How long do electric car batteries last?

8 minute read Published on Oct 25, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Electric car lithium battery pack and power connections

If you plan to buy an electric car, there are several things you need to know, like how electric charging stations work and what kind of electric car insurance to buy. It’s also crucial to understand how long electric car batteries last, as replacing an EV car battery typically comes at a much higher price than replacing a traditional car battery. Keep reading to learn more about electric vehicle batteries and how long you can expect yours to last.

How long you can expect your electric vehicle battery to last

Before we dive into how electric car batteries work and the different types out there, we first want to answer the question at hand: how long do electric car batteries last? To find the answer to this question, you will need to read through the manufacturer’s warranty for the specific EV you drive. A battery’s warranty provides insight into what the manufacturer believes the product’s maximum lifespan to be.

Generally speaking, most current EV batteries come with warranties of eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Let’s use Tesla as an example. The pioneering electric vehicle company offers an eight-year battery warranty on all models, in addition to a warranty of between 100,000 and 150,000 miles, depending on the model. For Tesla car insurance quotes, contact BrokerLink.

It’s worth noting that the temperature you drive your EV in can also impact its battery life. Experts estimate that electric car batteries driven in mild climates can last as long as 12 to 15 years, whereas those driven in extreme climates may only last between 8 and 12 years. Regardless, EV batteries tend to last a little longer than the manufacturer’s warranty.

Understanding EV batteries

Most EV batteries today are lithium-ion batteries, so this is the type of battery we’re going to focus on today. Although there are a few other types of electric car batteries out there, such as solid-state batteries, lithium-ion batteries are by far the most popular type at this point in time. There are countless benefits of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars.

For example, they self-discharge at a lower rate than other types of batteries, they do not need electrolyte maintenance or regular discharges, they offer more consistent voltage, even towards the end of their lives, and they pack a higher energy density than conventional batteries. All of this is what allows electric cars with lithium-ion batteries to function as effectively, if not more so, than a car with a gas engine.

The only disadvantages to lithium-ion batteries is that they are expensive to produce and production takes a toll on the environment since the mining of cobalt and nickel is required. Further, these batteries are at risk of overheating and catching fire, though the risk is low in fact, the likelihood of an EV battery catching on fire is far less than that of a vehicle with a combustion engine catching fire. Extreme temperatures, as well as fully charging and fully discharging lithium-ion batteries are known to affect their life expectancy. That said, all of these problems are being addressed by EV automakers far and wide, and significant strides have been made.

It is worth noting that just as Canada has strict safety standards for all passenger vehicles, including electric vehicles, the country has equally strict standards for battery packs. For example, all EV batteries must be encased in a sealed shell and be able to handle a wide range of conditions, such as extreme temperatures, fires, water, vibrations, overheating, collisions, and short-circuiting. All electric vehicles must also have the ability to deactivate their electrical systems should a collision or short circuit occur.

How much does it cost to replace an EV battery?

EV batteries are expensive - there’s no way around it. That’s why it’s so important to not only have an idea of how long it will be before your electric car battery needs to be replaced but also what the terms and conditions of your EV battery warranty are. If your EV battery is no longer under warranty, you can expect a replacement battery to cost anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000.

Electric vehicle battery warranties

As mentioned above, all electric car batteries come with a manufacturer’s warranty. These are usually limited warranties, and while each has its own unique terms and conditions, the average warranty for lithium-ion EV batteries is eight years and 100,000 miles. It’s also worth noting that most electric vehicle batteries warranties do not solely cover the breakdown of the battery park. Rather, they may also offer a guarantee against major degradation. As you may already know, when you charge a lithium-ion EV battery, or any lithium-ion battery for that matter, its capacity slowly starts to go down. As years go by, the habit of fully charging and discharging the lithium-ion EV battery will cause its maximum charge capacity to be severely diminished. In turn, this takes a toll on the driving range of the EV.

As such, if you believe that your electric car’s range has been significantly reduced in a short period of time, your warranty may cover you for a battery replacement. Many warranties even state what the normal charge capacity should remain at. For example, Tesla has stated that the Model 3 should retain 70% of its charge capacity while the battery is under warranty. If the Model 3’s charge capacity falls below this threshold while the car is still under warranty, the owner of the car can request a replacement. South Korean automaker Hyundai offers a similar EV battery warranty for its Ioniq 5 model.

