Skepticism regarding electric cars is common among those who have yet to make the switch, with many citing common concerns such as high upfront costs and battery longevity. However, recent research indicates that electric car batteries actually have better durability than previously assumed.
Recent findings by Recurrent Auto challenged the prevailing perception regarding electric car battery durability. After conducting a comprehensive study of over 15,000 electric cars manufactured from 2011 onwards, Recurrent Auto determined that a mere 1.5 percent required battery replacement, excluding cases related to manufacturer recalls.
These results indicate that electric car batteries outperform expectations and exhibit remarkably minimal signs of aging.
While it is common to compare electric car batteries to those used in mobile phones, researchers at Recurrent have also found this comparison to be completely misleading. Their study reveals that electric car batteries boast much greater durability, proving their similarity to mobile phone batteries is unfounded.
Battery replacement trends in various electric car models
On the other hand, Tesla Model Y, Model 3, Audi e-tron and Tesla Model X demonstrate a lower need for battery changes. It’s important to note that battery replacement costs vary significantly across electric car models, ranging from SEK 53,000 to SEK 220,000.
The study also highlights an important finding that battery degradation does not follow a linear pattern. The most significant deterioration occurs within the initial 3,200 miles of usage, after which the degradation rate becomes minimal until around 16,000 miles. At this point, most electric cars retain approximately 90 percent of their battery capacity.
It’s worth noting that the measurement is based on the range displayed by the cars, allowing for a small margin of error, yet remains highly relevant for the car owners. While some early Nissan Leaf model years experienced issues with battery chemistry, subsequent improvements have resolved these concerns, resulting in improved battery performance and longevity.
Two relatively recent additions to the electric car market are the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Interestingly, the battery performance of these models presents distinct patterns. In the case of the Ford, the battery has shown a remarkable improvement even after an initial downgrade. Conversely, the battery of the Hyundai model has exhibited no further deterioration following a minor initial decline.
In order to optimize the lifespan of electric car batteries, the researchers said that it is essential for owners to take preventive measures. This includes minimizing physical strain and avoiding extreme temperature conditions. In hotter regions, parking the car in shaded areas and cooling down the battery before charging are advisable practices.
Likewise, electric cars are equipped with heating systems to prevent charging in excessively cold environments. By adhering to these guidelines, owners can enhance their electric vehicle batteries’ overall performance and durability.
Low-carbon-footprint batteries as an innovative breakthrough
Compared to other battery cells in the industry, Northvolt’s new battery cell for Scania trucks has a significantly lower climate footprint.
Today’s lithium-ion batteries have an average climate impact of 100 to 150 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Northvolt’s upcoming battery — to be produced in large quantities — aims to have a significantly lower climate impact, ranging from 30 to 45 kg per kWh.
Northvolt uses a calculation method that considers a broad range of factors in the production process and follows the EU standard PEF EF 2.0. The value of the Scania-Northvolt battery cell is based on future emissions during production. Validation tests confirm they will last the entire 150,000-mile lifespan specified by Scania.
Europe’s inaugural “independent” battery cell factory for electric vehicles, known as the Northvolt Ett factory in Skellefteå, will be responsible for manufacturing these cells. The factory is gradually increasing its production capacity to reach a target of 60 GWh per year ultimately.
Later this year, Scania will inaugurate a facility in Södertälje, where the cells will be assembled into battery packs for heavy trucks. The collaboration between Scania and Northvolt dates back to 2017, when they started working together on developing a battery.
These emerging innovations have brought about a profound transformation in how the public views the longevity of electric car batteries, opening up extensive possibilities for electric vehicles to be widely accepted as a practical alternative to conventional internal combustion engines.