How Long Electric Car Batteries Last

Batteries can last a decade or longer, though peak performance may decline before then.
Kurt Woock
By Kurt Woock 
Edited by Julie Myhre-Nunes

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Batteries in new electric vehicles typically have warranties that cover up to eight years or 100,000 miles of use. But a warranty is a way to define a minimum, not a maximum, expectation about how long a battery can last. Batteries on new EVs might last twice that long, according to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

There simply isn’t an established track record to fully assess battery life across the burgeoning EV market, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. More than 100 EV models have been introduced since 2016, according to the department, meaning most are still years away from the end of their useful life. How they perform in the years to come is still a question mark. 

How to make your EV battery last longer 

Most all-electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, the same technology that powers laptops and phones. This type of battery can charge quickly, hold a charge and has a weight and price that makes it suitable for use in cars.

However, the maximum amount of power it can hold when fully charged degrades over time, just like a phone’s battery. Standard use can make a full charge hold only 70% of what it held when new and still be covered by a warranty. Warranty details may vary from one EV to the next.

The following practices can prolong your battery’s health, according to car manufacturers.

  • Don’t charge to 100%. Instead, keep your battery between 20% and 90% unless you need the additional range.

  • Use fast charging sparingly. The fastest chargers, called Level 3 or DC fast charging, can add hundreds of miles of range in a matter of minutes. While impressive, this can strain a car’s battery if used too often, so reserve this option for road trips and stick to home charging for routine charges.

  • Mind your climate. Extreme temperatures can shorten your battery’s life. One way to counteract this is through preconditioning, a setting that regulates the battery’s temperature prior to driving. This might be familiar to those who have warmed up a gas engine prior to driving it, though preconditioning can take an hour in some cases.

The cost to replace an electric car battery usually ranges between $4,000 and $20,000. This large spread in cost is due in part to battery sizes that vary widely, but even smaller batteries cost thousands of dollars. So, when you can get a new EV for as low as $27,000, replacing the battery may not be the best option in every case.

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