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How Long Electric Car Batteries Last

How Long Electric Car Batteries Last

Electric vehicles have grown rapidly in popularity over the past decade. In 2021, over 6.5 million EVs were sold globally, representing close to 9% of the total car market. And EV sales are projected to hit 24 million per year by 2030.


A major factor influencing this EV boom is increased battery lifespan. Early electric cars had ranges of less than 100 miles per charge. But advancements in battery technology now allow many EVs to travel 300+ miles before needing to recharge.


With some EV batteries warrantied to last over 150,000 miles, drivers no longer need to worry about being stranded without juice. However, EV batteries remain an expensive component. Replacing an out-of-warranty battery can cost $5,000-$15,000 depending on the vehicle.


This leads many prospective EV buyers to ask: how long do electric car batteries really last? Let’s explore the key factors impacting battery lifespan and how to maximize the years of service from an EV battery.



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What Impacts Battery Lifespan?

There are several key factors that impact how long an electric vehicle’s battery will last:

 

Battery Chemistry

Some battery chemistries, like lithium iron phosphate, have exceptional lifespans over 20 years. Other chemistries like lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) may only last 5-10 years. The type of cathode, anode, and electrolyte materials used in EV batteries have a significant impact on overall battery lifespan.

 

Charging Habits

Frequent fast charging and charging to 100% can degrade batteries faster over time. Best practice is to charge to 80% for daily use and only charge to 100% when needed for longer trips. Slow Level 2 charging is best for battery health.

 

Climate

Using an EV in extremely high or low temperatures reduces battery lifespan quicker. Hot climates put more strain on batteries. Parking an EV in a garage helps maintain moderate temperatures.

 

Average EV Battery Warranties

Most major electric vehicle manufacturers provide warranties of 8-10 years or 100,000 to 150,000 miles on their batteries. This gives consumers reassurance that the costly battery will last for a significant period of time under normal usage conditions.

For example, Tesla provides an 8 year or 100,000 to 120,000 mile battery warranty depending on the model. Nissan backs the Leaf with a 8 year/100,000 mile warranty. The Chevy Bolt has a 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty. Most other EV makers like Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo also offer 8 year/100k-150k mile battery warranties.

These battery warranties mean that if the battery capacity degrades below 70% during the warranty period, the manufacturer will repair or replace the pack. This gives EV owners peace of mind on one of the most expensive components.

However, many studies have shown that EV batteries can last well beyond the 8-10 year/100k-150k mile mark if properly cared for. But the warranties provide a guaranteed minimum battery lifespan for consumers.

 

Studies on Real-World Battery Lifespans

While most manufacturers provide 8-10 year warranties, studies have shown that real-world EV battery lifespans are often much longer with proper care and maintenance. A 2021 study by Geotab analyzed over 6,000 EVs and found that batteries retained over 90% of their capacity after 5 years of driving. They estimated the average EV battery lifespan to be over 15 years before reaching 70-80% capacity, which is when most drivers would opt for replacement.

Another extensive study by Recurrent Auto analyzed battery health data across thousands of Teslas. They found that Tesla batteries retained over 90% capacity for over 200,000 miles driven on average. The study concluded that Tesla batteries can reliably last over 15 years before needing replacement. Luxury EV brand Lucid Motors claims their battery chemistry and thermal management system allows their batteries to maintain over 80% capacity after 20 years.

While quick charging and extremely high mileage can reduce EV battery lifespan closer to the 8-10 year mark, studies clearly demonstrate that for most drivers, following proper care and charging habits allows electric vehicle batteries to last 15+ years before replacement is needed.

 

Battery Chemistries & Lifespans

The most common EV battery chemistries are lithium-ion (Li-ion) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP). Li-ion batteries have higher energy density and are lighter weight, but have shorter lifespans of around 8-10 years. LFP batteries have lower energy density but exceptional lifespans over 20 years. The cathode chemistry impacts degradation – lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) in Li-ion batteries tends to degrade faster than LFP. However, improvements in electrolytes, anodes and cathodes are increasing Li-ion battery lifespans closer to 15 years. While LFP batteries are known for their longevity, advancements in Li-ion chemistries are helping close the lifespan gap.

