Electric Car Batteries: How Long Do They Last
How long do electric car batteries last? How do they work? These are questions that many drivers are asking as electric vehicles become increasingly popular, affordable, and powerful.
Our team at Freedom National has put together the ultimate guide to answer all of your most important questions about electric car batteries, including:
- How long do electric car batteries last?
- How do electric car batteries work?
- How do you know your electric car battery needs to be replaced?
- What type of batteries are used in electric cars
- How do you charge an electric battery?
- How far can you go on a single charge?
- How to make your electric car battery last longer
- How to replace a battery in an electric car
- How do dispose of an electric car battery
We hope this guide helps new electric vehicle owners get a handle on the convenience and power that comes from going electric. After all, EVs are designed to be simpler and more reliable than gas-powered vehicles. You dont want to make it more complicated by failing to understand the basics of how they work. Lets get started!
Is There A Way To Tell When Your Battery Needs Replacing
If its time for a replacement or just an easy fix, like installing new charging points/cables you need to know how your car batteries are performing. Have you been noticing any sluggishness or problems starting the car lately? Are there wires/connectors loose that need tightening? If you have noticed a decrease in performance of your battery, its time to consider replacing them. As they wont last much longer at this rate and will eventually stop working all together if not replaced soon enough.
The first thing most people check when experiencing an electric vehicle issue is their charging points. But what about checking on the health of your existing battery pack? Regularly testing can help keep track of its overall condition. So having replacements ready for installation later down the line means less downtime with broken cars which means more money saved! To give yourself some peace of mind, test regularly using a battery load tester or voltmeter. And remember to replace your batteries every 80% of their original capacity.
80% is the industry standard when it comes to electric car batteries. Which means that if you have a 40kWh pack, this should last for around 32-36kWh before needing replacement. However, there are many factors such as temperatures and charge cycles etc. So using an average figure can give you a rough idea on how long they will last before being dropped down to the lower range.
How To Make Your Electric Car Battery Last Longer
How long do electric car batteries last? That depends a lot on you. The choices you make and the way you maintain your electric vehicle can either extend your batterys lifespan or decrease it dramatically.
For example, we already mentioned how excessive fast charging can lead to faster battery degradation. Its also been shown that allowing a battery to go all the way flat and then charging it fully to 100% again and again can also degrade your battery more quickly.
Fortunately, EVs have a battery management system designed to keep you from ever completely draining or completely charging your battery, except in emergency situations. This helps keep your battery lasting as long as possible so you can enjoy your electric vehicle for years to come and across hundreds of thousands of miles.
Some other tips for extending the life of an electric car battery you may recognize from your days driving a gas-powered vehicle with a traditional engine. Accelerating too quickly doesnt just burn up your batterys current cycle more quickly, it can also degrade your batterys long-term lifespan. So while you might be tempted to test Teslas claim of 0 to 60 in 2.4 seconds, doing so too often wont be good for your battery.
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Be Mindful Of Temperature Extremes
Electric vehicles have thermal management systems to prevent the battery pack from overheating, but extreme temperatures can still impact battery longevity.
Cold weather can reduce performance in the short term, while hot weather can lead to faster degradation. Avoid driving in extreme conditions when possible, and park your car in the garage or in the shade to keep it in optimal condition.
Electric Car Battery Charging Cycles
Electric car batteries connect to the vehicles motor, which turns the wheels. When you accelerate, power gets delivered to the motor, and the energy stored in the battery gets consumed.
EV batteries charge when theyre plugged in and discharge when in use. Repeating this cycle of charging and discharging degrades the battery over time. It decreases the amount of charge the battery can hold. It increases the amount of time needed to recharge the battery.
Most importantly, the charging cycles take a toll on the lifespan of an electric car battery.
Other factors can impact how long electric car batteries last. Heat and lithium-ion batteries are not a good combination, which is why most EVs have liquid-cooled battery packs. Even so, electric cars in hotter regions will degrade faster.
While they offer the convenience of speed, regularly using Level 3 fast-charging stations can shorten the expected battery life in electric vehicles. These high-voltage DC stations can charge an EVs battery up to 80% in about 30 minutes. Still, the process can generate heat in the battery and therefore affect its long-term performance.
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Can You Put A 3rd Party Battery In An Electric Car
You cannot currently purchase an aftermarket or 3rd party battery to replace the manufacturers original one in your vehicle. Car enthusiasts are used to being able to save money by getting a 3rd party part to replace a more expensive one in their vehicle that may have failed or been worn out, but thats not the case with electric car batteries. If your electric car battery should fail, have a look at your warranty most manufacturers have robust battery warranties and will replace or repair your battery at no cost.
