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As we dive headfirst into the electric car world, one of the most important questions is how long the electric car battery will last. This is the most expensive component of any EV and could be a major concern to some drivers, especially if the battery fails shortly after the warranty expires. Can you avoid replacing an EV battery? Are we getting into the electric car world too fast?

Do we know how long an electric car battery will last?

GM Ultium Platform on Display - what is the lifespan of this electric car battery
GM Ultium Platform on Display | General Motors

Currently, we don’t have enough data to predict the lifespan of an EV battery. Most electric vehicles haven’t been on the road for more than six years and those that have utilized outdated technology in the battery pack. The automotive world is transitioning to these new vehicles, but we’re still unsure how long the batteries will continue to return an acceptable charge. That said, we can take a few guesses.

How quickly do EV batteries degrade?

The average EV battery degradation rate is 2.3% of the maximum capacity per year. When properly cared for, your EV batteries could last much longer than many components in internal combustion engines. The longevity of electric car batteries contributes to the low maintenance costs associated with EVs.

This degradation rate as a percentage means that an EV with a 100-mile range could lose 2.3 miles of range in the first year, but that number is lowered as the vehicle ages. It will take more than five years to lose up to 10 miles of driving range in this EV.

How much does it cost to replace a battery in an electric car?

Red 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid on a Test Track - Replacing this electric car battery could cost a lot
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid | Tesla

The cost to replace an EV battery depends on the vehicle and battery pack size. Typically this cost ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, making this one of the most costly repairs associated with any vehicle. If a battery is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, that replacement shouldn’t cost anything. Most automakers cover the EV battery and components for eight years and 100,000 miles.

Once the manufacturer’s warranty no longer covers the electric vehicle, consumers face the challenge of living with range loss due to battery degradation or replacing the battery pack. Considering the high cost of replacement, it’s easy to predict that most consumers will live with the range loss in the electric car battery as long as possible.

What happens to electric car batteries after eight years?

EV batteries slowly lose capacity over time. This range loss of 2.3% per year is most noticeable after a few years have passed. Electric car batteries can be serviced, and individual cells can be replaced if they go bad. Eventually, much like gasoline engines, the batteries require replacement.

What happens to an electric car battery after its replaced?

Although most EV recycling and reusing programs are still in their infancy, some companies understand the need to utilize EV batteries for other purposes. Recurrent Auto tells us Nissan uses old LEAF batteries to power streetlights and GM uses EV batteries to back up data centers in Michigan. These batteries aren’t useful in electric vehicles but can still be used for other purposes, giving them a second life.

The auto industry’s future is in electric cars, which run on batteries that are getting better and stronger every year. Continued research and development should bring down the cost of replacement and increase the life expectancy of an electric car battery, making it easier to understand how long these batteries will last.

For now, we don’t know how long EV batteries will last, but we will soon.


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