 

Charging Habits for Battery Longevity

One of the most important factors that impacts EV battery lifespan is how the battery is charged. Frequent fast charging and charging to 100% capacity on a regular basis can degrade batteries much quicker over time. Here are some tips on optimal charging habits to maximize your EV battery’s longevity:

 

– Avoid DC fast charging whenever possible. Fast charging heats up the battery and causes accelerated wear. Use level 2 charging at home or work instead.

– Don’t charge to 100% every day. Most EVs only need to charge to 80% for daily driving. Charging to full capacity puts strain on the battery.

– If fast charging on a trip, charge to 80% instead of 100% when possible. Only charge up to 100% right before you need maximum range.

– Don’t let the battery charge level go very low. Discharging below 20% on a regular basis wears down the battery.

– Charge more often instead of waiting until the battery is low. Shallow discharges are better for battery health.

– Avoid leaving an EV at a high state of charge when storing it long term. Store it between 30-50% charge instead.

– Use the delayed charging function to avoid keeping a fully charged battery at high temps for extended periods.

 

Following these best practices for charging will keep your EV battery operating efficiently and extend its usable lifespan significantly.

 

Climate Impact on EV Batteries

Climate and ambient temperatures play a significant role in impacting electric vehicle battery lifespan. Extreme hot or cold temperatures can degrade lithium-ion batteries much faster compared to moderate temperatures.

In very cold climates, the lithium-ion chemistry within EV batteries becomes less conductive. This increases resistance and lowers the discharge/recharge rate. Cold temperatures also reduce the amount of energy and power that can be utilized from the battery. Storing and charging an EV in consistent below freezing temperatures will likely reduce the battery’s overall lifespan.

On the flip side, high ambient temperatures above 90°F also accelerate degradation of EV batteries. Heat damages the internal chemistry leading to capacity loss over time. Parking and driving an electric vehicle in consistently hot environments will take a toll on the battery.

The ideal temperature range for maximizing an EV battery’s lifespan is 60-80°F. Storing and charging your electric car in a climate-controlled garage when possible can help extend battery longevity. Some EVs also have active thermal management systems to heat or cool the battery pack and keep it in optimal temperature range while driving in extreme climates.

 

Driving Habits and Battery Wear

How you actually drive and use your electric vehicle can significantly impact how quickly the battery degrades. More aggressive driving with hard acceleration and braking will drain the battery faster and wear it out quicker over time.

Electric motors provide instant torque, which allows EV’s to accelerate very quickly. While this can be fun, putting your EV through numerous hard 0-60 mph sprints will force a lot of current into and out of the battery rapidly. This stresses the battery cells and causes more wear compared to gentle, gradual acceleration.

Similarly, driving in stop-and-go traffic with repeated hard braking forces energy out of the battery more rapidly than smooth deceleration. The friction brakes transform all that kinetic energy into heat, rather than allowing regenerative braking to capture some of that energy.

Overall, the more measured and smooth you are with the accelerator and brake pedal, the less wear and tear you will put on the battery. Think of your battery’s electrons like they’re flowing through a pipe – fast surges stress the pipe more than a steady stream. Driving your EV more gently will enable the battery to last many more miles.

 

Tips to Maximize Battery Lifespan

Here are 5 tips to help your electric vehicle’s battery last over 15+ years:

 

  • Avoid frequent fast charging when possible
  • Charge to 80% instead of 100% most of the time
  • Use climate control features to keep battery temp moderate
  • Drive smoothly without hard acceleration/braking
  • Check battery health via diagnostics every 6 months

 

By being mindful of how you charge and drive your EV, you can extend your battery’s lifespan significantly. Charging to 80% rather than 100% reduces strain, while smooth driving prevents excess battery wear from hard acceleration and braking. Use climate control to keep your battery temperature in an optimal range as extreme heat or cold can degrade batteries faster. And regular battery checkups allow you to monitor health and catch any issues early.

