There are a lot of ways that electric cars can help you save money. Most importantly, you don’t have to spend money on gasoline or diesel fuel ever again, but that doesn’t negate the costs that you face for maintenance and repairs. One big concern is the price of EV batteries. So, how much does an electric car battery replacement cost?
In this guide, we cover the factors that affect EV battery replacement costs. We also look at some of the most popular EVs to give you a better idea of what you might spend.
At the end of this article, we give you some tips to prevent EV battery replacement and discuss whether you should replace the battery yourself to save money.
How Much Does An Electric Car Battery Replacement Cost?
A new electric car battery replacement can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $20,000, depending on the type of electric car you drive and the labor rate. However, you can find refurbished batteries for much less, even as low as $2,000, if there’s one available for your vehicle.
There are many factors that affect the cost of EV battery replacement, so let’s start with a quick look at those factors.
Factors Affecting Electric Car Battery Replacement Cost
1. Vehicle You Drive
As you will see in a moment, the price is dramatically different based on what vehicle you drive. You can replace the battery on a Chevy Volt for far less than you would spend with your Tesla.
However, just because the cost is lower doesn’t make it a better deal. Depending on how long the battery lasts, you could actually spend less per kWh for one that lasts several more years.
2. Battery Materials
Most electric cars use lithium-ion batteries, but the amount of cells in each varies. They aren’t a single unit but can contain hundreds of cells. The more cells are included, the more capacity the battery has. We will talk more about the capacity in one second.
For this reason, electric car batteries don’t have the same cost as a hybrid battery. In hybrid cars, the majority of the batteries are constructed from nickel-metal hydride instead.
3. Battery Capacity
Think first about a standard car battery. You pay more for larger car batteries than you would a smaller unit for a compact car. The same can be said about an EV battery.
If the electric car battery has a lot of cells, it’s going to have a larger capacity. This higher capacity design ensures a longer driving range, but it also means you will spend more for a replacement.
4. Warranty Protection
If your electric car battery fails prematurely, you can have the replacement covered by the warranty. Across the country, manufacturers are mandated by the federal government to supply a minimum of eight years and 100,000 miles of warranty protection.
If you buy an EV in California, the benefits are even greater. All EV and hybrid batteries must be covered for ten years and 150,000 miles.
Average EV Car Battery Replacement Cost by Model
To better understand the average replacement cost of electric car batteries, let’s take a quick look at the average replacement cost of some popular electric car models.
1. BMW i3
Originally, the BMW i3 battery had a capacity of 22 kWh. You can purchase a new battery for around $16,000, which works out to about $727 per kWh.
However, there are also options to find these batteries on eBay. We found one selling for $3,300, listed as like-new. In this case, you would be paying $150 per kWh.
2. Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt EV battery replacements were quoted at about $16,250, with an additional $800 or so for labor. Because these batteries are 60 kWh, you are paying around $285 per kWh.
However, there has been a massive Chevy Bolt EV battery recall. Because of a defect, consumers can get a new battery for free, making it much more affordable to get a replacement.
3. Chevy Volt
If you are looking for a 16 kWh battery, you may spend about $4,000, which works out to around $240 per kWh. On the other hand, a 17.1 kWh battery might cost $6,000, which is closer to $350 per kWh.
If you want to save some money, you might be able to find a used battery on eBay for around $2,500 instead. That would put the per kWh cost at about $147 instead.
4. Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Mustang Mach-E is a newer model, so battery replacement isn’t something most people are thinking about right now, which is good because it’s expensive. Even though these prices are high now, they will likely come down before any are actually needed.
In the meantime, Ford has a low-range battery (66 kWh) priced at $17,588 with a labor cost of $1,200. That equates to $285 per kWh. There’s also an 88 kWh battery listed for $25,319. Without labor, that means you would spend $288 per kWh.
5. Nissan Leaf
In 2020, the cost listed to replace a 24 kWh Leaf battery was $5,500. When this is broken down, you are spending about $229 per kWh.
