How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

Wondering how long your electric car's battery will last? Find out everything you need to know about electric car batteries in this article.

Electric Car Battery

Whether you’ve been deciding whether to get an electric car or you currently own one, there are questions you are going to have. One of the most asked is – how long do electric car batteries last?

In this article, we discuss everything you want to know about the EV battery. We look at how long it lasts, the typical battery warranty and highlight some ways you can protect the life of the EV battery. 

How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

The majority of electric car manufacturers agree that the battery should last 200,000 miles or more. By normal driving standards, this could be 10 to 15 years on average. However, Tesla is working on creating a million-mile battery, which would dramatically improve the lifespan. 

Still, it’s impossible to tell you precisely how long the battery will last in the long run. There are many factors that affect its life, beyond what company made it and what car it is in. 

When you compare this lifespan to the typical internal combustion engine battery, you see a big difference. Most traditional vehicles contain a battery that will only last around five years. Plus, these batteries aren’t needed for as much as they are in the EV. Electric cars need fewer battery replacements and less maintenance in general than the comparable gas- or diesel-powered cars, which further makes them appealing to today’s consumers. 

RELATED: How Long Does a Tesla Battery Last?

How Long is the Electric Car Battery Warranty?

No one wants to deal with replacing an electric car battery, which is why it’s important to find out how long the automaker’s warranty is. The federal government mandates that all manufacturers provide a minimum of eight years and 100,000-mile battery warranty. However, California requires a 10-year/150,000-mile battery warranty.

As years go on, technology will only continue to get better. Companies will be able to create not only longer-lasting batteries but also ones that provide a longer driving range. 

Why Do EV Batteries Degrade?

There are many reasons that EV batteries will degrade. One of the most important factors includes the temperatures the batteries are used in and stored at. If you are using the batteries in a warmer area, the life might not last as long. Heat is rough on the batteries, but so is extreme cold. For the best lifespan, you want to use the batteries in a temperate climate. 

Additionally, the charging cycles affect the potential of the battery. Charging cycles are defined as the discharging and charging that occurs. One would think that not using the battery would make it last longer, but that’s not necessarily the case either. Even without using the battery, it’s going to continue degrading. 

RELATED: The Hidden Costs of Owning an Electric Car

How to Maintain an EV Battery for Longer Life

1. Follow Automaker Guidelines

As with any car, you always want to follow all of the guidelines set out by the manufacturer. This tip couldn’t be truer than with an electric car. In the owner’s manual, you can find the best guidelines to create an optimal performance of the battery. 

With each manufacturer recommending something different, it’s important to follow these guidelines more than any other. Each company uses different battery technology, so the automaker knows what’s best. 

2. Watch Temperatures

EV batteries don’t do well with extreme temperatures. In general, a liquid-cooled battery has better retention because they are able to keep lower temperatures. However, you must still think about how you are operating and storing the batteries.

If you can drive and park in moderate temperatures, you should see the longest life. Even if you can’t, there are things you can do to protect the batteries. Park in a shaded area to keep the temperatures down and keep your vehicle in a garage to ensure a better-controlled climate. 

3. Avoid Rapid Charging

With rapid chargers available everywhere, consumers flock to this technology to stay on the road. With that said, rapid charging isn’t needed all of the time. It’s okay to use direct current rapid charging occasionally, such as when you are on a road trip. 

Still, you want to minimize how often you are using this technology. Charging it slower is going to maintain battery life better. There are some chargers that offer you different rates for better customization. For example, EV Connect lets you choose the solution that fits your needs the best. 

4. Don’t Overcharge

You don’t want to leave your EV plugged in longer than it needs to be. What you may not know is that you can easily overcharge the EV batteries, leading to a shortened lifespan. Overcharging causes bad effects on the negative battery electrode.

When you overcharge the EV battery, dendrite starts to form on the anode. This formation can lead to a sudden voltage alteration, leading to a rise in the internal battery resistance. When you overcharge the battery, you will also see an increase in the internal temperature, leading to the possibility of a battery fire or thermal runaway. 

What Happens to Old EV Batteries?

Once an EV battery reaches the end of its life, you want to know what’s going to happen to it. Manufacturers continue to work on ways that best repurpose or recycle the dead batteries. If the battery has died completely, it has to be separated from the metals inside. These metals will be reused and the rest will be disposed of. However, only about half of those materials are recyclable right now. We expect this to change over the next few years.

If the batteries still have some capacity, there are other ways to use them. The batteries can be moved to the home as a backup because they work great with solar panels to supply some electricity. 

Electric Car Battery Replacement Cost

For the most part, you won’t need to pay for the electric car battery replacement if it fails prematurely. If there’s a manufacturer defect, the replacement of the EV batteries should be covered by the extensive warranty that manufacturers offer. You should know what your car battery warranty is and don’t forget to transfer it, when applicable if you purchase a used EV.

The cost of the EV battery replacement depends on multiple factors. If the batteries are low-capacity, they aren’t going to cost as much as a Tesla battery. On top of that, you must consider the money that’s spent on the labor to replace the batteries. Only qualified technicians should be working on your EV because the system is dangerous to mess with. This isn’t the same thing as replacing your gas-powered car battery. You should never attempt to do it yourself at home.

With that said, you might spend between $5,000 and $20,000 to get new batteries installed. The good news is that prices have dropped significantly over the past year when you consider how much the capability has risen. With this in mind, we should continue to see the same trend moving forward. You may spend just as much for batteries in a few years, but they should have a longer lifespan and better driving range attached to them, ensuring a much better value.

READ MORE: How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

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Magnus Sellén
Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of Mechanicbase. He has been working as a car mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced car diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.