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Electric vehicles aren’t the future - they’re the present
Improvement in EV batteries are a big part of the reason why.
- EV batteries can already last hundreds of thousands of miles. Some EV batteries have lasted close to 400,000 miles - the same distance as 15 times around the Earth – and EVs are still relatively new, so we really don’t yet know how many more miles they will last.
- The range of EVs per charge continues to improve as well - many new EV batteries have a range of over 300 miles on a single charge.
The cost of EV batteries has also fallen tremendously - 97% over 30 years. While all indications are that it is very unlikely you’ll need to replace your EV battery even after 10-20 years of ownership, an EV’s battery is still its most expensive part. It’s important to learn how to properly take care of it.
In this article, we explore the importance of temperature control, how driving techniques affect battery life and a big advantage of EVs - regenerative braking
Electric car batteries have been surrounded by misconceptions and misplaced concerns.
We aim to explain how EV batteries work and dispel the myths in our EV Battery FAQ.
How Long Can Electric Car Batteries Last?
Because EVs are still relatively new, no one knows how long the newer batteries will actually last. Estimates are at least 200,000 miles, but there are reports of EVs already achieving more than 300,000 miles on the original battery.
They are generally under warranty for 8 years or 100,000 miles, but new EV batteries are lasting much longer. Tesla claims its EV batteries should last up to 500,000 miles.
Assuming a gas car would last for 200,000 miles, choosing an EV can be like getting two cars for the price of one!
Tesla is working on a 1 million mile battery and scientists recently proved EV batteries could eventually last 4 million miles. This makes EVs potentially much longer-lasting vehicles than cars with internal combustion engines.
Read on to ensure that your battery will last as long as possible.
How To Extend The Life Of Your EV Battery
The EV battery life of many EVs is already more than enough for most people and greater than the lifetime of many gasoline-powered cars.
Before worrying too much about how to extend your electric vehicle battery life, keep in mind that there are already automatic safeguards in place.
Newer EVs cannot overcharge, over-discharge, or overheat. These built-in protections alone have major impacts on extending EV battery life.
There are still a number of steps you can take though to help extend the life of your lithium-ion EV battery.
While you shouldn’t sweat all this too much, by implementing the strategies below, you can better ensure that your battery provides you with reliable performance for years to come.
Here are 6 tips for maximizing electric car battery life:
1. Avoiding Deep Discharging – Below 20%
Lithium-ion partial cycles are better than a deep discharge. Not letting the battery level get below 20% is better than a full discharge.
Charging your EV more often rather than just when needed can also keep the battery topped off for any unexpected trips.
2. When Possible, Only Charge Up to 80%
A slightly less than full charge is ideal for lithium-ion batteries. If your normal daily driving can be covered with this range, then 80% is a good target. For most people, the normal range of EVs is much more than enough for daily commutes.
One additional advantage – this leaves room for storing energy from regenerative braking.
You can generally lower the maximum charging limit for your EV with your EV’s on-board computer or your EV charger.
Check out this guide to extending EV range as needed.
Keep in mind that there are many free places to charge your EV.
3. Try to Keep Your Electric Car at the Right Temperature
Lithium batteries do best in the same temperature ranges as humans.
If it’s too hot or cold, most EVs will either cool or warm themselves. This is fine, but it does take a small amount of energy. Parking in the shade on a hot day and in a garage in cold weather will save some energy
4. Plan Ahead for Storage
Check your manufacturer’s recommendations for storage as they can vary.
In general though, charge your EV when it gets below a 20% charge, or every 3 months — whichever comes first.
If possible, check the level of charge on a monthly basis. With some EVs, an app will allow you to check the remaining charge, and instruct the car to add additional charge.
Many EVs on-board computers allow you to set the amount of charge you want. Some EVs even come with a “storage mode” which can take care of this for you.
5. Moderate Acceleration
Smooth acceleration when practical will help avoid discharging the battery unnecessarily.
6. Limit High-Speed Charging if Possible
Charging overnight at home rather than at a high-speed charger leads to less strain. It avoids pushing more current into the batteries at once.
Of course, if you need to use a high-speed charger because you don’t have access to home or workplace charging, go ahead and use it.
More Information On Extending Your EV Battery’s Lifespan
For more information, you can check with your manufacturer. Hyundai has a great video on extending battery life for the Kona Electric. Tesla also has an excellent video on extending battery life of a Tesla.
EV Battery Life FAQs
How is An EV Battery Replaced?
EV Battery Warranties
In the US, EV batteries are warrantied for 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is a federal law and can increase on a state-by-state basis. In California, an EV battery is warrantied for 10 years or 150,000 miles.
It’s best to check the details. Depending on the automaker, the warranty could only cover you in the case of a complete battery failure. With others, if the battery capacity percentage drops below a specified threshold, typically 60-70 percent, during the warranty period, repair or replacement could be covered.
How Often Do EV Batteries Fail
As technology improves, new EV batteries are lasting much longer. In a recent study, the rate of battery failure was only 1.5%.
If your battery does eventually degrade to the point that you need to replace it and the replacement is not covered by the vehicle’s battery warranty, you may need to buy a new battery.
How Much Do EV Batteries Cost?
EV battery replacement costs range from $5,000 to $20,000. This is based on the battery pack, size and manufacturer.
If the battery fails in the warranty period or is replaced due to a recall, you should get a replacement battery at no extra cost.
