One of the common concerns revolving around Electric Vehicles is the worry that the batteries within them will not last for very long and, at some point, will degrade to a state of which it is unusable. Now, although there is some level of degradation, when compared to the reality of what we are seeing in the industry, it is not as big a concern as it needs to be.
Firstly, it’s probably best to approach the truth in the concern and why it is not ridiculous to think that batteries will degrade. Like any battery, be it in your phone, laptop or speakers, they will have a lifespan. For phones it seems to be a couple of years before we find ourselves halfway through a day before the power-saver mode comes on. With laptops it seems like a frequent problem that people need to plug them in indefinitely because the charge just doesn’t last. Both problems however, start to rear their irritating heads because for the most part we do not treat the batteries inside them with enough care or attention.
“battery degradation on all devices can be reduced by following simple charging advice.”
Leaving your phone on charge all night and having endless apps running all day could be one cause. Leaving a laptop on charge when it doesn’t need it could be another, and this is very much the same with an electric vehicle battery. If it is constantly charging within the top 20 percent, not being run down low enough, often enough or it is going prolonged periods of time without use, potential problems might start to occur. Avoiding these things though can mean that batteries will last a lot longer than originally predicted.
In the case of electric vehicles, the original predictions for how long the battery life will last are being left by the wayside as they continue to run well over 100,000 miles and with some makes keeping their battery health very high as they get older. Current estimations are that most EV batteries will last longer than 10 years, with most manufacturers offering an 8-year warranty on the battery.
Considering this, the concerns regarding how long a battery will last are valid, but personally I think unnecessary at this point in time. With most EVs lasting a lot longer than initial estimations and battery technology advancing faster than we could have imagined, the worries revolving around how long the batteries will go for need not be there.
Within the last five years we have seen a dramatic rise in EV adoption, we have also seen batteries getting bigger, better and cheaper. The price of a battery replacement has fallen to a fraction of the cost it was half a decade ago, and within the next half it is looking like we will be in an even healthier position. By the time current EVs start to really fail the solutions will be there, and although they already are to a degree, the options available will be far superior to what is around now.
But what happens if a battery does fail? It’s easy enough to say that the future holds all the answers, but what are the options now? As it stands, if a battery within an electric vehicle starts to degrade or fault there are a few ways to fix the problem, for the most part taking it to your local manufacturer garage or dealer is the best way forward.
Initially, they would check the cells inside the battery pack. If there are cells not performing the way they should be, these can be replaced, bringing the battery back to its former glory. If the problem lies with the whole battery for some reason, it can be replaced at a cost that varies from make to make.
“EV batteries remain much more reliable and will be much more longer lasting than a combustion engine.”
As a whole though, the price of a battery is comparative to maintenance costs on an internal combustion engine vehicle. Over the same timeframe, by the time cells need to be changed or a battery needs to be replaced in an EV, there would have been many more problems and higher costs linked to a petrol or diesel car.
If you have any questions or queries about battery degradation, or anything else to do with EVs, please do get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Details: Dave Marston, ‘Completely Green’ and ‘Drive Green’ green technology and electric vehicle advisor, musician, and sustainable living enthusiast.