How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Last?



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As electric cars and other electric vehicles (EVs) become more popular, many consumers hoping to make the switch want to know: How long does an EV battery last? While battery life span varies by manufacturer and age, in general you can expect new batteries to rival and often exceed the longevity of drivetrain components on internal combustion engine (ICE) Vehicles. 

EV Batteries: The Basics

Electric cars are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are more energy dense than the lead-acid batteries found in internal combustion engines or rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries found in some hybrids. A lithium-ion battery’s high energy density means it produces more power for its size, making it ideal for an electric car.

Because EVs are powered by the battery alone, they are far more simple and efficient than ICE vehicles. As lithium-ion batteries have decreased in cost by 97% over the last 30 years, experts believe that EVs will soon be as cheap to produce as ICE vehicles. 

How Do EV Batteries Degrade?

EV batteries typically degrade due to temperature, cycles and time. Storage and operating temperatures have a huge impact on EV battery longevity; in general, warmer climates negatively affect the lifespan of an EV battery. As the battery goes through charge cycles — discharged while driving and charged back up while plugged in — it slowly loses maximum potential. However, simply not using or charging your EV battery does not mean it will last forever: Calendar degradation is the battery losing life over time.

Unlike the lithium-ion batteries found in a phone or laptop, EV batteries utilize complex battery management systems (BMS) that regulate how the batteries are charged and discharged to prolong their life. That means your EV battery is most likely to experience temperature or calendar degradation.

How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Last?

So the question remains: How long can you expect your EV battery to last? Fortunately for consumers, the government mandates EV manufacturers to warranty batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles, while California extends that warranty to 10 years or 150,000 miles.

As EV battery packs become cheaper to manufacture, companies can create larger batteries with more energy potential, which in turn increases their mile-range. Additionally, the improved technology reduces the degradation of batteries, meaning that over time the maximum potential stays closer to the new battery. And because newer batteries already have greatly increased in mileage range, as they degrade they will still maintain a longer mileage range than batteries from just a few years ago. Finally, because lithium-ion batteries are made up of many individual cells, you rarely need to replace the entire battery as it degrades. Instead, you can save money by simply replacing dead cells. 

How Does EV Battery Longevity Compare to ICE Vehicles?

Both of the mandated warranty numbers (8 years, 100,000 miles) for EV batteries far exceed the average ICE vehicle drivetrain warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles. While experts estimate the average EV battery will last around 200,000 miles, some manufacturers already promise much more than that. 

And the news gets better: Tesla has their sights set on a million-mile battery, and claims that they are not far from achieving this goal. On average, EV batteries only degrade at a rate of 2.3% of maximum capacity per year, so with proper care you can reliably expect your EV battery to last as long or longer than ICE drivetrain components. 

How To Extend EV Battery Life

While EV batteries are already durable, there are specific actions owners can take to further maximize battery lifespan.

Follow EV Manufacturer Guidelines

First, it is important to follow your EV’s specific guidelines for optimal battery performance, as well as keep your vehicle’s software up to date. Because each EV manufacturer utilizes different battery chemistries and cooling technologies, each will have its own set of optimal operating and charging instructions.

Maintain Moderate Temperatures

EVs with liquid-cooled batteries see better battery life retention because they maintain lower operating temperatures. In general, storing and operating your EV in moderate climates is an effective way to extend battery life. Even if you live in a warmer climate, parking your vehicle in a garage or well-shaded area helps, as a vehicle spends most of its life parked. 

Minimize Rapid Charging

While occasionally utilizing direct current rapid charging (DCRC) to power your vehicle is okay, if you can minimize the frequency of this charging method, you are likely to see less battery degradation later in its life. Luckily, EV Connect offers a variety of charging stations to ensure a number of efficient solutions for your vehicle. And remember: Don’t be afraid to use your EV, as frequent use is not a major factor in battery degradation. 

An EV Battery’s Second Life

One of the most exciting aspects of EV battery degradation for eco-conscious consumers is the fact that batteries can still serve a sustainable purpose after they leave your EV. Even as they lose efficiency to power a car (usually at 70% of their maximum charge potential), these powerful EV batteries retain enough life to pair with solar and can serve as secondary energy for your home. Some manufacturers even collect or buy back used batteries to sustainably power other projects, such as sports arenas. You can feel secure in knowing that the sustainability of your EV’s power continues long after it leaves your vehicle. 

EV batteries continue to decrease in cost, travel more miles on a charge and retain longer life spans. Experts already suggest that EV batteries will exceed the longevity of ICE components, and the technology improves every year. It’s all good news: Your EV battery will serve your needs for years to come, and it can even be sustainably recycled after its life from powering your vehicle.

Interested in EV charging stations? Connect with us today.

Nathan Lemin is a freelance writer based in Arizona who covers sustainability and the outdoor industry.

Sources

Alternative Fuels Data Center – Alternative Fuels Data Center: Maps and Data 

Geotab Fleet Data – What Can 6,000 Electric Vehicles Tell Us About EV Battery Health?

New Zealand Government “Gen Less” – EV Batteries and How Far They Can Go

Union of Concerned Scientists – How Long Will My EV Battery Last? (and 3 Tips To Help It Last Longer) 



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