An electric vehicle battery is designed to last about 10 years. An electric car battery’s life typically lasts longer than that of a non-electric vehicle. Typically, standard car batteries last three to five years on average. This time frame may vary based on the type of battery your car uses, and how you maintain your car battery to keep it from dying.
We talked to a couple of experts to get their take on electric car batteries. Mark Cann is founder and CEO of CryomatiKs, a clean tech company based in Florida, and Dan Wilson is director of energy services with EV company Inspiration Mobility.
What’s an EV battery?
Electric car batteries are completely different from those used in gas-powered cars. Cann explains that standard vehicles have 12-volt batteries that are based on lead-acid chemistry. EV battery packs, however, are designed around lithium-ion chemistry. The energy that powers an electric vehicle comes from its battery. For a conventional car, the majority of its energy comes from the gas tank. Learn more about the difference hybrid vs. electric vehicles cars.
How to know it’s time to replace your electric car’s battery
One of the telltale signs that your battery is on its way out is a reduction in your driving range. An electric vehicle typically has a range of 250 to 350 miles after a full charge. Once the car’s performance drops below 80% of its original range, Wilson recommends taking it to a service center to get checked out. If your car is still within its warranty window, you may be able to get a replacement battery for free, depending on the terms of your contract.
Note that when looking at your battery’s range and whether it has deteriorated, Cann says you should factor in the weather too. A reduced range is normal during extremely hot or cold days. But if you still notice a reduction in the battery’s performance when the weather is mild, consider having it looked at by a professional.
How to extend an electric car’s battery life
Always pay attention to signs your car battery is dying. You may be able to extend an electric car battery’s lifespan by storing the vehicle in a temperature-controlled environment like a garage and trying to keep your charge above 20% at all times.
Wilson points out that the standard warranty for an electric car battery lasts for about eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Your battery should continue to thrive beyond that. However, if you keep driving it, you’ll eventually need a new battery for your electric car.
A new electric car battery costs more than the battery for a standard gas-powered vehicle. Depending on the model of battery you need, your electric car battery replacement cost can range from around $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the vehicle. However, prices are rapidly going down, so chances are your cost will be lower by the time you have to replace the battery.
What to do if your electric car battery dies
If your car runs out of battery power while you’re out and without access to a charger, Cann and Wilson agree that you should follow similar steps to what you would do with a gas-powered car. Get a tow to the nearest charging station If you have roadside assistance. This may be covered by your electric vehicle insurance. You could also take advantage of one of the portable charging services operating across the country. These third-party companies can come to wherever you are and charge your battery for a fee.
Keep in mind, as long as you plan ahead, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of charge while driving a recent-model electric vehicle. Electric car battery life is designed to last for a distance of at least 200 miles on a charge. Charging stations are also becoming more widely available around the country, so you shouldn’t have a problem recharging even when covering a long distance.
Many EV owners have a charging station set up at home and charge up before leaving the house. Wilson says to think of it like charging your cell phone — plug it in at night to ensure it’s fully charged in the morning when you start your day. Wondering if electric cars are the future? Learn more about whether you should buy an electric vehicle.