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Understanding Electric Car Batteries: Lifespan, Costs, and Maintenance

Electric vehicles (EVs), once a novelty, are becoming increasingly common on UK streets. As concerns about climate change and sustainability grow, the popularity of electric cars, buses, and other battery-powered vehicles is also on the rise. A critical component of these vehicles is the battery, which not only powers the electric motor but also the car’s various auxiliary systems. Understanding the lifespan, costs, and maintenance of these batteries is key to informed purchasing and use of electric cars.

Electric Car Battery Lifespan 

Typically, electric car batteries can last between 10 to 20 years depending on various factors including the type of battery, how often it’s used, its capacity, and how it’s maintained. Studies reveal that an electric car battery can retain up to 80% of its original charge capacity after 10 years of use if well maintained. Innovations continue to advance in this area, with models like Tesla’s Model 3 and the new MG4 boasting remarkably long-lasting batteries.

Factors such as driving habits, weather conditions, and regular maintenance contribute significantly to the battery’s lifespan. For instance, frequently driving at high speeds can place a lot of stress on the battery, reducing its lifespan. Similarly, extreme heat can cause the battery to degrade more quickly. Therefore, before buying a car, it’s important to consider these aspects and how they might affect your prospective vehicle’s battery life.

Costs Involved

The cost of electric car batteries has seen a marked decrease over the last decade, making electric cars an increasingly affordable option. Currently, the average EV battery pack price hovered around 135£/kWh in 2020. Overall pricing also depends on the car model, with some premium models commanding higher prices due to their larger, more advanced battery systems.

In terms of running costs, electric cars are more economical compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts. With the UK’s average electricity price, charging at home could cost about 3-4p per mile, significantly less than fuelling a conventional car. However, potential buyers should also consider the cost of replacing the battery at the end of its life. Although prices are expected to continue falling, it’s still a significant investment worth considering.

Maintenance of Electric Car Batteries 

Electric car batteries require less maintenance than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. This is primarily because EVs have fewer moving parts susceptible to wear and tear. The main point of focus in terms of maintenance is the battery itself

Most electric cars have cooling systems designed to keep the battery within a specific temperature range, helping to protect it and extend its lifespan. To ensure the health and longevity of your battery, avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures and regularly check the cooling system. 

Moreover, the charging routine can also impact battery health. Ideally, electric car batteries should be kept between 20% and 80% charge. Regularly charging to 100% can put a strain on the battery and potentially shorten its lifespan, so it’s wise to only fully charge on occasions where the extra range is needed.

Final Thoughts

Understanding electric car batteries is an essential part of owning and maintaining an electric vehicle. As electric vehicles continue to evolve and improve, it’s essential for buyers to stay informed about the lifespan, costs, and maintenance practices associated with EV batteries.

While the technology continues to improve, and prices gradually fall, electric cars offer a viable and more sustainable alternative to traditional vehicles. However, before buying a car, it’s important to understand the lifespan, costs, and maintenance of electric car batteries to ensure you get the most out of your investment.