EV Myths  #3 EV Battery Replacement 

EV Myths #3 EV Battery Replacement 

The first part of that myth is battery replacement.  

Everyone has had the experience of needing to replace rechargeable batteries in consumer electronics, so this myth has a popular following.  Looking at our smartphones, whose early batteries would fail and need replacement, or just get so weak their run time was too short for their purpose, one can understand hesitation on batteries in electric vehicles.   

There are two reasons that today’s EVs haven’t had the same issue- continual battery temperature management by onboard Battery Management Systems (BMS) and chemistry. 

From the moment an EV battery is installed and charged for the first time until the day it is removed, the BMS is ever vigilant in manipulating battery thermal conditions to ensure the longest life possible.   

With these systems keeping the battery in top form degradation is both minimal, gradual, and permitted manufacturers to offer long warranties.  Most are in the order of eight years and 160,000 km (some as high as 192,00 km) but there are EVs with hundreds of thousands of km under their belts and still going strong. Battery chemistry has been under continual improvement to both increase range per kilogram of battery as well as ensure longevity. 

The second part the myth is the price of battery replacement.  

This is a difficult question as EVs came onto the market in force starting in 2010 with the Nissan LEAF. This vehicle’s battery was a wonder in its day and was so expensive that the maker couldn’t afford to install thermal battery management hardware.  Regardless, those early LEAFs are almost all still on the road (with their original batteries) and continue to provide great service to their owners.  

Having said that, there have been battery manufacturing defects that have required two EV makers (Hyundai and Chevy) to recall and replace batteries in three vehicle models. However, those were all under warranty, and at no cost to the owners, who got a brand new battery at the end of the process.  

For the remainder of the EV fleet, 98.5% of EV batteries have never needed replacing, so knowing the actual prices is very difficult. Some highly publicized examples were horrendous but turned out to be unscrupulous dealers raising OEM parts prices to get the unfortunate owners to give up their EVs and buy a new vehicle. This does nothing for the OEM’s brand and demonstrates that makers and dealers are not always on the same team. 

The battery installed in any EV is intended to last the life of the vehicle, and at the end of that life…well, you’ll have to wait to see what happens then. 

So, these myths are BUSTED.