How Do Electric Car Batteries Work
EV batteries are actually battery packs full of groups of individual lithium-ion cells, each of which can store a certain amount of power. As you drive around and use the cars electrical systems, that stored energy is discharged until the battery needs to be topped up again.
The life of an EV battery is commonly measured in charge cyclesthat is, the number of times the battery is fully charged and discharged. As with other devices powered by lithium-ion cells, the amount of charge the battery can hold will decrease as the battery pack degrades over time. The battery in your smartphone, for example, might start to degrade after just a couple of years of use.
Thankfully EV batteries are built sturdier than that and the technology is constantly improving. Most car manufacturers have a five to eight-year warranty on their EV batteries. Tesla offers an eight-year warranty with unlimited mileage on the Model S, and Nissan backs their Leaf for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
An EVs battery capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours . According to MyEV, the higher the rating, the better:
An electric cars battery capacity is expressed in terms of kilowatt-hours, which is abbreviated as kWh. More is better here. Choosing an EV with a higher kWh rating is like buying a car that comes with a larger gas tank in that youll be able to drive for more miles before needing a fill up.’
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But Why Is This A Problem
So, this might leave you wondering, why exactly is this an issue? Surely you can just replace the battery in your car once the current battery is past its use date? While yes, you can, the biggest issue regarding this comes down to cost. New batteries arent exactly cheap. If your electric cars battery dies, youre looking at an expenditure of very likely over a dozen thousand Dollars. And this expenditure is just for the battery itself. Factor in installation charges and you can add some more to the total sum. And if your car is a rather fancy one, well just go ahead and add another zero to the cheque while youre at it.
Estimating Ev Battery Life
EVs haven’t been on the road in large numbers for long enough to provide sufficient data on battery longevity. Of the 1.4 million electric cars sold in the United States since they were introduced in 2010, only around 400,000 are older than five years.
Battery efficiency and energy density also continue to improve on a regular basis. But the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated in 2014 that EV batteries may last 12 to 15 years in moderate climates .
A lithium-ion battery stores lithium ions in separate parts of the battery called anodes and cathodes. A solution called an electrolyte carries positively charged ions from the anode to the cathode, creating the electric charge that runs into the circuits. The battery recharges when the flow of electrons movesfrom the cathode to the anode.
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The Cost Of Replacing The Battery In An Electric Car
The main thing here that people need to realize is how batteries play a big role in what type of range your electric vehicle has on a single charge. And since these two carry some fairly large ones under their hoods . There really isnt much differentiating between them aside from capacity, warranty information, etcetera. Replacing electric vehicle batteries yourself can end up being quite expensive. So its best to stick with the original warranty time frame which is about eight years or either 120,000 miles for standard versions of both models.
Battery Thermal Management Systems
InsideEVs mentions another protection put in place to prevent electric car batteries from degrading: thermal management systems. Just like most people, electric cars thrive in moderate temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the weather is too cold, the battery’s range and performance declines however, the longevity of the battery is typically not affected. Hot temperatures, on the other hand, can cause the battery to degrade more quickly. For these reasons, most electric vehicles are equipped with a thermal management system that keeps the batteries at a healthy temperature.
When it comes down to it, every electric car battery will eventually face degradation, but many sources state that very few electric car batteries have depleted to the point of needing to be replaced. As it stands, manufacturers aim to engineer batteries that will provide electric cars with long life and top performance.
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How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last On One Charge
That depends on the capacity of the battery and how the car is driven. A Tesla Model S has a large 100kWh battery pack which can deliver an estimated range of 405 miles on a single charge. At the other end of the scale, the Honda e has a 35.5kWh battery which provides around 137 miles between charges.
In general, driving slowly in the city without using too many energy-sapping features will yield the best results, while fast motorway driving will deliver the shortest range between charges.
Can You Replace Your Ev Battery
So youve owned your EV for 15 years, cared for it thoroughly, and its finally dead. If your only remaining option is to replace the EV battery, theres good news. Yes, you can replace your EVs battery whenever necessary. For example, Chevy is currently replacing battery cells in Bolt EV models because of a recall. RG says it isnt too complicated of a process for their trained mechanics.
However, replacing the entire battery can require a specialized shop, a trained mechanic at a dealer, and other special services. Thats why it might be a bit costly. Depending on the depreciation level of a 10+-year-old vehicle, it might end up being too expensive to be worth replacing. Battery packs themselves can cost more than $10,000, and thats before paying someone for the labor of swapping out the batteries. If your EV lasts 15 years and needs a new battery, it might be better just to buy a new one.
