Like everything else under the sun, lithium-ion batteries have finite lifespans, and modern EVs haven’t been around long enough for us to have comprehensive data regarding how long an average EV battery can be expected to remain fit for purpose. (And of course, the “Let’s stick with oil” crowd is happy to fill this knowledge gap with fantasies of EVs heading for the junkyard after only a few years.)
One of those working to educate consumers about EV battery life issues is Recurrent, a Seattle-based company that provides independent reports on EV range and batteries. Now Recurrent has released new data showing that, in its community of 15,000 EV owners, only 1.5% of batteries have been replaced.
According to Recurrent, battery replacements for popular EV models can cost from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on numerous factors. If a vehicle is within the standard US warranty period of 8 years or 100,000 miles, a battery can typically be replaced at no extra cost to the owner if minimum range or state of health thresholds are reached.
Recurrent helps EV owners measure the state of health of their batteries, and offers information on batteries and range to used EV shoppers. The company says that some 15,000 EV owners from all 50 states are currently tracking their batteries for free with Recurrent, and that Recurrent reports are available for nearly 80% of used EVs for sale at US dealerships.
“Used EV shoppers worry that the car battery will degrade quickly like a mobile phone battery, and not be able to hold a charge within a few years,” said Liz Najman, Lead Researcher at Recurrent. “That is not a good comparison, because EV packs are complex technology with battery management systems that carefully regulate things like charging and temperature. This research shows that batteries are holding up better than expected and replacements are not an automatic surprise expense for owners at 101,000 miles.”
“It is encouraging to see this latest study as another challenge to the idea that electric cars are a ticking time bomb of maintenance costs,” said Scott Case, CEO at Recurrent. “Vehicle ownership is full of surprises. While no one can change that, I hope that we begin to make sure that batteries are not one of those surprises.”