How long do electric batteries last?
For anyone who has purchased or is planning to buy an electric vehicle, there is one question that is foremost in their minds: Just how long can they expect their electric vehicle batteries to last?
This is, in truth, a very good question to ask. Aside from wondering how long they can expect their EV batteries to keep running, there is the accompanying worry that they would need to shell out $10,000 – the current cost of a battery pack – for a replacement or buy a new electric vehicle.
Well, you can stop worrying! Not only will we answer the question “How long does an EV battery last?”, we will help you in understanding how your battery works and how you can extend its lifespan.
EV batteries: a definition
As a simple definition, electric vehicle batteries are what provide power to your car’s motor, instead of traditional internal combustion engines that you can find in regular cars. A common misconception that people have is that EV batteries are a single unit. In order to provide sufficient power to an electric vehicle, you will find multiple EV battery cells that are arranged in an array, called an EV battery pack. Because you have a large number of cells in a single pack, it should not come as a surprise that the EV battery is one of the heavier parts in an electric vehicle.
So, how long does an ev battery last?
How long does an EV battery last?
As we mentioned earlier, electric vehicle batteries have a unique design, coming in ev battery packs containing a number of battery cells. This EV battery design allows for a sufficient number of cells to provide electricity to your electric vehicle.
How long does an EV battery last? On average, the Life expectancy of EV batteries is pegged at 8 years or around 100,000 miles. Taking note of the climate wherein the EV is being driven, you can expect an EV battery to have a life expectancy of 10-20 years for moderate and extreme climates.
Battery charging cycles
It is important to mention though that the question on how long does an EV battery last is also dependent upon a number of factors that can cause your battery to degrade faster than it should. Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider is the electric vehicle battery’s charging cycle.
The EV batteries that you presently find in electric vehicles are lithium-ion batteries, the same batteries that you can find in your smartphones and laptops. From your experience with your smartphones, you may have noticed that frequently charging and discharging your phone fully causes the battery to deteriorate faster than it should. The same applies to an EV battery.
An electric battery charging cycle refers to complete charging and discharging of the battery. Simply put, one cycle consists of a battery that is discharged to 0% and then charged to 100%. An EV battery is expected to have 1,500-2,000 charging cycles. While this may seem like a lot and not something to be concerned about, if you have the habit for full discharging and charging – even with just your smartphone – you may be causing serious problems to your EV battery.
How do EV batteries degrade?
Electric vehicle batteries start to degrade when they begin losing their capacity to store and distribute power to your car. One of the ways that you can expect degradation of your EV batteries is through the charging cycle. After 1,500-2,000 cycles, the EV battery packs gradually begin losing capacity in what is called “cycle-aided degradation.”
Another way by which EV battery cells degrade is by subjecting your vehicle to temperature extremes. Obviously, heat – such as in hot driving conditions or storage – can have a negative impact on an EV battery. The same also applies to extreme cold.
One factor that can cause EV battery degradation is quick charging, especially with direct current fast chargers (DCFC). Quick charging results in the transfer of high currents electricity that generate high temperatures and heat. EV batteries can only withstand an estimated 500 quick charges before you start to observe serious depletion.
Last but certainly not least, even with care, you can expect EV battery degradation with time as the battery ages.
Now that you know how long an EV battery lasts, what can you do to keep it going and going, like the famous Energizer bunny?
How to extend EV battery life
It’s not enough to know how long an EV battery lasts. You also need to know how to extend your Electric vehicle batteries’ lifespan so you get more mileage out of your car. Here are a few tips to help improve the longevity of your EV batteries:
Charge your EV batteries properly
Be mindful of how you charge your EV battery. While many EV models these days have protection buffers so that you don’t fully charge or discharge your battery, it is important that you keep your state of charge (SOC) between 20% and 80%. Some models even provide options so that the normal daily charging limit always falls below 100%.
Minimize the exposure of your car to high temperatures while driving or in storage.
Heat can cause rapid depletion of your EV battery.
Minimize the exposure of your car to low temperatures, especially during charging.
Aside from the extreme cold temperature, you can expect moisture to develop which can damage your battery during charging.
Avoid rapid and deep discharging of your EV battery
Because lithium-ion batteries work better on a partial charging cycle, deep discharging can also cause EV battery depletion and degradation.
Minimize quick charging of your EV battery
As mentioned earlier, quick charging generates high temperatures which can rapidly damage and deplete your EV battery.
If you are driving a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), always switch your car to “Save” when driving along long highways or up mountains.
Switching to “Save” lets your electric vehicle switch to the gasoline engine, instead of the EV battery, which is more capable of handling long travels or drives up steep inclines.
While current EV batteries are far from perfect, scientists are coming up with Future EV battery technology as we speak, one of them being the development of green electric vehicle batteries.
What are green electric vehicle batteries?
You may be wondering “Aren’t electric vehicles (and their batteries) considered ‘green’ or environmentally friendly?” Well, the answer is yes and no. It is true that electric vehicle batteries do reduce carbon emissions because they don’t use fossil fuels and they are recyclable to serve as storage for houses using alternative energy. However, the batteries themselves are not made from recycled materials.
This year alone, scientists are getting ready to introduce the very first green electric vehicle battery. These are batteries made from 100% recycled active materials. With this technology, lithium, nickel, magnesium, and cobalt from old EV batteries can be used in the production of new batteries. These sustainable EV batteries are expected to have an improved environmental footprint and could drive down costs of the batteries themselves.
Any responsible EV owner can take steps to ensure that their electric vehicle batteries last for years. Through proper care of EV batteries, you can expect greater longevity and better performance in your car.