Are you considering buying an electric vehicle (EV) or have you just started your journey as an EV owner? That’s great! As you embark on this new journey, it’s essential to learn about the various aspects of EV ownership. It’s not just about how to charge your EV or how to maintain it, but also about the costs associated with owning an EV, such as battery replacement.
Yes, when you decide to switch to an electric vehicle, you will encounter several new terms and concepts. Many users are often concerned about the longevity of the EV battery and its replacement cost. If you are looking to become a part of the EV community, let’s learn about the EV battery replacement process and costs.
Average Cost of EV Battery Replacement
The replacement cost of an electric car battery is determined by several factors, including the make and model of the car, the size and capacity of the battery, market prices, and labor costs. On average, you can expect the replacement cost of an electric car’s battery to range from $5,000 to upwards of $15,000. Generally, the larger the battery, the more expensive it is to replace. If the electric car is still under its factory warranty, the replacement pack would be free to the customer. Here are more details about why an electric car battery’s replacement cost can vary so widely:
Make and Model
The cost of battery replacement is often directly correlated to the make and model of an EV. Less expensive electric cars, like the Nissan Leaf, tend to have smaller batteries and therefore cost less to replace. Large, luxury, or long-range electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S or Ford F-150 Lightning often have bigger batteries, translating to higher replacement costs.
Battery Pack Type and Capacity
Some automakers have designed their electric car battery packs with a modular design, meaning that some portions of the battery pack can be replaced without having to replace the whole thing. In these cases, an individual module can cost anywhere from $1,000 to upwards of $3,000 depending on its size. Other automakers chose to use an integrated battery pack, meaning that if some cells in the battery fail, the entire battery will need to be replaced. In this scenario, you’d pay the full price of the battery pack.
The majority of electric car batteries are made with rare earth metals, such as lithium, manganese, and cobalt. These metals aren’t commonly available worldwide and are therefore subject to price fluctuations based on supply and demand. Upward swings in the prices of these materials will translate to a more expensive battery part cost.
While most of an electric car’s battery replacement costs go toward the parts themselves, a qualified mechanic is still needed to install them. Auto mechanics’ labor rates vary by city, state, and whether the technician works at a dealership or an independent shop. A ballpark figure for labor costs to replace an EV battery would be about $900 on the low end and upwards of $2,000 on the high end.
Electric vehicles are federally mandated to have an eight-year or 100,000-mile (whichever comes first) warranty, covering the electric motor and the battery. Though battery cells degrade over time, the warranties also cover premature degradation, with each manufacturer stating the percentage threshold in its warranty. For example, Tesla says that if the battery falls below 70% of its capacity before the warranty expires, it would replace the battery at no charge. For the Chevrolet Bolt, the battery threshold is 60%. The Nissan Leaf’s warranty is slightly different, in that it measures the battery in 12 “segments.” If the Leaf’s battery falls below nine “segments” while it is under warranty, it would qualify for a replacement.
Alternatives to EV Battery Replacement
Given the high prices for an EV battery replacement, it’s natural to wonder if there are alternatives. Here are a couple to consider:
Battery Pack Refurbishing
There are third-party companies that specialize in EV battery recycling and refurbishing. This can be a more cost-effective option compared to a battery replacement at the dealership. However, these companies are fairly new and hard to vouch for. Plus, they may not carry batteries for all EV models. Make sure to research the company well and talk to your mechanic about the installation before placing an order for a refurbished battery.
Buy a New Electric Vehicle
This may sound obvious, but it is definitely something to consider. The older a vehicle gets, the less it’s worth. There will be scenarios in which a new EV battery will cost more than the vehicle’s value. On one hand, those costs might be cheaper than buying a new EV, but spending $15,000 on a new pack for a car that might be worth $10,000 is a tough sell.
Now that you have a better understanding of EV battery replacement costs and procedures, you can make more informed decisions about your EV ownership journey. By understanding these aspects, you can easily engage with other EV owners and navigate the world of electric vehicles with ease.