What Is the Lifespan of an Electric Car?
As electric car technology is still relatively recent and dramatically improving with each generation, you might wonder how long the average electric vehicle (EV) will last. You can expect the average electric car powertrain not to require any major replacements or suffer any notable performance decline for at least 10 years, if not 20. If you’re looking for more thorough information to help you understand how long your electric car might last, Cochran Chevrolet has you covered.
EV Batteries are a Costly Replacement
Newer electric cars out there today are only a few years old, if that, but we can make inferences with data from prior generations. An electric car’s forward motion battery is the most expensive part to replace. If you purchased an electric car more than 10 years ago, it will probably still drive if you have taken care of it and driven around the average miles per year or less. Eventually, though, you will hit a point where the battery needs replacement to keep the same maximum driving range.
Since many drivers might find it more economical to trade the vehicle in for another rather than pay for an EV battery replacement, let’s consider the average end of an EV’s lifespan as the point when the battery is noticeably weaker than it used to be.
As an aside to avoid confusion: the battery used to power a standard gasoline car is much weaker and only meant to help start the car and power a few electrical systems. EVs also have these types of batteries, which they call the auxiliary battery as opposed to the forward motion battery. We will discuss the forward motion battery lifespan of an electric car and compare it to the lifespan of the average gasoline powertrain and its various associated systems.
How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last on Average?
Although different countries are doing tests across all major electric car providers, Consumer Reports gave an average estimate that a healthy, relatively recent EV battery should last 200,000 miles. If you drove 12,000 miles per year, well above the Ohio average of 9,300, you could expect your car battery not to need any work done for 17 years.
The technology in an electric car’s battery is quite similar, although on a smaller scale, to the batteries in a phone or laptop. As we all know, battery life fades the more you use a device. Usually, an electric car’s manufacturer guarantee regarding forward motion battery health is that the battery will still hold at least 70 percent for a certain number of years. You probably wouldn’t come close to a 30 percent drop in capacity until the 100,000-mile mark.
Electric Car Forward Motion Battery Life Factors
There are a couple of tricky factors when predicting the lifespan of an EV battery. For instance, while EV technology continues to become more convenient in terms of faster charging, these high-power functions still generate a high amount of heat. This is manageable at the time, but the more heat a battery can experience through charging, delivering power, and the environment, the faster it will degrade.
The classic enemy of all batteries is heat and cold. Letting your battery or associated systems get too hot or cold too frequently will weaken its charging potential bit by bit. If you are leaving your vehicle out of a garage, you might consider how many days of very high or very low temperatures it might endure over the year.
How To Preserve an Electric Car’s Lifespan
As a battery degrades, it cannot hold as much of a maximum charge. The process is slow, but no battery lasts forever. Here are a few tips to help your system last as long as possible:
- Avoid heat as well as cold, such as using a garage in the winter. Many people underestimate the effect of below-freezing temperatures on battery health.
- Avoid using fast charging plugs too often since they generate the most heat.
- Charge your EV before it goes below 20 percent but stop charging it somewhere soon after 80 percent.
The point of the third tip is to avoid taking the battery to completely full or almost dead, which is more strenuous on the battery. It’s fine to charge to full once in a while, but with the popularization of EVs, you probably don’t need the maximum possible range on a Silverado EV or similar vehicle just to get around your local travel spots. What’s more, charging to less than 100 percent means less time waiting at a charge station.
Do Electric Cars Last Longer Than Gasoline Cars?
Currently, the entire automobile market is evolving and improving in any way it can. Gasoline vehicles often have enhanced efficiency and ease-of-use design choices that help them last longer and help you get more value out of them. The average gasoline vehicle lasts 12 years or 200,000 miles, so based on the information from slightly older electric car model years, electric cars are either even (on mileage) or last much longer (17 versus 12 years).
How long a car lasts before needing a major powertrain replacement isn’t the only factor, though. There’s also the cost of repairing a vehicle if you want to keep it. It’s possible to have your electric car’s battery replaced and continue driving it. Depending on the model, the parts and service could only cost a few thousand dollars. This is far less common than replacing a malfunctioning or weathered engine in a gasoline vehicle, which usually costs far more than the car is worth.
Considering that most people would be making the switch from a much older car with far less than 12 years or 200,000 miles of worry-free driving left, we can confidently say that getting an electric car might be the best move for many drivers in Boardman, West Akron, and all over Ohio. Feel free to contact the #1 Cochran team with any questions about savings and budgeting for your next vehicle, and browse our inventory if you want to see the best deals on new Chevy electric cars like the Volt, Silverado EV, and more.