Because EVs are powered by the battery alone, they are far simpler and more efficient than gas-powered vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries have also decreased in cost by 97% over the last 30 years. While it’s highly unlikely you will need to replace the battery, the cost to do so could exceed the value of your car.
Can EV Batteries Be Recycled?
Yes! Once batteries have degraded to the point that they aren’t suitable for electric vehicles, they can be used for stationary electricity storage at homes, businesses or power generation facilities.
95% of the materials in the battery can be recycled thanks to current technology. Their valuable materials - including cobalt and lithium salts, stainless steel, copper, aluminum and more - can be separated out to be reused.
VW recently announced a pilot plant for battery recycling which will work towards a target of recycling 97% of battery components. Tesla, Ford, Volvo and Toyota are also committed to EV battery recycling. In the US, there is federal funding available for battery recycling companies and research.
EV Battery FAQs
Do EV Batteries Make EVs Worse for the Environment Than Gas Cars
Battery technology is advancing quickly - EV battery components may be very different in the near future. Concerns about lithium ion batteries may be short-lived.
While some express concern about the sustainability of lithium ion EV batteries, EVs are already cleaner than internal combustion engine vehicles over the lifecycle of the vehicle across the US. Also, about 1/3 of electric car drivers have rooftop solar, so their electricity is coming from sunshine – saving fuel costs as well as the environment.
Gasoline on the other hand emits 20 pounds of CO2 per gallon and can only be burned once.
The movement towards EVs shouldn’t slow down because of environmental concerns related to electric vehicle batteries.
Read more about the environment and EV batteries.
Are Electric Cars with their Batteries Safer Than Gas Cars?
Addressing EV Battery Safety Concerns
One advantage of EVs over ICE vehicles is that they are safer - and not just because you will be breathing in less air pollution.
EVs must pass not only EV-specific tests, but also the same rigorous tests as other vehicles.
EV Battery Safety vs Gasoline Vehicle Fires
When compared to gasoline and the internal combustion engine, lithium-ion batteries have a lower risk of fire and explosions.
According to this data, gas-powered cars are 100x more prone to catch fire than EVs.
More EV Safety Notes
- EV chargers are waterproof.
- Batteries do get warm, but EVs are designed to keep them cool.
- Most EVs have batteries that line the bottom of the vehicle (called the “skateboard chassis”). They have a low center of gravity. This makes them less likely to roll, and improves ride quality.
- There are special instructions for emergency services in case of an EV crash.
- Because EVs are quieter than gasoline vehicles, some manufacturers have started to install noise-making devices for EVs going at low speeds so pedestrians can hear them.
How To Maximize the Safety of Your EV battery
- Get your car’s electrical system checked out regularly
- Follow instructions for charging.
- Give your vehicle’s manual a read. You will spend many hours enjoying driving your EV -- why not get to know the ins and outs, especially as they relate to safety?
Who Makes Electric Car Batteries?
More than 70 percent of automotive battery sales are from 4 companies - CATL, LG Energy Solution, BYD, and Panasonic
CATL, based in China, is by far the leading brand in EV battery manufacturing with 34% of the market share. They work on batteries for BMW, Toyota, Honda, Tesla and others.
How Do You Charge An EV Battery?
Electric Car Battery Charging
Most EV drivers charge at home each night, and wake up every morning with a full charge.
People with relatively short commutes can charge by simply plugging into a normal household 110 volt outlet (“Level 1” charger) to get 40 to 60 miles of charge overnight. If you need more range or to charge your car faster, you’ll want to install a 240 volt outlet like the one an electric clothes dryer uses (“Level 2” charger) to get about 25 miles of charge per hour.
If you live in an apartment or don’t have off-street parking, there are many places you can charge for free. If you do plan to take longer trips, just a little planning will ensure you can find charging stations along the way.
Fast charging “level 3” stations (usually located near markets and restaurants) enable charging up to 80% full in about 30 minutes.
Download The Ultimate EV Home Charging Cheat Sheet
We put together this free cheat sheet to help people learn about EV charging and how to purchase the right home charger. Simply enter your email to access the cheat sheet as well as sign up for other EV news and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.
The Future of Electric Car Battery Technology
EV batteries have evolved rapidly.
- Innovations in the development of lithium-ion batteries have allowed vehicles to go hundreds of miles on a single charge. An experimental electric vehicle went for over 1,000 miles on one charge. Toyota is building an electric car that they expect will have a range of over 700 miles.
- Fast charging stations already enable charging up to 80% full in about 30 minutes, making EV road trips with fueling stops/meal breaks easy.
- The cost of batteries has fallen tremendously as well.
There is still a great deal of research and development going into improving batteries.
Here are a few examples of what’s in store for EV batteries:
- Faster battery chargers are being developed including the ability to charge an EV in 5 minutes thanks to NASA
- Solid-state technology is advancing - replacing the liquid form electrolyte with a solid, conductive material. This could revolutionize batteries.
- Beyond lithium improvement, companies are investing enormous resources in the development of new battery technologies, including:
It is likely that one or more of these technologies will arrive on the market this decade.
Conclusion: Embracing The EV Movement
You are now armed with more information about EV batteries and how to maximize EV battery life. Hundreds of hundreds of thousands of miles of battery life is more than enough for most people.
By 2040, at least two-thirds of passenger vehicle sales are expected to be electric. This is being accelerated by gasoline phaseout policies around the world. Concerns about EV battery life should not stop you from joining the electric vehicle movement.
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