There is lots of information about electric vehicle’s (EV) range and charge times but less is known about the longevity of an EV’s battery life. After years of charging your mobile phone, tablet, and other electric devices you may have noticed a lack of efficiency and a need to charge more often. However, can the same be said for EV batteries?
Electric vehicle batteries are generally simpler than internal combustion engines. With fewer moving parts and single speed gearboxes there are less components that typically wear and need to be replaced or repaired. Over time is it likely that a cars battery life will lose the ability to fully charge, however this will not happen all at once. Battery performance may degrade overtime but the cells themselves should still have 70% health, even after 200,000 miles. Several Tesla Model S taxis have done over 300,000 miles in 3 years (LINK), whilst still retaining 82% battery health.
Most cars in the UK are sold with a warranty. There is often a separate, extended warranty specifically for the battery. Most manufacturers cover battery cells for a minimum 8 years and 100,000 miles. Hyundai and Tesla go above this and cover up to 125,000 and 150,000 depending on models. It is always best to check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and ensure exactly what is covered.
How to prolong EV battery life
After the anxiety of running out of charge, the longevity of the battery is also a top concern. There are ways however the prolong battery life and ensure you get maximum efficiency from your EV for longer.
Keep it cool. Although the Thermal Management System keeps batteries cool, it s best to find shade on particularly sunny days and even park in a garage if you have one. Don’t overcharge it. Keeping your battery between 80% and 20% capacity keeps the batteries temperature from fluctuating too much. Depending on charger manufacturer you can set a schedule which allows you to set a limit meaning you do not need to sit and watch it charge. Don’t let it go flat. We’ve all gambled with the fuel needle to see how low we can get the miles before we need to go to fill it up. This is not best practice with a petrol or diesel car, but even less so with an EV. It is beset to ensure your battery do not dip below 20% charge. Limit the use of fast chargers. Fast chargers generate more heat and over time can cause damage to the battery packs. Obviously, in some cases rapid chargers are perfect for a mid-journey top up, however, try to avoid using fast chargers all the time. Especially when it is cold outside. Don’t charge immediately after arriving. After a ‘spirited’ drive, it is best to allow the battery to cool down before plugging in to charge.
How much does it cost to replace a battery?
Replacing a battery varies by manufacturer. Although prices are in the region of £5,000 for a new Nissan Leaf battery. This is un-usual though as unless the car has been mistreated and under 8 years old it should be covered under warranty. Just because a battery has degraded doesn’t mean a whole new battery. Certain cells can be tested and replaced for around £500. Considerably cheaper than a whole new battery. It is always best to check with the manufacturer or independent service centre before deciding you need a whole new battery.
EV’s are still new technology, and they are constantly developing newer versions with longer range and more powerful batteries. Making sure we know how to look after them properly will reduce the number of repairs needed and ultimately the more sustainable and efficient EV’s will be.