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Electric Car Charging Electric Vehicle Maintenance Researching Electric Cars

Electric Car Battery Lifespan: Everything You Need to Know

Electric car batteries can cost thousands of dollars… so how long will they last?

The answer may surprise you, and it could be even more important to know when shopping for used electric vehicles.

What Causes Batteries to Degrade Over Time?

Battery health and battery range are often used to measure the effectiveness of electric car batteries and how they perform. 

Battery range is generally not guaranteed by the manufacturer and can vary drastically based on battery health, environment, driving habits, etc.

On the other hand, battery health or capacity is generally how manufacturers determine if the battery is degrading. 

Charge cycles, environment, and time all contribute to battery degradation over time.

Charge Cycles

The more you charge and discharge the battery, the more it will degrade over time. 

Fast charging can cause even more stress on the battery. This is why manufacturers recommend against unnecessary rapid charging over time. 

Also, letting the battery drop to 0% (or close) and then charging all the way up to 100% will put extra strain on the battery.

Temperature and Environment

Charging at extreme cold or hot temperatures can lead to excessive degradation on electric car batteries over time, and in some cases can void your battery warranty. 

Tesla recommends avoiding temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius or below -30 degrees Celsius for more than 24 hours at a time.  It is even more important to avoid charging the battery for long durations in extremely warm temperatures, if possible.   

Batteries Degrade Over Time

Calendar aging is a common degradation process for Li-ion batteries.  While various types of batteries age over time at different rates, all batteries will degrade over time. 

Environmental conditions like humidity or temperature impact how rapidly the battery health drops over time.  Li-ion batteries generally lose most life early on, and then continue to lose capacity gradually going forward. 

How Long does an Electric Car Battery Last?

Now, knowing that all electric car batteries degrade over time, what do we know about how long EV car batteries last? The real world data we have on EVs is still relatively new, but we know they can last a very long time. 

There are many accounts of people reporting electric vehicles with over 100,000 miles with less than 10% degradation. 

The chart below shows how a Tesla Model S/X battery degrades based on distance driven.

electric_car_battery_lifespan_by_distance_driven

On average, many EVs today can go over 120,000 miles with a 10% or less reduction in battery health.  Some drivers have reported only 2% loss in battery capacity after 50,000 miles driven.

Electric Driver estimates the average person drives 13,476 miles per year.  So, the average person may drive for almost 9 years to accumulate 120,000 miles and see that 10% degradation. 

There are some reported instances of EVs with over 200,000 miles and only seeing a slight battery degradation of around 6%.

Get More Life out of Your EV Battery

Avoid charging or storing in extreme heatExtreme heat takes its toll on lithium-ion batteries and is why many electric cars are equipped with liquid-cooled battery packs. If possible, store your vehicle in a location that does not exceed 70 degrees F, especially while charging. 

Limit fast or rapid charging Excessive use of level 3 charging can cause additional degradation due to how it heats up the battery when charging. But, the impacts on the battery from fast charging is difficult to measure, and varies by the amount of charge cycles.

Avoid depleting battery completely and charging to 100% – Never allow the battery to fully discharge. Regularly depleting most of a battery’s charge will degrade the battery more over time.  Overcharging, or charging to 100% capacity consistently also leads to faster degradation.

Battery Technology is ImprovingMost EVs have some form of protection to help you maintain your battery and avoid overstressing the battery.  For example, not allowing the battery to reach 100% charge, and warnings to prevent battery from dropping to 0%.

Electric Car Battery Warranties

To provide assurance and peace of mind for buyers, the federal government mandates that manufacturers offer a minimum of an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on batteries. Tesla offers an 8 years/150,000-mile warranty on the Model S and Model X. Hyundai offers lifetime coverage.

Many of these warranties only guarantee a battery capacity retention of 70%, so will generally only apply to the rare defects or uncharacteristic degradation.

When will I have to replace the battery in my EV?

You can expect your electric car’s battery to last well over 100,000 miles, if you properly care for your battery, until range might start to become a problem for you. 

Many factors will determine how quickly the battery degrades, but many drivers have gotten several years out of their electric vehicles without paying a cent for gas. 

The odds of your battery failing are extremely rare.  Only about 1% of EV Lithium-ion batteries experience premature failures

How Much Do Electric Car Batteries Cost?

The battery in an electric car is likely the most expensive component of the vehicle.  The cost to replace an EV battery will generally range between $7,000 and $20,000 but is highly dependent on the vehicle. 

The good news is that Li-ion batteries are becoming cheaper every year.  Batteries are priced based on $/kWh, and since 2010, we’ve seen about a 90% drop in cost, and that is expected to continue with an expected cost of $70 kWh by 2050.

electric car batteries cost
Li-ion battery costs have decreased over time

The future is bright for electric car batteries.  Battery technology and protection will only continue to improve, and range and capacity continues to increase. As the affordability of li-ion batteries continues to improve, look for battery ranges to increase as well. Tesla is working on the 1-million-mile battery and  Lucid has announced their 500-mile battery.

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Electric Vehicle Maintenance

Electric Car Maintenance Saves Time

 

In my last post, I looked into how electric cars save you 13 hours a year by charging at home.  In this blog post, I will explore how electric car maintenance saves time. Speaking from personal experience, we have had no required maintenance in the three years of owning two electric cars.  Electric cars have fewer moving parts, no need for oil changes, and longer cycles between brake changes. Dealers have cited a 35% to 50% decline in service and maintenance.  

