How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?
Car batteries can last much longer than your phone or laptop batteries, but how long?
While it’s true that electric cars lose battery capacity over time, continued advancements in technology mean that precise degradation is difficult to define as a whole. The main factor depends on the owner and how they treat the battery: how energy is added, how it is removed, and the number of charge cycles the battery goes through.
It is not uncommon to see Teslas or other electric cars with 100,000 miles on the clock and less than 10% battery degradation. Meet Wizzy, for example, a Nissan LEAF cab from England that traveled over 170,000 miles on its original battery before being sold to another lucky owner.
So there are a number of factors that help batteries to stay healthy.
The former might seem slightly counterintuitive, but lithium batteries don’t like to be fully charged. This is because heat is the enemy of battery systems and a lot of heat is generated by both rapid charging and by keeping the battery high voltage. While batteries like to be recycled and used, the general rule of thumb is not to depend too much on fast chargers, overcharge the battery or leave it completely dead.
The risk here is that dendrites can form, which are like weeds in the battery chemistry garden and can cause blackouts. Instead, owners are advised to always try to drive and charge their EVs in this golden mean between 20 and 80%.
This is because heat is the enemy of battery systems and a lot of heat is generated by both rapid charging and by keeping the battery high voltage.
A lot of heat is also produced if you like to show your friends how fast your electric car can accelerate from a standstill. When you select Ludicrous + mode on a Tesla, it actually alerts you that you will have an impact on battery life.
Fortunately, most electric cars come with sophisticated battery management systems that can regulate horsepower if you do too much drag racing, as well as create artificial buffers at the top and bottom of a battery’s capacity – to ensure that the battery cells do not work. no overcharging or over-discharging.
The battery management systems of high-performance electric vehicles like the Porsche Taycan, for example, can even work with satellite navigation, so that it knows how to pre-condition the battery when approaching a charging station.
Another factor to consider is ambient temperature, as extreme heat and cold temperatures can negatively impact a car’s battery life. This is where batteries with active thermal management degrade less than those that rely on air cooling, as they better maintain a stable temperature range for the battery.
Automakers are well aware that potential buyers are concerned about the longevity of electric car batteries, which is why these specific warranties often far exceed the warranty of a typical vehicle. There’s no better example than the new Lexus UX300e, which is the first vehicle to feature a 10-year, 1-million-kilometer battery warranty. If it isn’t trust in technology, we don’t know what it is.