Tesla is a ginormous brand in the world of manufacturing — and particularly in the automobile sector — synonymous with sophisticated and high performance products.
Tesla has made it a focus to provide technological solutions to the power storage problem that many consumers grapple with, and this has cemented its spot as the industry leader in the innovation of electric automobiles.
The manufacturer is constantly churning out products made using latest and advanced technologies with a specific focus on quality. Amongst these products are Tesla batteries, which Tesla sources mainly from renowned electrical and electronics equipment manufacturer, Panasonic, as well as from LG Chem and Catl, among other manufacturers.
One of the biggest concerns for consumers of battery storage is their lifespan, primarily because of their cost implications. This is the same case with the pricy Tesla car battery system. Just how long does it last?
This is a very important question, especially considering that electric automobiles are meant to provide an alternative, cleaner energy source to the common fossil fuels.
Of course, you don’t expect them to last just as long as a regular car’s fuel tank — at least, not just yet. But still, they should still last you a long while if you intend to swap your fuel/hybrid car for a battery electric vehicle.
Types of Batteries Used in Tesla BEVs
There are two types of batteries used in electric vehicles: standard and long range batteries. These are based on the number of cells contained in their battery packs.
Long range batteries contain 50% more battery cells compared to standard range batteries, thus enabling them to last longer. As a result, they may cost more than double the price of the standard versions. This is the top-most distinguishing factor in Tesla Model versions, for example, in the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus and Long Range versions.
A Tesla battery usually comes with a 100,000 mile warranty with a 70% rate of decline guarantee.
Rate of Degradation in EV Batteries vs. Tesla BEV Car Batteries
One of the most important features to look at in assessing the performance and expected life of an EV battery pack is its rate of degradation, which is a measure of how much capacity the battery pack loses over a given period.
It is estimated that an EV battery may decline at an average of 2.3 per year, according to findings by transport technology solutions provider, GeoTab.
Other factors held constant, a long range rechargeable lithium-ion formulation car battery is expected to lose approximately 20% of its capacity by the time the vehicle clocks 100,000 miles.
This is why most manufacturers guarantee their battery packs up to 100,000 miles, or 8 years. The battery may still be used twice as long, about 17 years, and depending on other factors, will have lost approximately 40% of its capacity by then.
As we highlighted earlier, Tesla’s long range batteries have significantly longer life spans. They also record better numbers in assessment of rate of degradation, and its 70% rate of degradation guarantee contained in its warranties should not fool you.
An initiative by Tesla Owners in Belgium and the Netherlands documented in the Tesla Club Owners forum observed that the battery packs fitted into Tesla battery electric vehicles may degrade at an average of 5% over the initial 5-year period. Over the next half-decade of driving, the batteries would barely lose another 5% of their capacity.
Losing 10% of battery life over a decade of use is nothing short of impressive. This equates to half the rate of degradation observed in a similar EV battery over the same period.
It is, therefore, not surprising for a Tesla automobile to clock 300,000 to half a million plus miles with its original batteries still preserving north of 80% of their capacity. This is evidenced by a research on longevity of Tesla batteries conducted by EV enthusiast, Sean Mitchell, which he documents in his YouTube channel.
What Makes Tesla Long Range Car Batteries Last Longer than other EV Batteries
The chemistry composition of Tesla car batteries are the number one reason why the last longer than rival batteries. Tesla batteries are made of NCA, which pairs lithium with nickel, cobalt, and aluminum, whereas the majority of its competitors utilize an NCM composition, which includes pairing lithium with nickel, cobalt, and magnesium.
Though it drives up the overall cost of the battery pack significantly, aluminum is superior to magnesium and other common alternatives, having a weight and durability advantage. Aluminum is less prone to rusting, and this makes Tesla car batteries have a prolonged lifespan compared to other EV batteries.
Inclement weather is another factor that limits the life of EV batteries. Tesla automobiles come equipped with top-of-the-line climate control features to enhance durability. These include dedicated battery heaters to keep the battery packs warm in freezing temperatures.
Tips to Extend the Battery Life of Tesla Car Batteries
Tesla car batteries already have a longevity advantage over competitor EV batteries. Still, you can maximize on their life span by using these tips:
- Charge your batteries to an optimal 70%. This practical hack shortens how far you’ll get on a single charge, but it is suggested that keeping your vehicle’s charge between 20% and 80% will extend its life span. This state of charge range provides a balance between a flat battery and a fully charged one. Tesla car batteries, by default, charge up to 90%.
- Utilize the Climate Control System in severe weather. Before embarking on the road in very cold weather conditions, heat up your batteries to keep them warm to enable them better deal with the adverse weather conditions. This prolongs the life span of the batteries.
Sam is Automole’s editor-in-chief and classic car enthusiast. Sam is studying mechanical engineering at Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin. He also writes for many top automotive publications and appears on the Collecting Cars Podcast.