Electric cars have soared in popularity in the wake of high gasoline prices. While improvements in vehicle battery technology have led to increased battery range, consumers are still left wondering how long they can expect their vehicle battery to last. After all, the battery pack is the most expensive part of an electric car, with a new battery costing upwards of $20,000.
So what can you expect for an electric vehicle’s battery lifespan? We have the important answers.
What are EV Batteries?Internal combustion engined cars are powered by gasoline, while EVs are powered by a battery pack driving one or more electric motors. The batteries that power electric cars are rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which is the same type of battery found in cell phones and other consumer electronics. Lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density than lead-acid or nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries, which means they don’t take up as much space while providing an equivalent level of power. A vehicle’s battery capacity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), so a vehicle with a higher kWh rating means it has more range.
How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Last?The lifespan of an EV battery depends on a number of factors. While battery life can vary, EV manufacturers are required to issue a warranty for at least 8 years or 10,000 miles. However, some manufacturers offer longer warranties. Kia offers a battery pack warranty for 10 years or 100,000 miles, and Hyundai provides warranty coverage on EV batteries for the vehicle’s entire lifetime. Battery warranties vary not only by time but also the nature of the coverage. Some automakers will only replace the battery if it completely dies, while other brands like BMW, Tesla, and Volkswagen will cover a battery if battery capacity falls below a certain percentage.
As battery technology continues to evolve, companies are creating larger batteries with increased range. For example, the first generation Nissan LEAF had a maximum range of 84 miles, while the newest LEAF has a maximum range of 212 miles. The advanced technology of these larger batteries also reduces their degradation. Even as they degrade, they will still maintain a long battery range. Moreover, a Tesla Model S only loses an estimated five percent of battery capacity over its first 50,000 miles.
This means that while every electric car battery pack will degrade over time, modern electric car batteries likely won’t require a battery replacement. And as engineering continues to evolve, batteries are designed to last the entire life of the vehicle.
An EV battery is expected to last 10-20 years depending on maintenance and care.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Electric Vehicle BatteryJust like there are preventative maintenance measures to extend the life of your gasoline vehicle, there are EV charging measures you can take to prolong your EV’s battery life.
1. Avoid parking in extreme temperatures
Lithium batteries have thermal management systems that will heat or cool themselves, which in turn uses energy and drains EV battery packs. Try to park in the shade if possible on hot days and inside in extreme cold temperatures to assist battery longevity.
2. Don’t Charge Your Car Too Much or Too Little
Modern electric cars are equipped with management systems that avoid charging and discharging at the maximum and minimum charging levels. You should avoid charging your vehicle above 80 percent or below 20 percent to extend EV battery life.
3. Minimize Use of Fast Charging Stations
DC fast charging stations can bring your battery level up to 80 percent in as little as 30 minutes. With this convenience comes a strain on your EV battery. For optimal battery life, you should limit how often you plug in to these fast charging stations for occasional scenarios, like road trips.
4. Maintain Optimal State of Charge While Vehicle is Stored
If you are planning on storing your vehicle for a long time, make sure that your battery does not have an empty or full charge. With a timed charger, you can set it to maintain the charging level between 25 and 75 percent.
Second Life of EV BatteriesWhen an automotive EV battery’s performance dips below 70 percent, it can have a second life when it is no longer useful to power a vehicle. There are many applications to repurpose EV batteries for renewable energy sources including home battery storage systems and powering manufacturing plants. In Japan, Toyota has installed EV batteries to store power generated from solar panels.
More from iSeeCars:
- How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?
- Electric Cars with the Longest Range
- Best Electric Cars
While an electric car’s battery life can vary, advancements in technology have helped ensure that it typically lasts for the lifespan of a vehicle. The main factor for prolonging a battery’s lifespan is to limit the number of charging cycles each battery cell goes through. Battery cells die when a battery reaches its empty or full state of charge for too long, so make sure you charge your vehicle according to manufacturer's instructions to minimize battery degradation.
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