6 July 2020

How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

One of the greatest fears in owning an electric car is how long do electric car batteries last? For many people, the thought of having a car that runs on electric batteries looks like having a phone. At first, the phone’s battery is impressive and works according to your desire. The charge lasts the whole day, and if you are not a phone person, you can even go for a day or two without charging it.

However, as time goes by, the battery starts dying down too early. You end up needing a power bank or buying a new battery, if not a new phone all together. The big question is, is this the same with electric car battery life?

The Public’s Opinion

In 2019, there was a thread on Reddit where a Tesla Model S user expressed his appreciation for the model’s battery life. He said that it had been seven years since he purchased the car and has only lost 2% of its capacity. The thread followed up with hundreds of comments with both similar comments and of those with contrary opinions. However, the majority showed to disagree with the idea that an electric car battery life will deteriorate by 50% in only five years of service.

At most, the battery’s capacity may deteriorate by 10%. The post also proved that long battery life is also dependent on how the user takes care of the cell. It means that your practice on charging and running your EV can highly contribute to how long the battery serves you.

More on Batteries

The work of a battery is not to generate energy but to store it. This is why a cell will start to die after a couple of miles, depending on its capacity. Modern batteries have more significant potential in energy storage compared to traditional lead-acid batteries or those used in petroleum-fueled vehicles.

Li-ion batteries, used in laptops and smartphones, pushed for more significant innovation around battery life. They are probably the main reason why EV car batteries have the hope of over seven years of proper functioning and the innovation around DSLRs and vape pens.

EV’s battery is a combination of hundreds or thousands of other small batteries. These batteries are often the cylindrical types with the appearance of AA cells but larger ones. Given that such batteries can power a two-ton vehicle for miles proves how the technology is powerful.

However, these batteries need daily recharging. It also means you cannot avoid the degradation problem entirely. With such degradations, batteries lose their ability to hold power as long as they used to. This is where the best battery life care practices come in handy.

Battery Electric Vehicles Vs. Hybrid Vehicles

If you are big on EVs, there is a high probability you have heard about or interacted with hybrid vehicles. To give a short description, hybrid vehicles are cars that combine both the traditional gasoline-powered engine and an electric motor, which uses a rechargeable battery. Some hybrid vehicles use both engines at the same time to increase its power while others use either at any particular time, then you can alternate depending on your needs.

On comparing a pure EV to a hybrid vehicle while primarily focusing on battery life, the best way to look at it is evaluating in line with your daily use. That being said, note that hybrids come in two types; the regular hybrids and the plug-in hybrids. The plug-in is more popular, and when someone mentions a hybrid vehicle, they are probably referring to it.

Given that hybrid vehicles have the option of either the gas engine or the electric battery, their batteries are not usually as strong as those of pure EVs. Also, a pure EV will go for more miles on battery life compared to a hybrid vehicle. The only advantage here is that when the hybrid runs out of battery power, one can always switch to the gasoline engine to push for a few extra miles.

At the end of the day, what you use your car for and how long you spend on the road will dictate if you’d prefer a hybrid to a pure EV.

Volvo V60 hybrid

Battery Buffers

Sometimes manufacturers try their best to help EV users properly manage the car’s battery. Battery buffers are one of such efforts. This is where a vehicle cannot completely use all the power in its cell. For example, when your car is giving you an almost zero warning, there will be a buffer moment where it goes off before the actual zero.

This could be so for full charging with some batteries as well.

Such decisions came about after the Tesla Roadster. This EV did not have the reserve capacity, and so its battery could charge to 100% and discharge to 0%. Although the battery still served for a good five years plus warranty, when it got to 0%, one needed another battery to power-start. Imagine what happened when you had no one around to jump-start your vehicle?

So How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

Eventually, the battery life of your EV will serve you as much as you take care of it. Many Tesla EV batteries have a warranty of eight years. When one is intentional on a lasting EV battery, getting to eight years will not be a hard task. Just keep the battery between 40% to 90% as often as you can, and you will be okay.