How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

Dustin Hawley | Sep 21, 2022

Many drivers are transitioning towards electric vehicles, and by 2040, EVs are expected to represent more than two-thirds of passenger vehicle sales. 

How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last

Learning about EV batteries is a crucial aspect since this determines you’ll be able to travel and how often you’ll be recharging, among other factors. 

In this article, we will talk about precisely that. We will reveal basic information about batteries and discuss their life expectancy, protection measures, and cost. 

Battery Basics 

Gasoline-powered cars have lead-acid batteries, while EVs use lithium-ion battery packs. These are the same batteries you can find in your cell phone or laptop. Lithium-ion batteries have greater energy density and hold their charge longer than standard car batteries.

The term kWh or kilowatt-hour refers to an electric car’s battery capacity. The more kWh your vehicle has, the longer you can drive around in your ride. So, think of kWh-rating as picking a gas tank size when choosing an EV. 

While the kWh rating helps understand how far your vehicle can go, it does not give an idea about how long your battery will last. 

Life Expectancy 

Every battery in the USA comes with a warranty, lasting for eight years minimum or up to 10,000 miles. However, you should always familiarize yourself with the warranty terms as there may be other catches. For instance, KIA offers a ten-year battery pack warranty, while Hyundai provides lifetime coverage. 

Generally, electric vehicle batteries last 10-20 years, but some factors may reduce their lifespan. For instance, batteries may degrade faster in hotter climates as heat does not pair well with EVs. Additionally, charging the battery at a Level 3 station can cause the battery to overheat, as the charging process is too quick. This process can negatively affect performance and longevity.

However, many manufacturers have learned these lessons beforehand and include protective measures in their cars.

Protection 

As mentioned, heat directly correlates with your battery’s lifespan. The same goes for cold, but it does not reduce life expectancy, only range and performance. All EVs work optimally at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and because of that, manufacturers started equipping the vehicles with thermal management systems. Their complexity depends on the model and brand, but liquid cooling is usually involved, as it helps keep the temperature at an acceptable level.

You can do nothing about charging, though. Whenever you replenish the charge, your battery slowly degrades with each cycle. While it is normal for an iPhone to undergo this process often, car owners expect to get more out of their rides than four or five years. That is precisely why you will never be able to fully deplete or charge the battery in an EV. Even with zero percent battery life, while you cannot drive, some energy will still be preserved. It helps to improve battery longevity drastically. 

Buying A Replacement 

If your warranty runs out and the battery just happens to be beyond repair, you have to look for a replacement. Unfortunately, a new pack can cost $5,000 on average and as much as $15,000 in some cases. 

Fortunately, prices are expected to drop in the next two to three years as EV adoption continues to grow amongst consumers. Additionally, manufacturers are trying to do everything possible to improve the lifespan of their EV batteries. Today, you can expect your battery to degrade at 2.3 percent per year. So. If your EV’s range is 150 miles, you will lose about 17 miles of accessible range in five years. 

Summary

Buying a battery can set you back by a hefty sum, but in most cases, you won’t have to make that purchase at all. Generally, EV car batteries last from 10 to 20 years. Certain factors like heat, cold, or swift charging times can negatively affect that and reduce performance. Manufacturers have already included protective measures like thermal management systems and charging restrictions. Plus, you always get a warranty that covers the repairs if need be.

Every electric car battery will face degradation. Though it is inevitable, you should not worry too much. Manufacturers are trying to do everything possible to improve the life cycle and preserve top performance. So, whenever you buy an EV, you can expect your battery to work for quite some time. 

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