Buying a new car is generally a massive expense for most people. After the purchase, there is the cost of future maintenance to consider. Are car repair concerns the same with electric vehicles? How many miles will a Tesla last, and when should you expect to replace the battery in a Tesla EV?
How long do Tesla batteries last?
According to SolarReviews, the current batteries in Tesla cars are designed to last for 300,000 to 500,000 miles. After that point, the battery life will start to degrade and will likely need to be replaced. SolarReviews points out that a Tesla battery might still work beyond 500,000 miles, although with a reduced range per charge. There is also talk that Tesla is working on a battery life that will last for 1 million miles.
The average Tesla battery degrades about 10% after 160,000 miles, which means it’s still at 90% of its peak performance even after that many miles. Recharging does reduce a battery’s ability to hold a charge, especially if a full charge is needed daily. However, most people won’t need to charge to 100%.
Elon Musk has said the Model 3’s body and power source should be able to last for a million miles, according to Electrek. Still, since Teslas haven’t been around for very long, there isn’t much data on how long Tesla vehicles can last.
How many miles can a Tesla battery handle?
Because most Tesla models haven’t needed battery replacements so far, the exact replacement prices are unknown. Elon Musk has said it will cost between $5,000 and $7,000 for a new Model 3 battery module (not the entire battery pack). The Tesla Model 3 has four battery modules in a battery pack, while the Model S and Model X EV models have up to 16.
Tesla car batteries are covered by their warranty for eight years or 120,000 to 150,000 miles, depending on which comes first. Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles are covered up to 120,000 miles (or eight years), while the Model S and Model X are covered up to 150,000 miles (or eight years). However, the battery will likely do fine beyond either eight years or 150,000 miles.
In 2019, Electrek followed up with a Tesla Model 3 owner who had put 100,000 miles on his car in two years. His general maintenance in that time would have been just tire replacements if he hadn’t done things like drive through a stream or slam a door in high winds. His max range was reportedly reduced by about 2.5%. He mainly used DC fast-charging, which causes faster battery degradation, but his charge rarely went below 10% or above 60%.
Clean Technica included a report from an owner whose Tesla Model S passed 200,000 miles. The driver spent very little on maintenance, even with his car out of warranty. He reported spending $1,050 in the first 100,000 miles and $5,415 total in the first 200,000 miles. He replaced the regular 12V car batteries twice but not the Tesla batteries. He also calculated that he’d saved $20,000 when comparing gas prices to EV charging fees.
Will Tesla and EV batteries last for 500,000 miles?
It would be a significant game-changer if cars were able to routinely last for 500,000 miles. There are likely Teslas out there that are around that non-gas mileage now. One comparative example is a Tesla Model S operated by Tesloop, a Tesla-only shuttle service in Southern California. The company’s Model S reached 400,000 in three years, according to Electrek. It cost about $19,000 for maintenance in that time. Tesloop estimates it would have spent $88,500 to maintain a Lincoln Town Car or Mercedes GLS-Class over the same time.
Interestingly that Model S needed its battery pack replaced twice during the 400,000 miles. The first battery pack was replaced at 194,000 miles after a 6% degradation. Tesla found that Tesloop had been supercharging to 100% multiple times a day. The second replacement was at 324,000 miles after a 22% degradation due to a problem with the battery pack. Other Tesloop Teslas still have their original battery packs after 300,000 miles.
While the Tesla Model 3 body may be designed to last for a million miles, owners will likely need to replace the battery pack two or three times over the course of that many miles.