With new technology come questions and concerns about how well everything works. EV’s are quickly gaining momentum in the automotive world, but many people still don’t know much about the batteries used to store energy in these cars. One of the major concerns for many buyers is longevity. Drivers know how long a gasoline-powered car will run because of their experience with the vehicles, but many don’t know much about the life cycle of an EV Battery. Here’s a closer look.
What Is a Cycle of a Battery?
If you take a look at the list of EVs on the market today, most use a lithium-based battery pack to power the car. The term “cycle” for those batteries is used when it’s charged up and then discharged. For example, you have an EV with a full charge and a range of 120 miles. When you drive those 120 miles or so and the battery is completely discharged, it has gone through a cycle.
According to Clean Technica, the life cycle of an EV battery is measured by the number of cycles performed to a certain battery capacity. The industry standard is
A Detailed Look at How the Battery Works
Lithium-ion batteries may seem complicated, but as you can see in the video above, the battery charge and discharge is little more than ions moving from the one place to another. In a lithium-ion battery, lithium ions move from one electrode called the anode through a non-aqueous electrolyte and to the other electrode called the cathode.
This happens in every cell of the battery. In an EV battery pack, there are many cells that make up the full power source. In addition to the battery pack, there are numerous other components that help control and monitor the system.
While every automaker does things a little different, basic components include a battery management controller, a cooling system for the battery, battery cell management controller, and some kind of housing shell. All of this works together to make the vehicle perform as designed. When its all put together in one package, it looks something like the image above, which is the battery unit of Chevrolet's Bolt EV.
How Long Can an EV Battery Last?
This varies from battery to battery and from car to car. It depends a lot on the driver and how they treat their car and the conditions the car drives in. With that said, all automakers offer a good battery warranty.
Most offer 8 to 10-years and up to 100,000-mile warranties with their Hybrid and EV cars. So if you’re worried about an EV battery taking a dump on you after 5 years of ownership, you can set those fears to rest. That warranty also covers the components and parts that connect the battery to the hybrid or EV powertrain and sometimes even include the transmission the car uses.
Despite the fact that all EVs come with good battery warranties, if you have your car for a long time, you will see degradation over time. Battery degradation happens over the course of the battery life. As the battery cycles, it will degrade a little bit. This means its capacity to store energy is shortened. In turn, that means you can’t drive as far.
The level of degradation is relatively slight if the car is well-taken care of. Fleetcarma showed some data of Tesla drivers who drove up to 100,000 kilometers (roughly 62,000 miles) and only saw a 10 percent decrease in their battery’s capacity. Ten percent doesn’t really tell you much so, let’s look at it another way. If your car could drive 200 miles per charge and you lost 10 percent of your battery capacity, you’d only be able to drive 180 miles.
According to Fleetcarma’s data, the degradation isn’t the same across the board. The publication notes that there were some outliers in the data that drove over 200,000 kilometers (roughly 124,000 miles) and still had over 90 percent battery capacity. This could be the result of a number of factors, from road conditions to charging conditions. With all that said, you can rest assured that battery degradation would happen slowly, and you should be able to get the most out of your EV during the time you own it.