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How Long do Electric Car Batteries Last?

Here are the facts about longevity and EV battery replacement costs

A white car charger plugged into the outlet of an electric vehicle.

Courtesy of Possessed Photography (Unsplash)

You’re interested in getting an EV, but worried about how long the battery will last. That doesn’t surprise Ryan Peterson, manager of automotive services for CAA Club Group. 

“People heard those horror stories about early EVs and they think nothing has improved or changed,” Peterson says. Those types of stories typically make headlines. You may have seen news reports about high-profile recalls to fix issues that could potentially cause EV battery fires. 

The reality, however, is that EV batteries have improved a lot—and are proving to be extremely reliable and long-lasting. “EV batteries are designed to last as long as the vehicle itself,” Peterson notes. 

With age and use, batteries will slowly degrade, offering less driving range. Exactly how much less driving range you can expect from an old EV battery is the big question. 

There aren’t many old EVs on the road and those older models don’t necessarily reflect the most recent battery technology. But even with these caveats, the latest research on EV battery longevity is promising. 

A study published in March by Recurrent Motors Inc.—a Seattle-based company that provides independent reports on the battery life and range of used EVs—assessed 15,000 EVs of various makes and models. Among EVs that had covered more than 160,000 kilometres, the majority still had at least 90 percent of their original driving range left. Recurrent’s conclusion: “So far, it seems that EV batteries have much longer lifespans than anyone imagined, since very few of them have been replaced.” ‘

Combustion-engine cars typically last 250,000 to 300,000 kilometres, but according to Peterson, modern EVs could last a lot longer. If, however, you are unlucky and your EV’s battery needs replacing out of warranty, the costs can be high, varying wildly, from around $5,000 to more than $20,000, depending on the make and model. If you’re concerned, ask your local dealer about replacement costs. 

EVs have come a long way and the technology continues to evolve. The path ahead looks bright.

Questions about EVs? 

Our Auto Advice experts are happy to answer any questions. Email autoadvice@caasco.ca or call 1-866-464-6448.

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