Electric vehicles are less damaging to the environment than gas-powered cars. However, as the EV industry is relatively young, many consumers still have concerns around them, such as range anxiety and the lifespan of EV batteries, which are very expensive to replace.
The industry is working to address those concerns by enhancing ranges, adding more charging infrastructure, and improving technology to make sure that batteries last longer and degrade more slowly. And according to some new research, these days most EV batteries are actually expected to last longer than the cars themselves.
According to a study from Recurrent, a startup that researches EV batteries, while the battery can make up 50-70% of an EV’s total value, out of 15,000 cars surveyed, only 1.5% had to have their batteries replaced (outside of a few recalls).
The study also found that, according to the Globe and Mail, most EVs driven close to 100,000 miles still have at least 90% of their original range left. Also, battery replacement was the most common in older vehicles, such as the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Tesla Model S, and the cheapest vehicles, such as the Chevy Bolt.
However, just because battery replacements are uncommon, that doesn’t make them impossible — and when they do need to be replaced out of warranty, the cost can be enormous. Tesla faced a class action lawsuit earlier this year after automatic software updates allegedly told customers they needed to replace their batteries at a cost of $15,000.
And the prices wildly fluctuate from vehicle to vehicle. According to J.D. Power, the cost of replacing an EV battery “can generally be between $4,000 to $20,000.”
One important step in the direction of reducing the cost of these crucial EV components, as well as improving the health of our planet, is for the EV battery recycling industry to continue to grow.
EV batteries are made using scarce materials, most notably lithium, that are non-renewable, extremely costly, and environmentally harmful to mine. The more of these batteries that can be efficiently recycled, the better for everyone.
The comment section on an article about Recurrent’s study showed that the EV industry still has a ways to go to assuage people’s worries over having to replace batteries.
“If all that is true, then the manufacturers should provide buyers with a lifetime guarantee on the batteries,” one commenter wrote, in response to data on how long batteries last. “That would make the public have more faith in these battery-run cars.”
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