Tips and advice

How long do electric car batteries last?

An EV battery is a complex component that can be expensive to replace. With that in mind, here’s how long an electric car battery typically lasts

EV battery

The battery pack is a key component of an electric car and a very expensive one, so it’s understandable that prospective buyers may be curious as to how long an electric car’s battery may last. The cost of a battery replacement shouldn’t be a great cause for concern for most buyers, however, because most electric car batteries are designed to last for the serviceable life of the car. There are potential issues with a drop off in range in older cars and a battery may eventually need repairs but complete battery replacements are rare.   

Many variables affect the lifespan of an electric car battery.. The mileage it covers, the number of charges, the speed of charger used, the size of the battery and how the car is driven will all have an impact. For that reason it’s very difficult to put an exact figure on how long an electric car battery will last. The general consensus from experts and manufacturers is that you can easily expect to get over 100,000 miles from an EV battery but there are reports of vehicles going far beyond that.

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

The typical battery warranty offered by manufacturers is 8 years and 100,000 miles so it’s safe to say that modern electric cars are easily capable of that kind of battery longevity. Care for your battery well and you could get much more. This puts the lifespan of an electric car battery in a similar range to that of a petrol or diesel-powered car. It also means the vehicle’s manufacturer will cover the entire cost of a battery replacement if it fails, providing the car still meets the warranty criteria.

Most of these warranties transfer to new owners when the car is sold, so used electric cars that meet the warranty terms are often eligible for a free battery replacement if something goes wrong. It’s worth checking the specific details of the manufacturer's battery warranty before purchasing a new or used electric car to best protect yourself against any surprises further down the line. 

It’s also worth noting that most EV battery warranties don’t fully cover battery degradation, which is where a battery loses capacity as it ages – meaning driving range decreases. Typically, most car makers will only cover a degraded battery if it has lost more than 30% of its original capacity within the warranty period – anything below this is considered normal wear and tear. 

How much does an electric car battery replacement cost? 

If an electric vehicle's battery needs to be replaced, the car’s owner could be looking at a bill between £4,000 and £20,000, depending on the make and model of the car and the size of the battery. Considering the high cost of EV battery replacements, we advise checking whether an EV still falls under the manufacturer’s battery warranty before purchasing an electric car. 

It’s also worth considering that the price of electric car batteries has fallen significantly over the past decade. This does not necessarily mean EV battery prices will continue to fall, though continued research and development of battery technology could result in further reductions to the cost of EV battery packs in the future. 

How many times can an electric car battery be recharged? 

Electric car batteries naturally degrade over time, meaning the maximum available range of an EV will decline each time the battery depletes to 0% and is recharged back up to 100%. The result is a reduction in total battery capacity, meaning the range available in battery-powered cars falls over time with use. This effect occurs across all devices that use lithium-ion batteries, including smartphones, and unfortunately, EV owners can’t avoid it. 

Most manufacturers believe that an EV battery should still have around 70% of its original capacity by the end of the typical 8-year warranty. On average, an EV battery pack that is used for eight years would go through between 1,000-1,500 charge cycles, at which point the battery may have lost around 30% of its available range.

Manufacturers advise that an electric car’s battery life can be extended drastically by only charging it to a maximum of 80% capacity and not allowing it to fall below 20%. Many electric vehicles now include software that lets owners prevent the battery charging above 80% - even when the car is plugged in for long periods, such as overnight. Adhering to this charging strategy will help protect the cells in the battery from degradation, minimise the loss of available mileage in the battery and also speed up charging times. 

It’s worth noting that regular rapid charges will affect the condition of the battery more quickly than slower charging from a home wallbox or plug socket.

How long do electric car batteries last on a single charge?

Each electric car has a different top-end range that depends on various factors, including the size of the battery pack and the efficiency of the vehicle itself. Vehicles equipped with larger battery packs usually offer a greater range but typically cost more than entry-level models with smaller battery packs. An electric car with a smaller battery pack such as the electric Fiat 500 can typically reach around 100 miles, while high-end EVs such as the Mercedes EQS can reach around 400 miles on a single charge.

Electric cars typically offer lower ranges in colder conditions, because the battery isn’t operating at its optimum temperature.

What happens to electric car batteries at the end of their life? 

EV batteries are either repurposed or recycled at the end of their lives. Retired EV batteries can be reused for storing energy in places such as factories, shopping centres or even homes, helping reduce the pollution caused by disposing of electric car batteries at the end of their life.

If an EV’s battery is expended to the point where it can no longer be repurposed for energy storage, it can be dismantled and broken down into fine powders. The valuable raw minerals, such as lithium, can be extracted to create new products, including new car batteries. 

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