You may be concerned that, like the battery in your smartphone or laptop, the battery in an electric vehicle (EV) may lose capacity after only a few years of operation. The good news is that the great majority of Tesla batteries live far longer, as we’ll explain.
The subject of battery life may be approached in two ways: how long is the battery’s lifetime, and how long does a Tesla battery last on a single charge? We’ll start with the first question.
A Tesla Battery Should Last Decades
Tesla (and Elon Musk) say that its EV batteries can go between 300,000 and 400,000 miles before needing to be changed. Data from research firm NimbleFins appears to support this – a study of 557 Tesla vehicles undertaken by the business revealed an average of 90% battery capacity even with 150,000 miles on the clock.
According to vehicle insurance writer Liz Jenson, the average person drives 40 miles each day and 273 miles per week. At that rate, it would take someone between 21 and 35 years to cycle their Tesla’s battery to the point where it required to be replaced. Driving habits differ from person to person, so this is a rough estimate, but it’s still a long time.
That’s not to imply Teslas never require battery repair. If the lithium-ion battery pack is faulty, it may be unable to keep a charge or lose charge capacity at a significantly quicker pace than usual. They can also catch fire, with disastrous effects, if the battery experiences damage that generates a short or has a flaw that causes the battery to enter thermal runaway. However, these flaws are uncommon and virtually always covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee.
Tesla is no exception. Most electric car manufacturers warranty their batteries for 8-10 years or 100,000-200,000 miles.
How Many Miles a Tesla Battery Can Get on a Single Charge
The range of a car, or how far it can travel on a single charge, is the more common issue among Tesla drivers, and it varies depending on the model. As of this writing, all Tesla models can travel well over 200 miles on a single charge, with longer-range variants capable of over 300.
Teslas also feature bigger battery packs than other electric vehicles with shorter ranges at the lower end of the price spectrum. The Model S Plaid, for example, has a useable battery capacity of roughly 95kWh, whereas the Nissan Leaf has a battery pack with a capacity of 39kWh.
With a 40-mile-per-day average driving distance, a single charge is more than enough to go about. That range accommodates commuters who go twice that distance, and chances are they’ll have a charging station nearby or a location to charge their vehicle while it’s parked at work.
Mileage is also affected by driving behavior. Prolonged highway driving drains EV batteries faster regardless of model, and harsh weather conditions need more power for temperature control and battery management, all of which take their toll. Calendar aging also progressively reduces charge capacity during a battery’s lifespan, although not significantly until towards the end.
Long-distance travels still take some forethought, but Tesla charging infrastructure has grown very abundant in the United States, so daily trips should be OK. The final result is that even older Tesla batteries are quite dependable and will likely survive for years — potentially as long as you’d drive a regular gas-powered car.