The battery warranty for the Ioniq 5 is ten years or 100,000 miles, and it covers both a dead battery and battery degradation. Similar to Tesla, Hyundai states that the Ioniq 5's battery should not deplete by more than 30% during the warranty period.

Given how expensive it can be to replace an electric car battery out of pocket, you may wish to purchase an EV with an extra-long battery warranty. As mentioned above, most electric cars sold in Canada come with battery warranties of eight years or 100,000 miles. That said, certain manufacturers do offer a lifespan above this. For example, certain Tesla models come with battery warranties of 150,000 miles, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s battery warranty, as mentioned above, extends to ten years.

Generally speaking, the more luxurious the EV you are buying, the longer and more comprehensive the battery warranty will be. Some automakers also give customers the option of purchasing an extended warranty that will increase the original warranty by four years or 50,000 miles.

How charging an EV battery impacts its lifespan

The truth is that charging an EV battery will affect its lifespan, but charging your electric car’s battery is a necessity, so there’s simply no way around it. That said, there are ways that you can minimize the degree to which your EV’s battery life expectancy is impacted.

For example, completely draining your EV battery and then fully charging it may take a larger toll than if you charge it before it is fully discharged. For most people, this is a common habit anyway, as just as someone driving a traditional car wouldn’t wait to fill up on gas until there is a single drop of gasoline left in the tank, someone driving an EV car isn’t likely to wait until the battery is at 1% before charging.

Experts recommend only charging your EV battery pack to 85% or 90% of its capacity for daily use. Further, faster charges are also known to degrade lithium-ion electric car batteries at a quicker rate than slower chargers. Typically at-home electric vehicle stations will charge an EV slower than others. For more tips on preparing your home for electric car check out BrokerLink’s website. Thus, experts recommend only using the convenient yet expensive fast chargers that you can find outside the home on an as-needed basis. Your battery can certainly handle the fast chargers from time to time, but regular use can lead to a severely reduced battery life.

How to know when to replace your electric vehicle battery

Are you concerned that your electric vehicle battery is nearing the end of its life? There are a couple of ways that you can tell when it’s time to replace your EV battery. The first, and most obvious sign is that the driving range is severely diminished. Most fully charged electric cars have a range of between 250 and 350 miles. However, when the electric car battery’s capacity has been depleted, the driving range of the EV will likely be less than 80% of its original range. At this stage, experts recommend taking your vehicle to an auto body shop to have it examined. If the car is still under warranty, you should also contact the dealership or automakers, as you could get a battery replacement for free. Please note that the weather conditions you’re driving in have the ability to affect the battery range temporarily. For example, if you’re driving on an extremely cold day in January or during a heat wave in August, it’s normal to experience a reduced range. However, if you are driving in mild weather, it could be a sign that your EV battery is no longer functioning as it should.

What to do if your electric car battery dies

If your electric car battery dies while on the road and you are unable to charge it, the first thing you should do is call a tow truck to tow your car to the nearest charging station. Please note that if roadside assistance is one of the types of auto insurance included with your policy, then this cost may be covered. The good news is that since there are an increasing number of public electric charging stations, you may only have to be towed a short distance rather than towing all the way home.

If your battery died, not because you were unable to charge it in time, but due to an incident, such as a car accident, you may still need to call a tow, but you will also need to contact your insurance provider. Your insurance provider can let you know how to file a car insurance claim, as well as explain how accidents affect car insurance rates.

Reach out to BrokerLink to find out more about electric car batteries and electric car insurance

If you want to learn more about electric car batteries or how electric car insurance works, don’t hesitate to reach out to BrokerLink. A BrokerLink insurance advisor can explain all there is to know about how long electric vehicle batteries last and answer your questions about EV battery warranties and EV insurance. We can even offer tips on how to find the best possible electric vehicle insurance policy for your car and how you can save money on it. For example, did you know that many insurance companies in Canada offer car insurance discounts to drivers of electric cars? It’s true! You can also save money by purchasing multiple auto insurance policies at once.

At the end of the day, the BrokerLink team is pleased to help you with every aspect of the electric vehicle insurance product, whether you want to know what documents you need for car insurance or want to know what mandatory coverage looks like in Ontario: it includes uninsured automobile insurance. Get started today by requesting a free electric car insurance quote.

Get an auto insurance quote [phone]