If you are looking for a 40 kWh battery, you might spend a little more, around $6,000. Still, this breaks down to just $150 per kWh. Over the years, the price of these batteries has dropped dramatically. Just a decade ago, you could easily spend $10,000 or more.
6. Tesla Model 3
Once you get to the Tesla models, you are looking at a much higher battery replacement cost. Reports from 2020 reveal that a remanufactured battery for the Model 3 with a 75 kWh rating could cost $13,500 for the part and another $2,300 for the replacement. That’s $210 per kWh.
Again, these prices have come down significantly. Just a few years ago, they would have been even more, if you can believe it.
7. Tesla Model S
It’s not unusual to spend between $11,000 and $16,000 on a battery replacement for the Model S. With the 100 kWh battery, that cost can range anywhere from $110 to $160 per kWh.
However, a few years ago, owners were spending far more. In 2014, there were multiple reports of people spending $20,000 to $22,000 to have the batteries replaced.
How to Avoid EV Battery Replacement
Considering the overwhelming cost of EV battery replacement, it makes sense to take every step possible to avoid it in the first place. We have a few tips that will keep your battery in its best condition, thereby prolonging the need for a replacement.
- Avoid extremes. You don’t want the battery levels going too low or too high.
- Don’t rely on DC Fast Charging. It’s best to only use the fast charging stations when absolutely necessary.
- It’s best to charge the EV battery in smaller batches more frequently. You should avoid infrequently charging at larger capacities.
- Before you charge the EV battery, try to ensure it is at room temperature. If you can charge in your garage, that’s even better.
- Keep the battery cooler during the summer months. Park in a garage or in the shade.
- Avoid using more battery power than needed. The EV battery drains quickly when using air conditioning, heat and other accessories.
- Be mindful of how you drive. If you can accelerate slower and avoid excessive speeds, the battery will last longer.
- Swap out the tires for a more-efficient set. Make sure they are appropriate for the season and road conditions.
Aside from the tips we’ve given, the manufacturer probably offers even more advice. Check your owner’s manual and follow any recommendations given to make the battery last longer.
READ MORE: How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?
Should You Replace an EV Battery at Home?
If you are mechanically inclined and have changed a multitude of car batteries in the past, you may think this is a task you can tackle. However, without the right training and specialized equipment, it’s not advised to change an EV battery at home. You must understand how electric cars work and be able to diagnose the systems effectively.
It’s also more difficult to find the schematics you will need to ensure everything is connected properly. One small mistake can fry the electrical system and you don’t want to deal with that.
There’s also the aspect of physical danger. Because you are working with high voltage, it’s possible to get injured or even killed, which is why only trained professionals should replace EV batteries.
Considering how much money you will spend on a replacement EV battery, it doesn’t make sense to take risks with it. The labor for installation isn’t all that much more in the greater scheme of things, so leave this job to the experienced techs.
Is it worth it to replace the battery in an electric car?
Whether it is worth changing the battery in an electric car or not depends on how much your car is worth. The replacement cost for EV batteries can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000, so if your car isn’t worth that much money, it might not be worth it.
What happens if my electric car runs out of battery in the middle of nowhere?
If you are driving your electric car and it runs out of battery, it will stop completely, and you will have to call roadside assistance. Usually there is no other option than towing it to the nearest charging station. In some places, however, you can also find mobile charging stations.
How many batteries are in an electric car?
Electric cars usually have two different batteries. One for the 12 volt system and one large lithium battery for the high voltage system. However, a high-voltage lithium battery can consist of 2,000 plus individual lithium-ion cells
Replacing an electric car battery can cost you between $4,000 and $20,000, or even more depending on the car model. In the end, the cost of replacing an electric car battery can be very expensive and if you are not careful or prepared, it can cost you a lot of unexpected money.
Fortunately, many car manufacturers offer generous warranties for the EV battery and it will be replaced free of charge if it fails before the warranty period expires.
There are also various government incentives available to help with the cost of upgrading to an electric car. So if you’re thinking about making the switch to an electric vehicle, be sure to do your research and find out what benefits may be available to you.
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