How Does an EV Warranty Work?

Car warranties can feel like another way for automakers to make money. In some cases, they just might be. However, these warranties can help save you money, especially if your car needs repairs. But how exactly do warranties work for EV batteries?

EVs are gaining in popularity

EV batteries, potentially eligible for an EV warranty.
EV batteries | Getty Images

Say what you want, but right now, everyone is dreading hitting the gas pumps as fuel prices rise. This makes buying an EV look more attractive than ever. 

It also helps that the availability is on the rise. Just a few short years ago, the only EVs readily available were far beyond the average consumer. Since then, there has been a wide range of EVs hitting the market, and even the cheapest models still have a decent range. 

What does an EV battery warranty cover?

Batteries in a gasoline-powered car typically don’t come with a warranty unless it’s limited, and even then, there are a lot of strings attached as to what is covered and what isn’t. However, this usually isn’t that big of a deal because if it messes up, you can always head down to your local auto parts shop and purchase a new one. It doesn’t quite work like that with EV batteries, however.

In an EV, the battery is crucial to how the vehicle operates. They aren’t cheap, and replacing them isn’t always the easiest of tasks. So what do you do if your EV battery isn’t functioning properly?

Kelly Blue Book reports that most EV and hybrid warranties will cover bumper to bumper for five years or 60,000 miles. Some may last for ten years or 100,000 miles. The good news is that federal law requires automakers to cover you for eight years or 100,000 miles.

The bad news is that as your battery ages, it can’t hold a charge as well. This is because it has the same battery as your cell phone, which is a lithium-ion. 

Don’t panic just yet. Yes, your battery may not charge as well as it did when it was brand new. But Kelley Blue Book referenced a study performed by Recurrent, which claims that only 5 to 10% of the battery life will be lost in the first five years of ownership. 

Since automakers know this, they have a set percentage of when they’ll replace the battery once it loses so much battery life. For Tesla and Volkswagen, this is 70%. Nissan’s warranty specifies they’ll replace the battery at 75%.

To replace a battery, you’ll need to go to a dealership, which isn’t cheap. If you get a new battery, it’ll typically come with a three-year warranty which you can most likely transfer if you choose to trade-in or sell your EV or hybrid.

As for an extended warranty, while you may be talked into it, you should be aware that it does not cover EV or hybrid batteries. You also can’t get an extended warranty specific to the EV battery since automakers expect them to degrade over time. This could change in the future, but automakers aren’t offering it now.

Warranties are designed for your protection

While it may hurt to see that extra price tag added to your bill once it’s time to finance, warranties actually work in your favor. Whether you drive an EV, a hybrid, or a gasoline-powered vehicle, repairs are rarely cheap. 

For items such as engines and transmissions, the price can be shockingly high. On top of buying new parts, you’re also paying to have a technician work on your vehicle.

Warranties may not be perfect, especially as your vehicle begins to get miles on it and certain items are dropped from the warranty, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

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