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Its The Vehicles Most Critical And Expensive Component Fortunately It Should Be Able To Go The Distance
In many ways an electric car is mechanically simpler than a conventionally powered vehicle. There are far less moving parts in an electric motor than a gasoline engine, an electric car uses only a single-speed transmission, and EVs avoid over two-dozen common automotive components that will eventually fail and need replacing.
Yet one area of concern that keeps coming up in consumer surveys regards an electric cars battery life. In a recent study conducted by Cox Automotive, 46 percent of those considering an electric car fear the battery pack would only last for 65,000 miles or less. To be sure, replacing an electric vehicles battery is an expensive proposition. For example, a new battery pack for a Chevrolet Bolt EV is reportedly priced well in excess of $15,000, and thats not including the cost of labor.
However, while an electric cars battery pack will eventually lose its ability to hold a full charge, rest assured that its not likely to fail altogether, but rather lose its capacity gradually over time. At that, weve yet to see reports of older battery-driven vehicles headed to the junkyard because their power cells were depleted. Nissan reports having to swap out only a relative handful of batteries in its Leaf EV, despite selling many thousands of units over the last eight years in production.
Whats The Maintenance On An Ev Like
In general, electric cars will have far less maintenance than a car with an internal combustion engine. The far fewer parts mean the powertrain will not need much regular maintenance. This means no oil changes, coolant changes, or air filter changes, and all of those other things youre used to doing every few thousand miles.
Of course, there is still some maintenance. Youll need to do tires and brakes on a regular schedule. Also, your suspension will need occasional maintenance. Lights and electrical systems will also need service from time to time, but these intervals are generally few and far between.
This can help you save a good amount of money a year in maintenance costs and thousands over the course of the time you own the car.
With that said, whether or not youll actually save money driving an EV is a hotly debated topic. In a AAA survey, it was determined that an ICE car is actually cheaper when you factor in depreciation and insurance into the equation by $590. This is with tax credits factored in as well.
|AAA Survey Findings|
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How Many Hours Does An Electric Car Battery Last
An electric car battery typically lasts for about eight hours. However, this number can vary depending on the type of battery, the size of the battery, and the conditions under which it is being used. For example, if the battery is being used in cold weather, it will not last as long as it would in warm weather.
If I have an electric vehicle, will the batteries degrade faster if I have a cell phone? The kilowatt-hour is an important indicator of an EVs battery capacity. Most EV batteries have a five to eight-year warranty from the manufacturer. Electric vehicle batteries can be thought of as having different capacities depending on how they are used and how long they are expected to last. Most battery manufacturers will extend their warranty for their batteries by at least eight years, or up to 100,000 miles. Both Tesla and Hyundai offer extended battery life, and some manufacturers only replace EV batteries in the event of complete failure. When you use fast charging stations all of the time, the battery in your electric vehicle can run out faster.
In addition to decreasing battery capacity, extreme heat can harm the charge of an electric vehicle by causing it to lose power. Most electric vehicles have cooled batteries that are also available. Other methods for providing power may be available if batteries with a limited capacity are left unused.
The Lifespan Of Electric Car Batteries
Electric car batteries can be made of a variety of chemicals. The lifespan of lead acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, and lithium-ion batteries is 10-12 years, 5-6 years, and 3-5 years, respectively. Every year, the average person drives less than 50 miles. Assume that the driver only uses the car for short commutes and not for long road trips, the battery in an electric car will only last for about 6-8 years.
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How To Maximize Electric Car Battery Life
Battery degradation is completely normal and expected with electric vehicles on the road today. But even if you cant defy the laws of nature, there are a few steps you can take to maximize your vehicles battery life. A common rule is to avoid leaving your car sitting fully charged or at low levels for extended periods of time. Both put excessive wear on the battery something to keep in mind if youre working from home or on vacation.
DC fast chargers are currently one of the fastest ways to charge an electric vehicle, with most compatible vehicles going from 20% to 80% in less than an hour. Chargers are becoming more common at public stations, which is great. They are incredibly convenient, but frequent usage can degrade your battery faster. If you want to keep yours in prime condition, try to save fast charging for road trips and emergencies.
Extreme temperature is the enemy of battery longevity. Both heat and cold lead to increased wear on your battery, especially when its parked and unplugged. On top of that, your car will have to work harder to maintain a comfortable cabin temperature, which leaves less energy available for driving. Try to park indoors when you can or in the shade during the summer months.