 

When to Replace an EV Battery

So when should you actually replace the battery pack in your electric vehicle? The general rule of thumb is when an EV battery degrades to 70-80% of its original battery capacity. Manufacturers consider a battery to be at the end of its usable life when it falls below this threshold.

You can check your electric car’s battery health and capacity through the dashboard diagnostics or by using an app from the car company. This will show the battery’s state of charge and state of health metrics, allowing you to see when it dips near or below 80% capacity.

Once the battery capacity falls into the 70-80% range, it’s time to start budgeting for a replacement. While the battery will still work and allow the vehicle to drive, its range will be increasingly limited at this degraded state. This makes an EV much less usable for daily driving.

Waiting until the battery is too far gone below 50% capacity runs the risk of getting stranded by an EV with extremely minimal range. That’s why it’s recommended to start planning your battery replacement once it hits that 70-80% mark. This ensures you get a new battery with full range capabilities before the old battery fails completely.

 

EV Battery Recycling

Once an electric car battery falls below 70-80% of its original capacity, it typically gets replaced. The old EV battery still has usable capacity and often gets recycled for non-automotive purposes like energy storage. Battery materials like lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt can also be economically extracted and reused to produce new EV batteries.

There are a few options for recycling EV batteries:

 

  • Reuse – Old EV batteries can be tested, repackaged and reused for less demanding purposes like solar storage or backup power.
  • Recycle Materials – Specialized companies break down the batteries to separate out valuable materials like lithium, nickel, copper and cobalt for reuse.
  • Repurpose – Connecting used EV batteries together can create energy storage for buildings, the grid, or other applications.

 

Most major EV manufacturers like Tesla, Nissan and BMW partner with battery recycling companies to recover as much material as possible. Some automakers are also developing closed-loop recycling processes to directly reuse old battery materials in new batteries.

Properly recycling EV batteries reduces waste, provides materials for new batteries, and lowers costs. It’s an important process that will grow as more electric vehicles reach end-of-life.

 

EV Battery Replacement Costs

Replacing an electric vehicle’s battery pack is one of the largest ownership costs. According to a 2021 study, the average cost to replace an EV battery is around $5,500 USD. However, prices can range from as low as $4,000 for some smaller EV batteries, up to $15,000+ for larger luxury EV battery packs.

Here are some examples of estimated electric vehicle battery replacement costs by popular models:

 

  • Nissan Leaf – $5,500
  • Tesla Model 3 – $7,000
  • Chevy Bolt – $5,000
  • Tesla Model S – $12,000
  • Ford Mustang Mach E – $9,000
  • Volkswagen ID.4 – $6,500

 

Battery replacement costs are steadily declining each year as technology improves and economies of scale kick in. However, it’s still recommended to follow battery longevity best practices to avoid early replacements. Properly caring for an EV battery can help it last over 15 years and 200,000+ miles in most cases.

 

Future Advancements

While electric vehicle batteries already last quite a long time, researchers are constantly working to improve battery technology and extend lifespans even further. Here are some key advancements on the horizon:

 

Improving Battery Chemistries

Companies are developing enhanced lithium-ion formulations that can increase an EV battery’s lifespan to over 20 years. Using more advanced cathode materials like lithium iron phosphate (LFP) can boost longevity and safety. Cobalt-free lithium-ion chemistries are also being researched to lower costs and environmental impact.

 

Solid-State Batteries

Solid-state batteries replace the standard lithium-ion battery’s liquid electrolyte with a solid material like ceramic or glass. This makes them more stable and resilient to degradation over time. While still in early testing stages, solid-state batteries could potentially enable EV batteries to last the entire lifetime of the vehicle.

Researchers are also exploring alternative battery technologies like lithium-sulfur and lithium-air designs. But lithium-ion likely still has room for improvement and will remain the dominant EV battery chemistry for the next decade or more.

