The benefits of switching from a combustion engine to an electric car include zero tailpipe emissions, rapid acceleration, and avoiding the unpredictable (often volatile) price of gasoline. But buyers considering an electric vehicle have their own concerns, which can range from access to charging stations to real-world driving range to the time required for EV charging. And then there's the big question: what is the lifespan of these EV battery packs, and how much does battery replacement cost? 

Tesla Driving Range and Charging Options

Tesla, the most successful electric vehicle company in the world, has done its best to address these concerns. The automaker built an extensive Tesla supercharger network of more than 35,000 fast charging stations, making coast-to-coast road trips a real-world option for road warriors. Tesla owners can also purchase the Tesla Wall Connector charger for between $750 and $1,500, for recharging their vehicle at home.

Tesla vehicles provide some of the largest battery sizes available in an EV, with the Tesla Model S rated at up to 405 miles of range from its 105 kilowatt hour battery capacity. That same battery can be charged at a supercharger station at the rate of 200 miles in 15 minutes, though like all lithium-ion batteries, Tesla car batteries charge faster below 80%, then slow as they reach a full charge. This process of battery management during charging helps prolong the battery’s lifespan. Home charging with the Wall Connector will be slower, adding between 10 miles and 44 miles per hour of charge, depending on the house’s circuit breakers and output capacity.

Here’s a look at every Tesla model, along with its maximum battery range and MSRP:

Model  Maximum Range MSRP
Tesla Model 3 Long Range 348 $57,990
Tesla Model Y Long Range 330 $58,190
Tesla Model S  405 $96,590
Tesla Model X  348 $112,590

Tesla Battery Warranty and Battery Longevity

Many consumers don’t know this, but every EV battery, from the 150-mile Nissan Leaf to the 520-mile Lucid Air, comes with an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty as required by federal law. California requires an even lengthier 10-year/150,000-mile warranty for electric car batteries. Given how many EVs are sold in California, you can safely assume every new battery powering an electric vehicle is engineered to meet California’s requirement, even if it’s sold in another state.

Better still, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, claims every new Tesla battery should last between 300,000 and 500,000 miles. The U.S. Department of Energy uses 15,000 miles a year as its assumed standard range of annual driving for consumers, which would put Tesla’s battery life at between 20 and 33 years. Assuming a single charge a day, that timeframe would involve between 7,300 and 12,045 charge cycles. 

Is Tesla’s battery technology really robust enough to handle that type of long-term use without a substantial loss in energy storage, and an associated drop in driving range? Because Tesla hasn’t been selling cars for 20 years, yet, there’s no way to test Elon’s claim.

But with over 3 million Teslas sold so far there have been relatively few reports of battery modules failing. And as noted above, if serious battery degradation does occur, it will likely be covered under a warranty. However, in the rare case a Tesla battery fails and isn’t covered, it’s reasonable to assume a replacement cost of between $10,000 and $20,000.

Bottom line, an electric car’s battery life shouldn’t be a concern for consumers looking to buy a new – or even used – EV. This includes new and used Tesla models, which are unlikely to experience battery failure, and will probably be under warranty if they do. Of course you’ll want to check the current mileage and vehicle history of any used EV you’re looking to buy to ensure a battery warranty is in place and no past incidents (i.e. major accident, flood damage) have occurred that might have damaged the battery pack.

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