These are the EVs that need battery replacements the most often
When EVs first became a big deal, range anxiety was a chief concern, but that has faded as automakers deliver longer and longer range estimates with each passing year. For many buyers, that fear has evolved into questions about longevity, as people worry that their battery-powered vehicles won’t last as long as a trusty gas engine. The team at Recurrent Auto recently conducted a study to answer those questions, and the results should be encouraging for anyone considering an EV purchase.
In its community of 15,000 electric vehicles, Recurrent found that only 1.5 percent have had their batteries replaced. It’s important to note that the number does not include recalls, such as the high-profile battery replacements Chevy initiated for the Bolt and Bolt EUV. Still, battery replacements are exceedingly rare for the majority of EVs.
Outside of those recalls (which also included the Hyundai Kona EV) the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S had the most significant percentage of battery replacements. The two cars are among the longest-running electric models and were designed early in the EV development process, so it’s unsurprising that older cars need battery replacements after years of service. The Jaguar I-Pace, Chevy Volt, Tesla Model X, Audi e-Tron, Tesla Model 3, and Tesla Model Y had the next highest percentages of battery replacements, though the numbers are quite low.
Recurrent’s study also looked at battery replacements by model year and found that EVs with 10 or more years on the road tend to need replacements more often. With almost eight percent of batteries replaced, the 2011 model year was the highest outside the recall years. The data is slightly skewed between 2017 and 2020 because of the massive Chevy and Hyundai recalls.
Some individual model years were worse for specific vehicles. Recurrent found that 8.5 percent of the 2013 Tesla Model S had battery replacements, followed by 7.3 percent for the 2014 model. The 2011 Nissan Leaf landed at 8.3 percent, and the 2012 model reached 3.5 percent.
If you’re reading this and are still worried, there’s good news. Most battery replacements occur under warranty, which is federally mandated to be at least eight years or 100,000 miles for EV powertrain components. Additionally, battery wear doesn’t happen in a linear fashion, so you’re not going to see a steady decline in battery capacity. Recurrent found that degradation occurs in stages, with a drop at first and a leveling out for an extended period. The bad news is that if you need a replacement outside of warranty, as would be the case with a major powertrain replacement with a car with a traditional engine and transmission, the costs can amount to half or more of the car’s value.
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