 

Conclusion

In summary, there are several key factors that determine how long an electric vehicle battery will last. Most EV batteries today easily achieve a lifespan of 15-20 years and over 200,000 miles when properly maintained. The most important practices for maximizing battery longevity include:

 

  • Choosing an EV with a long-range battery chemistry like lithium iron phosphate
  • Avoiding frequent fast charging and charging to 100%
  • Using climate control to keep battery temperature moderate
  • Driving smoothly without hard acceleration or braking
  • Checking battery health via diagnostics every 6 months

 

Following these battery care tips allows EV owners to rely on their electric cars for well over 15 years before needing to replace the battery. And when it does come time for a new EV battery, recycling and reuse programs give the materials a second life. Drivers who want a green vehicle for the long haul can be confident investing in an electric car, knowing the battery can outlast the car itself.

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Questions About How Long Electric Car Batteries Last

Most EV automakers in Canada offer 8 year/160,000km warranties on their batteries. Tesla offers 8 year/192,000km warranties. The warranty covers repairs or replacements needed if the battery capacity falls below 70% during that time.

The average EV battery in Canada lasts 10-20 years. With proper charging habits most retain 70-80% capacity at the 200,000 km mark. Temperature extremes and frequent fast charging reduce battery lifespan.

Frequent fast charging, extreme hot or cold temperatures, depleting to very low states of charge, and high mileage/cycles. Moderate driving and charging habits in temperate climates yield the longest lifespans.

It varies from 150km on basic EVs to over 600km for long range models. The average for today’s crop of EVs is around 350km. Range also depends on driving style and climate conditions.



$5,000-$15,000 CAD typically, but costs vary by EV model and year. Replacement packs often come with warranties. DIY refurbishments can reduce costs when done properly.



Yes. Shops can rebuild packs by replacing only faulty modules instead of the entire pack, which costs much less. Refurbished modules can also be sourced from wrecked vehicles.

 

Automakers have battery recycling partnerships in place. EV owners can return old packs to dealerships, which send them to certified recyclers to reclaim metals. Research is ongoing into reuse applications.

EVs convert over 77% of electrical energy to power at the wheels versus under 30% for gas engines. Overall EVs average 2-3x the efficiency measured in km/kWh compared to km/L for gas vehicles.



Yes, Canadian winters can cut range by 15-30%. Batteries discharge faster in cold weather and have less energy available. Preconditioning batteries while plugged in helps maximize range.



Frequent fast charging introduces more heat and strain which can degrade batteries quicker. But occasional fast charges are okay if batteries have proper cooling systems. Slow overnight home charging is ideal.

Dashboard gauges indicate current state of charge remaining. Range estimates are also given based on driving style, speed, and accessory use. Low charge alerts trigger when the battery needs recharging.

Most electric cars operate between 300-400 volts. Upcoming models boast 800+ volt systems allowing for faster charging. Home outlets charge at 110-240 volts requiring onboard converters.



EVs use regenerative braking to slow the vehicle while recharging the battery. This reduces wear on friction brakes, with some owners going 150,000+ km before needing pads or rotors replaced.



No, for longest battery life it’s best not to fully charge to 100% routinely. Keeping state of charge between 20-80% reduces strain. Letting the pack balance after short trips also helps.



Rarely letting an EV battery discharge below 10% is healthiest. Fully discharging occasionally won’t immediately damage packs but repeated 100% discharges strains cells over time.

Some refurbish and resell for secondary purposes. Others dismantle and recycle raw materials like lithium, nickel, and cobalt back into the supply chain to build new cells. Research into reuse is ongoing.

Home charging costs $0.15-0.25 CAD per km driven versus $0.18-0.30 for gas vehicles. Exact EV costs depend on utility rates. Charging overnight on lower rates saves the most.



Federal rebates of $2,500-5,000 for new EVs. Some provinces add further rebates up to $8,000 combined. Businesses can qualify for 100% capital cost writeoffs for company EVs.



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