Gas-Powered Cars Require Frequent Maintenance 

When I owned my internal combustion car between oil changes,  regular maintenance, and tire care, I got my car services three times per year. Being that most of us work throughout the week, vehicle maintenance occurs during the weekend. Driving to your local service center, dropping your vehicle off, and completing paperwork typically takes about 20 minutes on average.  Services can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to complete. I will assume that for the sake of simplicity, most people will wait for about an hour for the average service. Once the service is complete, it takes you to check out and pay for your service and drive back home. On average, we will say it takes another 20 minutes. Therefore the time you spend to get your vehicle serviced takes about one hour and forty minutes.

That means the three services eat up five hours per year as well a fair amount of expense. So between maintenance and skipping the gas station saves electric car owners an average of 18 hours per year which is quite liberating.

 

Since we have owned our two electric cars for over three years, we have only had two services. Of the two services, only one was required, which was replacing a blown-out tire. In that case, Tesla came to our vehicle can change out our tires. The other service was optional. My wife had to unearth any issues we could fix while still under warranty. We had two more instances outside of maintenance when we found some fit and finish issues with our Teslas. In both cases, Tesla sent a mobile technician to our home to get the issues fixed, which took no time on our part.

 

Over the Air Updates Save Time

One of the other cool time-saving features that have applied a lot of fixes has been over-the-air updates. Just like your smartphone, most electric cars receive software updates over the air. Those software fixes can improve your vehicle range, acceleration, and a whole host of improvements that the carmaker and remotely fix through software. 

 

Beyond less frequent maintenance and charging your electric car at home, there are other ways electric cars save you time and bring convenience to your life. To learn more about what maintenance costs look like and the right electric car based on your needs, visit Electric Driver.

 

 

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Electric Vehicle Maintenance Electric Vehicle Selection Researching Electric Cars

Using Needs-Based Search to Find the Right Electric Car

Over 61% of car shoppers do not have a specific car in mind when buying a new vehicle. Instead, shoppers are looking to find a vehicle that will best meet their needs within their price range. Car sites provide search methods that cater to the shopper that knows what vehicle they want. Electric Driver created a needs-based search to help shoppers find the right electric car for shoppers that do not have a specific vehicle in mind.

 

What is Needs-Based-Search

Whenever you buy a product or service, you are looking to address a need. For example, when my wife and I had our son, we outgrew our Camry; we needed a safer vehicle with decent mileage that could seat seven people. We ended up buying a new 2011 Highlander, which we kept till we bought our electric car. Whenever you shop for an electric vehicle, you probably have s set of needs you are looking to address. Needs-based search is designed to help you find electric cars that most closely meet your needs within your price range. We have defined needs into the following:

  • Price Range:  Your price range will help Electric Driver filter out vehicles to only show you vehicles that meet all your criteria. If Electric Driver cannot address all your criteria, we will show electric cars that most closely meet your needs.
  • Seating: The following criteria: Electric Driver will ask you how many people you need to seat at the minimum.
  • Battery Range: The minimum distance you will want to travel on a single charge is another crucial factor. Typically you should think of many miles you need to cover your daily driving. Also, if you live in an extremely hot or code environment, I recommend you factor in an extra 20% range. 
  • Location: Electric Driver will ask for your location to show you how many electric car chargers are available near where you live. It would be best to be confident you have a charger where you travel if you need to charge.
  • What Matters Most to You: What is important to you is what you will you to evaluate each electric car you see. We have nine criteria you can use to find vehicles best meet your needs. Some of the criteria we came up with to define needs-based search are listed below.

 

Electric Driver needs-based search matches you with the top three vehicles that fit your needs.

 

Needs-Based Search Criteria

    • Safety: If you are looking for a safe vehicle, selecting safety will help identify secure options. Electric Driver will show you the safest cars that meet your criteria. What Electric Driver uses to filter out the safest vehicles is how well each car fared in crash tests and safety features that help reduce the severity of an accident.
    • Performance: If you are looking for a fast electric car, you will select performance. The performance we filter vehicles based on their top speed, acceleration, horsepower, and the drive type (Think two-wheel or all-wheel drive).
    • Cost to Drive: For those of you who want a vehicle with a low operating cost, you would select cost to drive: What cost to drive will show you cars that will have lower electricity bills, maintenance, and insurance costs. The idea is to lower your monthly cost of owning an electric vehicle.
    • Autopilot capable: Choosing autopilot will show you cars that have the self-driving option. Electric Driver will show you how the autopilot systems will differ and how much the autopilot systems will cost.
    • Infotainment: For those interested in navigation, streaming capabilities, and entertainment within your vehicle, infotainment capture these needs.
    • Cargo Capacity: Selecting cargo capacity will show you the cars with the largest storage space within your budget and other criteria.
    • Reliability:  Selecting reliability, Electric Driver will show you electric cars with the best warranty and the least reported issues.Complaints and recall information to help you form your opinion on the most reliable electric car.
    • Charging Time: If you want to spend the least amount of time waiting while charging, Electric Driver can show you electric cars that quickly recharge based on your budget and criteria.

 

Ranking Your Needs 

Speaking of what matters to you, not all needs are equal. Electric Driver allows you to choose what need is most important to least order. All you need do is decide what is most important to you first, the next most important need, and so on. Once you are ready to proceed, Electric Driver does the heavy lifting. Electric Driver searches through all available vehicles models to show you what electric cars best fit your needs. Visit Electric Driver to find the right electric car using a needs-based search or check out our guide.