could potentially outlive the usable life of your electric car.
However, this doesn’t mean that your electric car battery will provide the same range and charging efficiency in the seventh year as it did when it came in your new car.
Over time, the capacity of your electric vehicle battery pack will decline, similar to how a smartphone’s battery performance deteriorates.
If that’s the case, is there a way to prolong your electric car battery life?
3 Practical Tips To Prolong The Life Of Your Electric Car Battery
While it’s not possible to prevent battery degradation entirely, you can offset it and prolong battery life by following these three tips:
Tip #1: Avoid leaving your electric car at full charge or low battery levels for extended periods. Ideally, you’ll want to keep the battery charge level between 60% and 80%.
Tip #2: Fast charge your electric car only when necessary — like in emergencies or before a road trip.
Tip #3: Be mindful of the environmental conditions around your car. If it’s too sunny outside and you aren’t driving, park your electric car in the shade. On the flip side, if it’s too cold outside and the electric car is not in use, keep it in the garage.
Now that you have an idea of how to minimize battery degradation and increase battery longevity, let’s look at some FAQs that current and prospective electric car owners have:
8 FAQs About Electric Car Batteries
Here, we’ll answer eight commonly asked questions about the electric car battery:
1. What Kind Of Battery Does An Electric Car Use?
Before we answer this question, let’s look at the type of batteries used in conventional fossil fuel cars (or internal combustion engine cars).
These cars use rechargeable lead-acid batteries. Such a rechargeable battery usually generates around 12 volts and stores about 1.2 kWh of electrical energy.
In an internal combustion engine car, the primary use of the battery is to start your engine and power various vehicle activities. As a result, they use rechargeable lead-acid batteries that generate around 12 volts and store about 1.2 kWh of electrical energy.
But an electric vehicle, on the other hand, runs entirely on its rechargeable lithium battery cell.
Everything from the electric motor used to drive the car to all your vehicle accessories draws power from the battery. As a result, an electric vehicle would require a far higher battery capacity to be of practical use.
For example, the Model S and Model X offer a Tesla battery pack option with a 100 kWh capacity. That’s over 80x what a standard lead-acid rechargeable battery would store.
Imagine how massive a car’s lead acid rechargeable battery would have to be to store the same amount of electrical energy as the Tesla battery!
That’s why an electric car uses a lithium ion battery (or Li ion battery) instead of traditional lead-acid ones.
Lithium batteries have a very high energy density allowing them to store more energy per unit volume. This high energy density greatly reduces the size of the lithium batteries and the space they need.
2. What Is The Range Of An Electric Car Battery?
For an internal combustion engine vehicle, the range is determined by how much fuel you’ve got left in the gasoline tank.
On the flip side, for an electric vehicle, the range is primarily determined by how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) of battery life are available. As a result, the maximum range of the electric vehicle would depend on the total battery capacity (in terms of kWh).
Additionally, the make and model of your electric vehicle can influence the range of your EV battery pack.
For example, a small city car like the Smart EQ ForTwo (w/ 17.6 kWh battery charge capacity) offers about a 90 mile range. In contrast, an owner of the Tesla Roadster (w/ 200 kWh battery charge capacity) can expect a long range of around 600 miles on a single charge of their Tesla battery.
3. What Are The Factors Affecting Electric Car Battery Life?
The following two factors can influence battery degradation, affecting the battery longevity of your electric car:
A. Fast Charging
A fast charging or rapid charging point generally uses direct current (DC) chargers to charge your EV battery pack quickly.
The problem with this approach is that a DC fast charging cycle can cause your electric car battery to overheat. The resulting elevated temperature can cause accelerated battery degradation, affecting its operational range and overall electric car battery life.
Essentially, while a DC fast charging or rapid charging point may help you charge your electric car quicker, it can have adverse long-term effects on battery health.
B. Extreme Climates
Extreme climates can also cause battery degradation.
When it’s too hot outside, your car battery may undergo faster depletion. On the other hand, in bitterly cold climates, the ability of your electric battery to receive charge goes down.
Sure, you can’t avoid such extreme climates all the time.
