Whatever some people think, electric cars are, in 2022, a rather mature alternative to thermal cars. There are indeed many models with a range of between 350 and 650 km (sometimes even more), the charging network is beginning to establish a sufficiently fine mesh in Europe to be able to travel long distances without fear of running out of fuel, and with fast charging, “filling up” with electricity often takes no more than 20 minutes (at least for an 80% charge).
Yet another question still blocks consumers accustomed to smartphone and computer batteries that lose 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 one day – and if so, is the game worth it? The overwhelming majority of electric cars sold in 2022 will indeed carry Lithium-ion batteries – the same technology found in other devices such as smartphones. The question may therefore seem legitimate.
Electric car batteries last between 10 and 20 years (and there is a manufacturer’s warranty)
An article by our colleagues from Review Geek nevertheless provides some welcome clarification on the matter. Let’s avoid keeping the suspense any longer: whatever the make or model, the battery of electric cars lasts between 10 and 20 years – more than the average retention time of a thermal vehicle. Which means you never really have to worry about this problem if you buy a new vehicle. Electric car batteries are built to higher standards than batteries for smartphones and other devices.
The degradation of the maximum load is thus significantly slower – even if it nevertheless ends up decreasing over time. However, you need to know several things. First, many manufacturers guarantee the battery pack for several years / for a certain number of kilometres. 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 the 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 longer.
By buying an electric car you can indeed expect the maximum capacity to drop quite quickly by 10% to 20% during the first years – the degradation is nevertheless much slower in the following years. The speed of this degradation is highly codified in Europe as in the United States. So you can expect similar numbers regardless of make or model. The problem is probably more real on used vehicles. However, here again, if you go through a dealership, additional guarantees 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 provides additional coverage for 1 year or 20,000 km. If the vehicle’s standard limited warranty has already 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 have to replace this element. 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 will be able to demand a replacement or a repair. Note that there are also tricks to extend the life of your battery longer 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 particularly advisable to avoid fast chargers which degrade their capacity more quickly, to avoid always charging your car at 100% and to let the charge level drop to 0% (try to always stay between 20% and 80 %). In addition, if possible, avoid taking the car in case of extreme heat or extreme 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 more temperate. In addition, it is strongly advised not to leave your car plugged in all the time when you get home. And prefer small additional charges rather than “large full” of electricity which tires the batteries much more.
Finally, note that technology is changing rapidly. With the arrival of batteries solid state, without liquid electrolyte, battery degradation promises to be significantly slower. These batteries should arrive en masse by 2025 – Toyota has already announced the arrival of a model with this type of battery. We also note the Chinese manufacturer. Dongfeng who unveiled the E70 model, a car that already has a solid state battery. Does this mean that we must necessarily wait for the arrival of this type of vehicle?
Not necessarily: current technology already offers very satisfactory performance from this point of view, whether for charging times or battery life.