With a normal car, you know that engines are built to last. With some maintenance, you can expect to get 150,000 miles or more. But how long does an EV battery last?
While battery technology is improving almost every day, generally you can expect new Electric Car batteries to exceed the lifespan of an engine and components in regular gas vehicles. Tesla for example expects 300,000-500,000 miles before replacement.
What kind of battery is in my EV?
Electric cars get their power from rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, these are far more energy-dense than the lead-acid batteries used to start your normal gas-powered car. and more so than the cheaper rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries found in some hybrid vehicles. A lithium-ion battery’s high energy density means it can produce more power per size than most other battery types making them a great choice for an electric car.
One of the benefits of using batteries as the means of power is that they are far more simple and efficient than gas-powered vehicles, less moving parts, less heat, less wear. Lithium-ion batteries have decreased in cost significantly over the years, with experts believing that EVs will soon be as cheap to produce as standard gasoline-burning cars.
Do EV Batteries Degrade Over Time?
EV batteries do indeed degrade over time. EV batteries typically degrade due to temperature cycling, charging cycles, rapid charging. Storage and operating temperatures also have an impact on EV battery longevity; in general, warm climates can negatively affect the lifespan of an EV battery as excess heat can damage the cells.
When the battery goes through repeated charge cycles discharging while driving and charging back up while plugged in it will slowly lose the maximum amount of charge it can hold.
Batteries will also degrade over time, whether they are used or not, so don’t bother worrying about putting “extra miles” on your car. Go! drive it.
Manufacturers put in battery management systems that regulate how the batteries are charged and discharged to prolong their life.
How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Last?
How long will my hamster live, how long until my kid eats vegetables again, how long can you expect your EV battery to last?
The best we can do is give recommendations based on manufacturer testing. While the batteries may certainly last for 500,000 miles, customers can at least rest assured that the government mandates EV manufacturers to warranty batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles, in California extends that warranty to 10 years or 150,000 miles.
As EV battery packs become more economical to produce, companies can create larger batteries with more energy potential, which in turn increases their mileage.
Along with that comes better technology to mitigate the degradation of batteries, meaning that over time the maximum potential stays closer to the new battery.
How Does EV Battery Longevity Compare to Gas-powered Vehicles?
As mentioned above, with warranty numbers of 8 years or 100,000 miles for EV batteries compared to an average of 5 years or 60,000 miles for a typical gas-powered car, manufacturers seem to be confident that the EV should outlast a gas-powered car.
Crazy enough Tesla has been working on a million-mile battery, and claims that they getting close during the last Battery Day announcement.
On average though, EV batteries typically degrade at a rate of 2.1% of their maximum capacity per year.
How To Extend EV Battery Life
You spent a lot of money on your EV, and maybe plan to keep it for a very long time. Of course, you expect it to last a long time, so how can you get the most out of your EV battery?
Follow The Manufacturer’s Guidelines
RTFM my friend. There is a wealth of knowledge in the owner’s manual. You will get tips and tricks specific to your car right in there. It will also show you how to keep your car software up to date if over-the-air updates are part of your car’s capabilities.
Don’t let your EV get too hot
I always try to park in the shade anyway, but it also has the advantage of keeping your batteries cooler which can help extend the life.
Don’t Use Rapid Charging Every Time
If you’re on a road trip, by all means, but high voltage rapid charging can take a toll on your battery. You are ramming a lot of juice in there in a short amount of time.
Occasionally utilizing direct current rapid charging your vehicle is okay, but if you can limit the frequency of rapid charging, you are a lot lee likely to see battery degradation later in its life.
In addition to that, plan your trips accordingly and try to keep your charging only to 80%. Anything higher should be for trips you just can’t make otherwise.
Replaceable EV Batteries?
One of my favourite EV companies is NIO, which is, unfortunately, is not available in North America. What sets them apart is their BaaS plan. Battery as a Service. ( You can read about this cool technology HERE ) If your charge is running low you can simply pull into a battery swap station and by the wonders of technology and robots, a charged battery pack will be installed in your car.
This takes battery degradation out of the equation and I wonder if other manufacturers might follow suit in the future.