What Is The Lifespan Of Electric Car Batteries?


If you are considering purchasing an electric car or even if you have purchased one, you may be curious to know how long you can expect your electric car battery to last.

What is the lifespan of electric car batteries? The current expectation of battery lifespan by automotive manufacturers is between 10 and 20 years, or around 200,000 miles. The large range discrepancy is due to dependencies on usage, charging habits of previous owners, storage conditions, and number of depletion cycles.

The average person uses batteries on a daily basis. If you own an internal combustion vehicle, you have a 12 volt lead acid battery that runs critical functions on your car. If you have a tv, your remote likely runs off of batteries. Your phone runs off of lithium-ion batteries. Almost all handheld devices, toys, or tools run off of batteries. You are probably very familiar with changing out batteries. 

Depending on the type of device and the type of battery, you may notice that some require frequent battery replacement in order to function. If you own an internal combustion engine, you know that your battery will not last forever. At best, you’ll get around 5 years out of your battery. The cost of replacing this battery is relatively small and it is generally very simple to swap out. Many shops will even install your new battery for free with the purchase of the battery.

The large electric battery on your electric car is easily the most expensive component in the entire vehicle. These can cost you tens of thousands of dollars to replace. As such, it makes sense that new or prospective electric car owners would be interested to know how long their electric car battery will last. Nobody wants to have to pay a massive repair bill for a car relatively soon after purchasing the vehicle.

Continue reading further and we’ll dive further into this topic. We’ll discuss what kind of lifespan you can expect from your electric battery, what things you can do to maximize the life of your battery, as well as the things that you should avoid in order to prevent damage to your battery. You’ll be an expert on electric batteries by the time you get through this article.

How Many Years Do Electric Car Batteries Last

As we mentioned previously, using current technology, an electric car battery lasts between ten and twenty years. This lifespan varies quite a bit based off of a ton of different factors. These factors include make, model, battery size, miles driven, how hard it’s been driven, type of chargers used, temperature where the car was driven, charge levels that the battery was held at regularly, wear and tear to the vehicle.

There is a lot that goes into an electric battery’s life. If you want your battery to last as long as possible, the first and most important thing that you can do is your research. There are lots of different things that you can do to improve your batteries life and we will talk about those later. Regardless of the car given to your car, certain batteries will just last longer than others.

That’s why it’s incredibly important that you do your research beforehand. While many electric cars are still relatively knew, it can be hard to know how long your electric cars battery will last. There is still plenty of information that you can dig up about the company that can give you an idea of expected life. This could include durability tests performed by the company or others, overall quality scores, etc. 

It is also helpful to research things such as electric battery warranties. There are some electric car manufacturers that offer lifetime warranties on the batteries. In that case, you might not really care if the battery only lasts you ten years as it will still be under warranty at that time. The warranty that a company offers on the battery is also generally a sign of confidence in their product. No ones going to put a lifetime warranty on an extremely expensive component that is likely to fail quickly.

Just like an internal combustion engine, the level of care that you give to a car will also have an effect on it. Toyota is one of the brands most well known for reliability. Even in one of the most reliable Toyotas, if you don’t care for it properly, it won’t last very long. It’s important that you keep up on oil changes, spark plug changes, etc. Without those, even a reliable car will give out on you.

While electric cars are cared for in different ways, the same principle applies. Even the most reliable electric cars will fail prematurely if proper care isn’t taken of them. This can be a huge contributing factor to whether your battery lasts you 10 years or 20 years.

Average Number Of Miles Driven Before The Battery Needs To Be Replaced

We’ve talked about how long an electric car’s lifespan is in terms of years, but how about in terms of miles? Just like with the predicted lifespan of electric car batteries in terms of years, the expected mileage will vary based off of all of the same factors. Make, model, usage, temperature, and many other factors can lead to a battery needing to be replaced sooner.

Consumer reports has estimated that the average electric car battery will last about 200,000 miles. Considering the average person drives about 12,000 miles a year, that would mean you can expect about 17 years out of your car. Although, there are many other factors that play into how long your battery will last. This is longer than most people will ever own a car. In addition, 200,000 miles is about how long many internal combustion cars will last before they start having major engine and transmission issues.

Do Certain Types Of Electric Car Batteries Last Longer?

Do certain companies’ batteries last longer than others? They definitely do. As with anything, many people may sell similar products but not all of them will last as long. This is contributed to the quality of the product, the design of the powertrain system, and its durability. This will vary from one auto manufacturer to another.

Unfortunately, in our current state, we don’t know how long a lot of electric cars will last. So many car companies have come out with electric cars in the past few years that we haven’t had enough time to really vet out and see how long they last. Even some of the very oldest electric cars on the road haven’t needed their batteries replaced yet. Comparing one electric car manufacturer to another right now is very difficult as we just don’t have enough history with them yet. 

Will Battery Technology Improve In The Next 5 Years?

You may be curious to know whether battery technology will be better down the road. This is essentially guaranteed. Looking back just five years, electric cars have improved drastically. This is largely due to the battery technology. 

