Whatever some people think, electric cars are, by 2022, a fairly mature alternative to thermal cars. In fact, there are many models with a range of between 350 and 650 km (sometimes even more), the cargo network is beginning to establish a fine enough mesh in Europe to be able to travel long distances without fear of staying without fuel, and with fast charging, “filling” with electricity often takes no more than 20 minutes (at least for an 80% charge).
Another question still blocks consumers accustomed to the batteries of smartphones and computers that are losing capacity over time: what is the lifespan of electric car batteries from Tesla, Renault, Volkswagen and other brands? Are we at risk of having to change it someday, and if so, is the game worth it? In fact, the vast majority of electric cars sold in 2022 carry lithium-ion batteries, the same technology found in other devices such as smartphones. Therefore, the question may seem legitimate.
Electric car batteries last between 10 and 20 years (and there is a manufacturer’s warranty)
However, an article by our Review Geek colleagues offers some welcome clarification on the issue. We avoid holding the suspension longer: whatever the make or model, the battery of electric cars lasts between 10 and 20 years, longer than the average retention time of a thermal vehicle. Which means you’ll never have to worry about buying a new car. Electric car batteries are built to higher standards than batteries for smartphones and other devices.
The degradation of the maximum load is therefore much slower, although it does end up decreasing over time. However, there are several things to know. First of all, many manufacturers guarantee the battery pack for several years / for a certain number of miles. At Tesla, for example, the battery of a Model 3 Long Autonomy is guaranteed for 8 years or 192,000 km “With a minimum retention of 70% of capacity” during the warranty period. Note in passing that the degradation of this capacity is not linear. And that it is possible, as we shall see, to prolong it further.
When buying an electric car, in fact, you can expect the maximum capacity to drop quite quickly between 10% and 20% during the first few years; however, degradation is much slower in subsequent years. The rate of this degradation is as high in Europe as in the United States. So you can expect similar numbers regardless of make or model. The problem is probably more real in used vehicles. However, here again, if you go through a dealership, additional warranties apply.
Tesla explains for example: “Tesla used vehicles are covered by the standard 4-year or 80,000 km residual limited warranty. After expiration, the used vehicle limited warranty offers additional coverage for 1 year or 20,000 km. If the vehicle’s standard limited warranty already has expired, the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty covers the vehicle for 1 year or 20,000 km from the date of delivery ”. A priori, as you can see, it is very unlikely that you will need to replace this item. And fortunately, replacing these battery packs can cost more than 10,000 euros, not including labor.
If you buy an electric car, new or used, rtherefore educate yourself above all about these guarantees – In the event of a covered problem, you may require a replacement or repair. Please note that there are also tricks to extend battery life beyond the warranty period.
How to extend the battery life of electric cars?
More or less the same advice applies as with smartphones and computers. It is especially advisable to avoid fast chargers that degrade their capacity more quickly, always avoid charging the car to 100% and let the charge level drop to 0% (always try to stay between 20% and 80%). Also, if possible, avoid taking the car in case of extreme heat or cold.
In the latter case, the battery capacity will, in any case, be much more limited than usual, but the normal capacity should return as soon as the ambient temperature becomes warmer. Also, it is highly recommended that you do not leave the car plugged in all the time when you get home. And you prefer small extra charges instead of “big full” electricity that make your batteries much more tired.
Finally, keep in mind that technology is changing rapidly. With the arrival of the batteries solid state, without liquid electrolyte, battery degradation promises to be significantly slower. These batteries are expected to arrive en masse in 2025 – Toyota has already announced the arrival of a model with this type of battery. We also observe the Chinese manufacturer. Dongfeng introduced the E70 model, a car that already has a solid state battery. Does this mean that we need to wait for the arrival of such vehicles?
Not necessarily: current technology already offers very satisfactory performance from this point of view, either in terms of charging times or battery life.