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How much does EV Battery Replacement Cost?

Electric vehicle (EV) batteries are perhaps the most expensive component in an eco-friendly car and cost roughly £87 per kWh at the time of writing. That would add up to £3,654 for a Fiat 500e, £6,194 for an Audi e-Tron and £10,440 for a Mercedes EQS.

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However, the likelihood of needing to replace an EV battery, long manufacturer warranties, and the potential to repair or upgrade a battery rather than replace it altogether are important factors!

Although EV batteries are not cheap and are vital to the vehicle, they are designed to last at least as long as a conventional battery, and evolving technology will almost certainly mean that components become less expensive over time.

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EV Battery Lifespans

The first consideration is that, regardless of how much a new EV battery would cost, it is unlikely to need replacing quickly. Most batteries are expected to keep working for between 10 and 20 years and up to 500,000 miles.

Because the technology is relatively new, these are estimates – but Tesla is working on a million-mile battery that would demonstrate exceptional performance value.

Another aspect is that, currently, it is cheaper and easier for manufacturers to supply brand-new batteries rather than repair older EV batteries once they reach the end of their life.

A growing number of recycling schemes and initiatives are being developed to ensure EVs are not worse for the environment than petrol or diesel cars due to the cost of materials and disposal of outdated batteries.

Potential EV Battery Problems

Newly designed batteries are durable and made to withstand challenging conditions on the roads. The main reason an EV battery might need replacing is that it has lost enough capacity to reach a sufficient charge.

Battery degradation is normal and means that every battery has a finite life span, counted by the number of charging cycles it can endure before the total charging capacity drops to under 50% or 60%.

EV manufacturers measure this in the State of Health (SOH), which shows the total capacity of the battery as the vehicle covers more mileage and goes through more charging cycles. SOH can also reduce due to other pressures, such as:

  • Frequent exposure to high temperatures
  • Regularly charging with an ultra-rapid charger
  • Being discharged to 0% and recharged to 100%

However, battery degradation is a very slow process. EV manufacturers offer varying warranties, but most real-world tests indicate that the lifespan of a new battery will be significantly longer than the warranty period.

Battery fires are a potential issue, with a very small fraction of models withdrawn from the market. Still, it is incredibly rare for this to happen, and a significantly higher risk for a petrol or diesel vehicle battery.

Repair Options for EV Batteries

EV batteries comprise multiple units, including modules, cells, and packs. If one part of the battery stops working or becomes damaged, it is possible to repair or replace that component rather than needing an entirely new battery.

Battery cells combine to form mobiles, which in turn connect to form battery packs – it is more likely that one module needs replacing rather than every part of the unit.

If the whole battery has started to malfunction or degrade to the point that it is impossible to repair, it can be replaced, and there is no reason to purchase a new EV. However, this should take between 10 and 20 years.

EV Battery Warranties

All EV batteries should come with a manufacturer's warranty in addition to the warranty against the vehicle itself.

The exact terms vary, but usually say that the manufacturer will cover the cost of a replacement battery if the SOH measurement drops below 70% within the maximum mileage or number of years covered.

Audi provides a tiered warranty against the e-Tron battery, which covers the battery for:

  • Up to 40,000 miles and three years, at 78% SOH.
  • Up to 60,000 miles and five years, at 74% SOH.
  • Up to 100,000 miles and eight years at 70% SOH.

Other warranties tend to be similar, with Nissan Leaf covering batteries for eight years or 100,000 miles, with a minimum SOH measurement of 75%.

The Tesla Model S battery is covered for eight years and 150,000 miles with a 70% minimum SOH, which is comparable with the Honda E and BMW i3.

Replacing Batteries in Second-Hand EVs

Manufacturer warranties normally apply from the date the EV was first registered, so provided a used car is still within the warranty period, it should be covered.

There is the potential for some EV batteries to degrade in the first 100,000 miles, so it is advisable to ask for a SOH report showing how well the battery is performing and to verify this information against the warranty details for your peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Next, we'll run through some EV battery FAQs to explain how much it costs to replace a battery and when this is likely to happen.

How Soon Do EV Batteries Need to be Replaced?

Most manufacturers offer warranties up to around 100,000 miles and eight years, so any issues with the battery beforehand should be covered.

EV batteries are relatively new, with the first Teslas sold in the UK in 2010 – these were the original right-hand-drive Roadsters. Therefore, estimates about maximum battery life are still guesses and will likely evolve as EVs become more common.

However, most mechanics expect an EV battery to last at least 10 to 20 years and, in some cases, well beyond the warranty period.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an EV Battery?

Costs vary substantially between battery sizes but are usually about £87 per kWh. There is a good chance that this average cost will decrease with the growth of the EV market and the availability of battery components.

Can I Repair an EV Battery Instead of Buying a New One?

Yes, there has been controversy over EV battery repairs because, previously, batteries were assumed to be redundant once they reached the end of their life.

Now, you can replace specific parts that have degraded, and manufacturers are developing recycling schemes to repurpose materials in old batteries or use them for other, lower-power requirements.

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