Battery replacements are rare in electric cars, and most replacements occur during the life of the vehicle’s warranty, concludes a recent study by Recurrent Motors, which provides battery health reports and range estimates for used electric cars. does.

Based on a sample of 15,000 cars, recidivism researcher Liz Najman found that only 225 cars (1.5%) had their batteries replaced outside of a battery recall.

The study also found that battery degradation is not linear. This happens rapidly in the first few years of a vehicle’s life, then slows down as it ages.

Battery replacement can be a serious issue for the EV owner. A new battery can cost from US$5,000 to US$22,000 and up to US$100,000 for a luxury brand like Jaguar.

Although car makers say EV batteries should last 20 years, Najman wrote, there is little understanding of how they degrade over time, but so far, it seems that EV batteries are far from spec. have a very high lifespan because there are so few of them replaced even after the eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty period expires.

“EV batteries are exceeding basic expectations because battery management systems are more sophisticated than most people realize, and early adopters are well educated about battery health,” Andy Gerberson, head of marketing at TechNewsworld, told TechNewsworld.

stay away from fast chargers

Edward Sanchez, senior analyst for automotive at TechInsights, a global technology intelligence company, explained that engineers design modern EV batteries to last a typical vehicle lifetime of 150,000 miles.

“Some are long gone,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The auto industry, however, appears to be adjusting its outlook on vehicle lifespans.

“The industry is recognizing that most vehicles are on the road for much longer than 10 years and 150,000 miles,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst for e-mobility at Guidehouse Insights, a market intelligence company in Detroit.

“The average age of a vehicle on the road in the US is more than 12 years, and it is not unusual to have vehicles with 200,000 to 300,000 miles,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“The industry knows that, and it wants to reduce the risk of the owner replacing the battery during the useful life of the vehicle,” he continued. “They’re trying to align battery life with the life of the rest of the vehicle.”

EV batteries can last for the life of the car if they aren’t “cooked,” said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group, an advisory services firm in Bend, Ore.

“The battery that cooks are Level 3 fast chargers, like the battery in your smartphone will wear out faster if you’re constantly charging it,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Abuelsamid also recommended reducing the use of fast chargers. “If you charge a battery at a slower rate, you’ll put less strain on it,” he said.

Charging your battery is a physical process that moves lithium ions and electrons around in the cells. At faster charging rates, physical processes are more forceful, and battery materials are subjected to greater physical stress or microscopic damage.

With very high voltage charging, such as DC fast charging, a lot of heat is also generated, which is not ideal for battery longevity, it continued. DC fast charging is the double bacon cheeseburger of charging: great on road trips but best avoided on an everyday basis.

heat is a battery killer

Experts recommend never to discharge the battery below 10% capacity or charge it above 100% so as not to stress the battery and cause premature dendrite formation.

“Battery corrosion is typically caused by the formation of dendrites, which are metal projections that can form on a lithium surface and penetrate the solid electrolyte, eventually moving from one electrode to another and shorting out the battery cell.” Can,” Sanchez explained.

He added that the exception to the 100% rule is Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are recommended to be 100% charged for the battery management system to obtain more accurate readings.

He noted that LFP batteries typically operate at a lower voltage than those with other chemistries.

Lithium-ion batteries used by EVs differ in several ways from those used in consumer devices. Consumer appliance batteries are engineered to last only two or three years, whereas an EV Li-ion can drive a vehicle for 150,000 miles and still retain 70% capacity.

One of the most important differences between lithium-ion batteries used in consumer devices and EVs is thermal management, Abulsamid noted.

“Laptop and phone batteries have no thermal management,” he said. “There is nothing to control its temperature over the lifetime of the battery.”

“The faster you charge a battery, the more heat goes into that battery,” he continued. “Heat is a killer for batteries. If a cell gets too hot, it damages the cell internally.”

“In a vehicle, the battery has a lot of sophisticated thermal management that works hard to keep the battery temperature at its optimum, neither too cold nor too hot,” he explained.

Avoiding the Solid Waste Apocalypse

As batteries degrade, the study found that the range of an EV declines. For example, Tesla’s Model S, with its 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack, loses about 75 miles of range after 100,000 miles on average.

However, the older Model S, which has smaller 70- and 85-kilowatt-hour battery packs, lost almost no driving range after covering the same distance.

By comparison, the 2014 and 2017 models of the BMW i3s clocked 100,000 with about 80% of their original battery capacity remaining.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq 5 lost about 15 miles of range over the first 20,000 miles, but saw no further decline through about 90,000 miles.

While some see EVs as a necessary step toward addressing climate change, others see a deluge of hazardous waste generated by vehicles. According to some experts this should not be the case.

“As EV production increases, there will inevitably be end of life materials management, but companies like Redwood Materials – founded by Tesla co-founder JB Strobel – Li-Cycle and others are working to move beyond this issue and Recycle responsibly and recover EV batteries,” said Sanchez.

“Some utilities also repurpose used EV batteries as a means of load-leveling the grid and night-time renewable energy storage,” he continued.

“Those who claim that EV batteries will be a catastrophic environmental disaster do not factor in the value of reclaimed elements and metals from EV batteries, which will have significant demand in the future,” he said.

Abuelsamid agreed that we can avoid the solid waste problem.

“You can recover 98% of the important minerals in a battery during recycling,” he said. “Since it is unreasonable to expect that we are going to meet all future demand for batteries with new materials, the industry will rely heavily on recycled materials.”

“We don’t want to throw batteries in landfills,” he declared. “It’s not a viable option.”