However, exposing the electric car to such climatic conditions for too long can decrease battery performance and negatively affect the electric car battery life.
And, as with any other battery, the EV’s battery health declines as it ages.
However, this EV battery degradation is usually a slow and moderate process — so you don’t need to worry too much about battery health dropping with age.
4. How Much Does Electric Car Battery Replacement Cost?
Thanks to the advancements in battery technology, you probably won’t need an electric vehicle battery replacement for a while.
But, on the off chance that you do, it’s good to have an idea of what to expect.
The cost to replace your EV battery can vary widely depending on the make and model of your electric vehicle. Moreover, the battery cost would also depend on the battery capacity of your electric vehicle.
To get a feel for the price ranges of electric car batteries, consider these figures:
- A Nissan Leaf 40 kWh lithium ion battery can cost more than $6,500
- A Tesla Model S 100 kWh lithium ion battery can cost well over $14,000
On top of the battery cost, replacing the EV battery can also incur high labor costs, ranging from $500 to $2000 and beyond.
5. How Much Does Charging An Electric Car Battery Cost?
Completely charging an electric vehicle with a 66 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery would cost approximately $9. This cost is based on using an EV charging socket at home, with an average electricity cost of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour.
It would be $10 for a 75 kWh battery (like in the Tesla Model Y) or $13 for a 100 kWh battery (like in the Tesla Model S and Model X.)
But how does the EV charging cost compare with a fuel vehicle?
Based on the current national average of $3.674 per gallon, a 12.4-gallon tank would cost approximately $46 to fill. And although a full tank would cover a greater distance, the cost per mile would still be more expensive than that of an electric vehicle.
6. Does Warranty Cover The Electric Car Battery?
An EV battery pack replacement may seem prohibitively expensive. However, in many cases, you don’t actually need to pay to install a new battery.
That’s because dead battery replacements are included in most electric car battery warranties.
Essentially, your new car may come with an extended battery warranty, spanning 8 to 10 years or at least 100,000 miles. Additionally, in the United States, federal regulation states that an electric car must offer a minimum battery warranty of 8 years.
However, the terms and conditions of electric car battery warranties can vary with each EV manufacturer, so be sure to read your owner’s manual carefully.
Some automakers may replace your electric car battery only in the case of a dead battery during the battery warranty period. Other automakers may offer you a new battery when the old one’s battery capacity falls below a certain threshold.
Note: Most EV battery warranties don’t fully cover battery degradation due to aging. Moreover, an EV manufacturer may only cover a diminished battery that has lost over 30% of its capacity within the warranty period. Anything below may be considered normal wear and tear.
7. What Happens To Used Electric Car Batteries?
There are growing concerns about the impact of retired EV batteries on the environment.
Many automakers have come up with innovative battery recycling solutions to manage retired EV batteries in environment-friendly ways.
The automakers help:
- Repurpose retired EV batteries for factory and home use as energy storage systems.
- Reuse electric battery packs to store the power generated by solar panels.
- Recycle electric car batteries to extract their raw materials to reduce the use of virgin materials in manufacturing new battery packs.
8. Are Electric Car Batteries Safe?
Each EV manufacturer does its best to ensure that its EV battery is safe.
These batteries often come with smart management systems that prevent overheating and other problems. And though there have been cases of electric vehicles catching fire, these incidents are often due to accidents.
For example, in 2013, a Tesla Model S hit a large metal object at high speed — resulting in a limited fire. In response, Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned that EV batteries have a fraction of the energy of a full fuel tank. This limits the danger they cause in an accident.
So, cars with an EV battery are just as safe as any fuel vehicle, if not more so.
The good news is that your battery could potentially outlive your electric car.
However, a decline in battery performance is inevitable.
You can improve charging efficiency and prolong the battery longevity of your electric vehicle by adopting a few practical tips. For example, use your fast charging or rapid charging point less often and never allow the electric car’s battery to overcharge or completely discharge.
And, if you notice any significant drops in the range of your electric vehicle, there could potentially be some issues with the electric vehicle battery.
When that happens, get in touch with manufacturer-certified dealerships, auto shops, or mobile auto repair services.