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How Long Does An Electric Car Battery Last?

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Electric Vehicles (EVs) are becoming the preferred transport choice for many American families. These vehicles are cheap, reliable, efficient, and good for the environment, but have you ever wondered how many years do EV batteries last? The battery replacement is one of the most expensive parts in an EV, which is why you should be entirely aware of its lifespan and other important information.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about EV batteries and answer the question of how long should an electric car battery last. Here we will explain the lifespan of batteries in cycles, miles driven, and years. We will also explain how they degrade and give you important tips to optimize the battery life of your EV.

What Are Electric Car Batteries Made Of?

EV batteries are made out of Lithium-Ion just like the batteries on your phone, after all, this is the highest energy density electrolyte available in mass production. There are a few variations considered among the Lithium-Ion electrolytes, the most popular compositions are Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt-Oxide (NMC) and Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminum Oxide (NCA).

How Long Can An Electric Car Battery Last?

If you are purchasing a new EV, you should learn beforehand how long does the battery of an electric car last. This will help you estimate your expenses, consider the lifespan of the vehicle, and even prepare financially before the replacement of the EV battery.

There are two factors to consider, life cycles and mile range. An EV battery can last for 1,500 up to 2,000 cycles. For those asking how many miles does an electric car battery last during those cycles, this range can go from 100,000 miles up to more than 200,000 miles.

How Many Years Does The Battery Last?

Another question we often get is: how often do electric car batteries need replacing?
Considering the estimated 1,500 – 2,000 cycles or 100,000 – 200,000 miles range, an EV battery can last for 15 to 20 years before replacing.

How Do EV Batteries Degrade?

 

Figure 1: EV Battery Degradation Chart – Electrek

While many EV drivers wonder how long does an electric car battery charge last, few of them ask why? The main reason an EV battery needs replacement is that it has most likely degraded beyond 80% of its capacity.

According to researchers at Recurrent, EV batteries lose around 5% to 10% of their capacity after 50,000 miles or a little more. This means batteries degrade 5 – 10% after the first five years, Figure 1 shows a battery degradation rate (in km) for your better understanding.

What Happens To Old EV Batteries?

You already know how long does a battery last in an electric car, but what happens after its life has ended? The good news is that EV batteries have a second life and then they are recycled to be born again.

EV batteries hold around 80% of their capacity when they need to be replaced. After being dismounted from the EV they are salvaged and repurposed for stationary and less demanding applications. Some smart home battery manufacturers use these types of batteries for their storage systems. After their second life ends, EV batteries are taking to be recycled.

How to Maximize Electric Car Battery Life

Now you know practically everything about how long do batteries last in electric vehicles and what happens after they are replaced, but do you know how to increase the life of your battery? In this section we give you some important tips to achieve this:

Don’t Charge Your EV Every Night

Before charging an EV battery at night, you should check the State of Charge (SOC) and consider your driving needs for the next day. Charging an EV battery heats the whole thing and puts stress on it. Waiting for some time between charges if you drive short distances can be a great charging practice, we recommend waiting until a 20% SOC before recharging the battery.

Stay between 20 And 80 Percent Charge

Completely depleting or fully charging your EV battery is a bad charging practice. Some experts like battery researcher Qichao Hu consider that using a SOC between 10% – 90% is ideal, while researchers from Michigan stay more on the safe side and recommend a SOC range of 30% – 80%. You could adopt each of those, but we recommend using a SOC range between 20% – 80% per charge to be on the safe side.

Control the Optimal Battery State of Charge during Long Storage

When you use your EV daily you can go out one day on a full charge and use the remaining capacity for the rest of the week depending on your driving needs, but what happens if you do not use your EV every day? According to Tesla, EV batteries feature a self-discharge rate of 1% per day, but this is for new batteries, older batteries may self-discharge at a faster rate of up to 5%. Monitoring your EV battery SOC periodically (even if you do not use it) to account for self-discharging is a good practice.

Maintain Moderate Temperatures

When figuring out how long does an electric car last on one charge, you should consider storing, charging, and operating temperatures. Lithium-Ion EV batteries work perfectly in a temperature range of 77ºF up to 104ºF. In this temperature range, EVs charge as expected, feature low self-discharge rates and deliver the ideal driving range on one charge, but this is not the case for extreme temperatures.

EVs will self-discharge at low temperatures and take longer to charge. A considerable self-discharge begins at 65ºF, but the real battery drainage happens when batteries are exposed to 50ºF or lower temperatures. Temperatures should also be kept below 104ºF since higher temperatures can be harmful to the battery, operating at 122ºF or higher temperatures will most likely impact the lifespan of the battery.

Minimize Rapid Charging

For those who want to know how to extend the lifespan of the battery, rapid charging is something you ought to reduce as soon as possible. EV manufacturers like Kia and Tesla advise against this constant practice, charging an EV with DC Fast Chargers (DCFC) can reduce the overall battery capacity of the EV and accelerate its degradation.

Can I Replace My EV Battery?

Definitely, EV batteries can be replaced but they do not come cheap. The cost to replace the battery of an EV can go as high as $20,000. This is why we recommend planning for it and creating a budget considering the average lifespan of your EV. However, keep in mind that your battery will not probably need replacement until 20 years after you purchase the vehicle.

Nick Zamanov
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Nick Zamanov is a head of sales and business development at Cyber Switching. He is an expert in EV infrastructure space and he is an EV enthusiast since 2012, Since then Nick strongly believed that electric vehicles would eventually replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.

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