What is the lifespan of an electric car?

Many aspects of EV ownership have already been highly discussed, but it is hard to predict how long an electric car can last. All we can do is focus on the specific components which are essential for an EV, and how well can they stand the test of time.

Hardly any other EV component is as important as the battery because a battery is the primary energy source for an EV, and it also costs a lot of money to replace. However, most online outlets suggest that an EV battery should last anywhere between 100k-150k miles in most cases.

For a spot of context, most EV manufacturers offer an 8-10 year or 100k mile warranty package which perfectly coincides with the aforementioned estimates. Tesla offers between 50k-150k miles, but in order to use that warranty package, your battery health percentage needs to be above a certain threshold.

To conclude, in order to make an assumption about the longevity of electric vehicles, we need to focus on the battery. The battery is the crucial component of an EV, and without it, an EV is useless. However, if we do manage to replace the battery, the lifespan of an EV is theoretically unlimited if maintained correctly.

How do EV batteries work?

To fully understand how batteries behave over 5-10 years, we first need to understand the basics about how do they operate. First of all, most EVs use Lithium-Ion batteries which are far superior when compared to older nickel-cadmium and lead-acid batteries.

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Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries are superior because they are more power-dense, which means that you can pack a lot of energy in a relatively small package. At the most basic level, your smartphone and your Tesla use the same battery technology at different stages of development and sophistication.

EV batteries are measured with kilowatt-hours or kWh, and most car batteries these days offer between 20-ish kWh up to 120 kWh. For a spot of context, a Tesla Model 3 uses 24kWh per 100 miles, and it offers  263 miles of estimated range.

If we consider that an average EV battery pack these days is capable of 1500-2000 charging cycles, we can potentially determine how long will a specific car battery last. After the battery reaches a certain amount of charge cycles, the overall battery capacity starts to drop.

How can we preserve the overall battery health percentage?

Even though it may seem to some that EVs are not made to last a long time, there are a couple of things you can do in order to further increase the lifespan of an EV battery. First of all, be sure to never completely discharge your EV battery as this usually increases the amount of battery wear.

As such, some experts suggest that having a constant 45%+ battery capacity is best to maximize the battery life expectance long-term. Besides not discharging your battery, you also should not overcharge your battery, this means that you should never reach 100% battery capacity.

You should also avoid using Level 3 fast-charging when there is no need for a quick top-up. Even though Level 3 fast-charging does not harm the battery too much, such harmful effects can add up through 10 years of constant use. Also, whenever you long store your EV, be sure to constantly monitor the level of charge.

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Extreme weather conditions can also do significant harm to your EV battery. Although the effects of such extreme environments are notoriously difficult to keep track of, it is most certainly causing harm to your battery. Be that as it may, you should store your EV in a parking garage to avoid the bulk of such effects.

Electric car battery replacement – Does it make any sense?

After about 10-15 years of use, an EV battery is not as good as it once was. As such, the question of potential battery replacement becomes relevant, and so do many other questions surround this topic. First of all, even though an EV battery becomes weaker, that does not mean that it needs replacing.

However, if you do want the best overall range, a new battery is a must. A new battery replacement costs around $5000 on average, but this price is highly associated with the capacity of the battery and the general laws of supply and demand.

That being said, if we consider that an EV battery should last 100k-150k miles, and after we replace it, we are looking at additional 100k-150k miles, we are safe to conclude that no one is going to replace an EV battery more than once, but even if that does happen, it is likely going to cost a lot less.

FAQ Section

What is the lifespan of a combustion engine car?

It is almost impossible to say how long could a car potentially last because there are numerous reasons why a car might die prematurely. This means that if you maintain your car correctly according to recommendations, and if you don’t crash it, you are most likely going to see a few hundred thousand miles on the odometer.

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Although it is reasonable to think that some cars could potentially reach a million miles, others are not made well enough to last only a tiny percentage of that. Be that as it may, it’s extremely difficult to know which one is which.

Do EV batteries go to heaven?

Sadly no, they are usually dismantled into essential components such as copper and aluminum and are later passed onto recycling companies.

A great drawback of a massive EV revolution is the disposal of electric car batteries because several instances suggest that many depleted batteries have found their way into our environment. Such improper disposal can be detrimental to our environment, and as such, we should regulate battery disposal more thoroughly.

How often do Tesla batteries need replacement?

Tesla is a brand proud to say that its batteries should last anywhere between 300k and 500k miles. In theory, this means that you shouldn’t even think about replacing the battery, but as previously stated, it is highly dependent on how you use and treat your battery.

A rumor has it that Tesla is currently developing a battery that could potentially last a million miles. I guess we will have to wait and find out.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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