Just a couple years ago, most electric cars had a range between 30 and 150 miles on a full charge. This was pretty much as far as you could get. Now, there are lots of different electric cars that have ranges up to 300 miles or even higher. In addition, the higher range cars back in the day were the most expensive, highest end cars available. Now, you can buy more standard, run of the mill electric cars that have long ranges.

Now looking forward, we can expect to see the trend of improvement continue. In fact, we will likely see accelerated advancements in technology. This is largely due to the sudden and drastic push for electric cars across the world. Many countries have announced that they will no longer sell internal combustion vehicles by a certain year. As such, all focus is now being shifted to alternative energy. While there are some other alternative energy options out there (such as hydrogen fuel cell cars), electric cars are the worlds main focus at the moment.

In addition, many major automotive manufacturers have announced that by a certain year, they won’t produce internal combustion vehicles anymore. This means that their entire focus is shifting towards electric cars. Even without this huge shift in focus towards electric cars, we saw continual improvement in battery technology. As the world moves towards an all-electric driving experience, that growth will only expand exponentially.

We can expect to see improvements in a lot of different areas. First off is battery management systems. These systems already exist today. They constantly monitor systems relating to the battery and change different systems states in order to maximize the life of the battery. These systems often keep the battery warm in the cold to prevent it from getting deep cycled. This helps extend the life of the battery. In the future years, we will likely see these systems improve which will extend the life of our batteries.

We will also likely see improvements in charging technologies. The way that a battery gets charged can have a big impact on the life of the battery. Generally, batteries don’t stand up super well to rapid charging and discharging. As battery technology improves, we will see faster and faster charge times with less stress caused to the battery. 

Lastly, the lithium-ion batteries themselves will likely continue to improve. This will lead to longer ranges, faster charge times, and overall longer life of the battery. These things could change those 10-20 years of battery life into 30 or 40 years. Then the fear of a potentially financially devastating repair becomes less and less of a concern.

What Owners Can Do To Improve Battery Longevity

Your battery losing range slowly with time is actually totally normal. It’s expected for your battery to do this each year. There are certain things that you can do to help minimize this degradation though. The first thing that you want to do is to follow the 20-80% rule. Lithium-ion batteries thrive best when charged between 20 and 80%. When the battery falls out of this range, it puts additional stress on the battery. Especially if the car is going to sit for a long time at these charge levels, you can cause a lot of extra wear on your battery.

So the easiest thing that you can do to maximize the life of your battery is to maintain the battery at the appropriate levels. Don’t let it fall below 20% if you can avoid it. If you do let it get lower from time to time it won’t be a huge deal but if you can help it, keeping it charged above 20% will maximize the life. Especially, if your car is going to sit parked for a long period of time, you don’t want it to sit with no or little charge. In addition, you can charge your car to 100% if you need the miles. If you only use a portion of your range on a daily basis though, your battery will last longer if you stop charging at 80%.

The next thing that you will want to be cautious of is how you charge your car battery. As with a standard 12V car battery, quickly charging a battery to full can be hard on it. A much better approach is to use a trickle charger to slowly charge it to full and then maintain it at that voltage. Electric car batteries are very much the same. A slow charge will help maintain the full range of your battery better. DC fast chargers are very nice, and they can charge your car very quickly. Unfortunately, they can be hard on a battery if used very frequently. To maximize the life of your battery, it’s best to only use fast chargers when you really need to.

One of the last big threats to your battery’s life is the environment that it’s in. Extreme cold and extreme hot temperatures will both cause extra wear on your battery. If you live somewhere that gets pretty hot in the summer, it’s best to park your car in the shade so it doesn’t get quite so hot. Likewise, if you live somewhere that gets very cold in the winter, parking in a garage that gets some heat from your house, will help make your battery last as long as possible.

What Are The Most Harmful Things That Affect Battery Life?

So, what are the absolute worst things for your battery’s longevity? The first thing and likely the biggest thing is the battery’s own charge. As we previously mentioned, you want to keep your batterys charge in the sweet spot. You don’t want it to be fully charged all of the time and you don’t want it to be completely or close to dead. The general recommendation is between 20% and 80%.

This is the most harmful thing to your battery. If you do allow your battery to fall outside that range, your overall range capabilities will decline quicker over time. While you may have 250 miles on a full charge with your new car, that full range will continue to drop. Maintaining a good charge on your car slows that decline. If you lose too much charge, you will need to get your battery replaced.

If you’ve ever owned one of those 12V or 6V toy electric cars, you may have experienced this. They last as long as advertised when originally purchased. Over time, they start to run for shorter and shorter periods of time before you have to charge them. If you’ve ever had one that has sat for several months without being used, you’ll notice that when you do try to go use it afterwards, that it had a drastic decline in its battery life. Luckily, you can often replace these batteries relatively easily and for cheap. Electric car batteries behave in much the same way just with a much higher price point.

The other big thing that can have an effect on your battery’s life is the cold and the heat. Any extreme weather is hard on an electric car battery. If you live somewhere that gets extremely hot, or somewhere that gets extremely cold, it’s important that you properly protect your vehicle from the elements. If you live somewhere very cold, this generally means parking your car in a garage so that it’s not exposed entirely to the cold temperatures. It also means keeping your charge up. If you live somewhere hot, this could be parking in the shade or in a garage as well.

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