How Quickly Do EV Batteries Degrade?

In a classic case of sticking with the times, the car market is switching to electric, with EVs rising in popularity and availability. Companies like Tesla may have started the movement, but other automakers are catching up. Jeep is even aiming to have most of its lineup electrified by 2025. This means people will have to rely on car batteries more than they do fuel tanks, leading to another concern; how quickly the EV batteries degrade.

People’s concerns about EV batteries

A person assembling and setting up EV batteries.
EV batteries | Getty Images

All electric and electrified vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, which they share with laptops, smartphones, and tablets. With laptops and smartphones, battery degradation is likely something you’ve grown to expect. The device may hold a charge for 10 hours during the first few days of ownership, and this will eventually turn into seven hours or less with continued use.

Of course, some smartphone and laptop batteries degrade a lot faster than others, depending on use and circumstances. This means that good battery hygiene and efficient use can help stave off the damage for a while. Nevertheless, it will inevitably happen. When the damage is too much, and the phone barely holds a charge, users elect to replace either the battery or the entire phone.

With an EV, the risk is much higher since you’re dealing with a bigger and much more costly battery, and therefore replacing or even repairing it won’t be easy. As such, if you’re considering an electric vehicle purchase, you’ll likely be wondering whether to expect something similar from your EV battery.

EV battery degradation in electric cars

Kelley Blue Book asserts that EV batteries are just as likely to degrade as their smaller counterparts resulting in lower efficiency over time. Nevertheless, this problem isn’t as bad as you might think. According to Battery University, EV manufacturers prioritize battery system longevity over high specific energy allowing the EV batteries to serve their users for longer.

Studies by Recurrent, a company that researches and tracks battery life EVs, reveal an estimated 5% decrease in range from 50,000 to about 200,000 miles. This means a 5-10% decrease in capacity in the first five years.

On the other hand, Geotab, a company that provides web-based analytics for fleets, found that EV batteries lose about 2.3% of their energy capacity annually. This would put them on track to outlast the vehicles they’re put in.

Notably, there are also warranties for the various EV batteries meaning you can get a battery replaced or repaired if it’s losing its capacity too fast. Tesla, for instance, offers at least an eight-year or 100,000 miles warranty for its Tesla Model 3 RWD battery and will replace it if the capacity drops below 70% within this period.

Other concerns consumers have with the EV movement

Despite being all the rage, the EV movement is still relatively new, meaning that the supporting infrastructure is yet to catch up. As such, while you can drive anywhere in the U.S. and find a gas station, the same cannot be said of charging stations. The west is particularly affected due to the many rural areas that lack the electrical infrastructure to support EV charging stations.

Car manufacturers like Tesla have resorted to installing some of their own charging stations to supplement the public ones available. Nevertheless, there is still some range anxiety, with some drivers thinking their vehicles don’t have enough battery capacity to get them to their intended destinations.

People with vehicles like the Lucid Air, with a reported range of 520 miles, may not have that problem. However, with a car like the Mazda MX-30, which only has 100 miles of range, the resulting anxiety is understandable.

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