How long does a battery last on an electric car and what can you do to extend it?

An electric car can be an expensive purchase, and if you plan to keep a car for a number of years the last thing you want is to be nervous about battery life. So how long do electric car batteries last, what warranties do manufacturers offer, and what can you do to keep the battery in great condition for the lifespan of your car?

How long do electric cars last?

It’s currently predicted that the lifespan of an electric car battery is between ten and twenty years, depending on how it’s used. As with laptops or mobile phones, electric car batteries degrade over time, so battery loss tends to be small and gradual, rather than a complete failure. It’s estimated that electric cars should still be providing at least 70% of their capacity, even after 200,000 miles.

According to Autocar magazine, Tesla Model S taxis operating from Gatwick airport reached 300,000+ miles each over three years, and all kept at least 82% battery health. For comparison, modern petrol or diesel car engines can expect to last to at least 150,000 miles, if maintained with a service schedule, though this can be as much as 300,000 if the car has been well looked after.

How does an electric car battery’s lifespan change over time?

The lithium-ion batteries used in cars degrade over hundreds of cycles of charging and recharging, and they become gradually less effective in the process. How long a battery lasts on an electric car depends to an extent on how you treat it, how you drive and your charging habits.

Even when the capacity of the electric car battery starts to drop, it doesn’t affect the car in terms of acceleration or driving performance. It will lessen the range of miles you can expect to drive on each charge, but this is likely to have a small and incremental impact.

How long is an electric car battery warranty?

To address the anxiety that some drivers have over the how long electric car batteries last, manufacturers have introduced longer warranties.

Most new electric car batteries come with warranties of around 8 years and 100,000 miles, which is far longer than the warranties for the rest of the car’s components. This should reassure nervous electric car drivers about reliability.

Electric car battery warranties will guarantee a minimum of around 70% capacity, and so 70% of range, by the end of the warranty period.

How to make your electric car battery last longer

It is possible to extend the life of your electric car battery if you take good care of it. Here are some tips to keep it going for longer:

How to make your electric car battery last longer

It is possible to extend the life of your electric car battery if you take good care of it. Here are some tips to keep it going for longer:

Don’t fully charge and drain your battery.

Completely draining the battery of charge and then recharging it will damage the battery’s ability to maintain its optimum energy storage over time.

Charge to 80% capacity and don’t drop below 20%.

Charging above 80% is where batteries get the hottest, and over time this heat can damage the lithium-ion battery cells and affect performance.

Check your driving style.

Rapid acceleration and aggressive driving deplete the battery more quickly, shortens the time between charging and generates more heat than a steadier approach.

Fastest isn’t always best.

Rapid chargers generate more heat when charging, which can cause gradual damage. In the long term, a slower charge will have less impact on battery life. Use rapid chargers when you really need them and use slower chargers more often if you can.

Use overnight charging.

If you’re charging your car at home, doing so at night when temperatures are cooler will help support less heat generation through charging.

Plan your driving time.

Once your car is charged, use it as soon as possible after charging. If you aren’t going to be using the car straightaway then don’t fully charge it – leave it at 50% or so as this is better for its long-term health.

With electric cars having broadly comparable lifespans to more conventional petrol and diesel cars, that’s another reason to make your stand for a greener future and enjoy an electric car driving experience at the same time.