At some point, the battery that powers an electric car will need to be replaced. However, if you’ve just bought a new EV, this really isn’t something to worry about.
All electric car batteries lose capacity over time. It could be as little as two percent per year, but the rate of decline depends partly on care and usage of the battery.
Here, we look at some of the considerations when it comes to EV batteries.
EV battery warranties
Let’s start by looking at manufacturer warranties. For example, the battery in a Tesla Model S or Model X is warrantied for eight years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. The company guarantees a minimum 70 percent retention of capacity over the warranty period.
You get the same eight-year and 70 percent warranty in the smaller Tesla Model 3, but the mileage restriction is 100,000 in standard models, or 120,000 miles in the Long Range and Performance variants.
The batteries in the Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208 are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles. Meanwhile, the warranty in the Nissan Leaf ranges from five years/60,000 miles to eight years/100,000 miles, depending on the model.
When estimating battery life, these warranties are a good place to start. If a manufacturer is prepared to warrant an EV battery for 100,000 miles, that should cover most drivers for around a decade.
How does an EV battery degrade?
A number of factors determine the rate at which an electric car’s battery loses its capacity. The simple act of recharging and discharging will eat away at battery life, albeit at a slow and barely noticeable rate.
Some other factors will take larger bites out of battery capacity. These include:
- Use at high temperatures
- Recharging from flat
- Consistent use of rapid charging
- High discharging (i.e. fast acceleration)
To preserve the life of your car’s battery, try to keep its charge between 50 percent and 80 percent, using an overnight top-up when possible.
Maintaining EV battery life
American website Electrek used fleet data to analyse EV battery health. Its findings can be summarised as follows:
- Most electric car batteries will outlast the life of the vehicle.
- The average decline in energy storage is 2.3 percent a year.
- The biggest losses occur in the first few years, then the rate of decline slows.
- Liquid-cooled batteries perform better. For example, the Tesla Model S (liquid cooling) declines at a rate of 2.3 percent a year. Meanwhile, the old Nissan Leaf (air cooling) drops by 4.2 percent a year.
- Higher vehicle use does not equate to higher battery degradation.
- The use of fast chargers speeds up the process of degradation.
In reality, the life of the battery shouldn’t be a major concern unless you’re buying an older electric car.
Driven sensibly and charged sympathetically, there’s no reason why a battery pack won’t see you – and indeed the car’s next owner – through to a six-figure mileage and beyond. In other words, an EV could last you just as long as a petrol or diesel car.
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