How long a Tesla battery lasts is an important consideration for Tesla owners and potential owners alike.
Tesla has set high standards for battery performance and offers a robust warranty to support the life of its batteries in the UK. This article explores the durability of Tesla batteries, a cornerstone on which the brand has built its reputation for innovation, efficiency, and reliability.
We will unpack the expected lifespan of Tesla batteries, examining how long they last and the factors influencing battery longevity. We look at Tesla’s warranty coverage and aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of what owners can expect from their Tesla battery life.
How Long Does a Tesla Battery Last?
Tesla’s batteries should last between 22 to 37 years OR 300,000 to 500,000 miles. The 300,000 to 500,000 miles is a statement from Elon Musk and the battery life figure for Tesla is based on an average driving distance of 13,476 miles per year (a statistic from the US Department of Transportation). This suggests that a Tesla battery could effectively serve a driver for between 22 to 37 years.
Tesla’s warranty policies provide a good insight into its battery longevity. The company offers an eight-year or 100,000 to 150,000-mile warranty (varying by model), promising that the battery will retain at least 70% of its capacity within this timeframe. So Tesla is confident that their batteries will last.
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Tesla Battery Replacement Costs
While Tesla does not publicly list a flat rate for battery replacements, estimates suggest that the cost can range widely. For example, replacing a battery in a Model 3 should cost between £5,000 and £7,000 (according to Elon Musk’s 2019 tweet). Premium models like the Model S or Model X will cost more to replace and their batteries could cost upward of £10,000, reflective of their larger, more advanced battery systems.
These costs are estimates and can vary based on labour rates, the specific battery pack required, and potential future reductions in battery production costs. Tesla’s ongoing efforts to reduce the cost of battery production and increase the efficiency of energy storage may lead to more affordable replacement options in the future.
How to Check My Tesla Battery Health?
Checking on the health of your Tesla’s battery is crucial for maintaining its performance. Tesla has designed its vehicles with technology that not only maximises battery life but also allows owners to monitor battery health through various means. Let’s run through a few ways that you can check on the health of your Tesla battery:
Using Tesla’s In-Car Infotainment System
One of the easiest ways to check your Tesla’s battery health is through Tesla’s in-car infotainment system. Tesla’s user interface provides detailed information about your vehicle’s current battery state, including:
- Battery Level
Displays the current charge level as a percentage of total capacity.
- Energy Consumption
Shows historical data on your energy usage, which can indicate battery efficiency over time.
- Range Estimation
Offers insights into the estimated range left on your current charge, which can be a good indicator of battery health. A significant deviation from the expected range for a fully charged battery might suggest battery health issues.
Tesla Mobile App
The Tesla mobile app is another easy tool for monitoring battery health. Through the app, owners can access real-time data and historical trends related to their vehicle’s battery usage and charging patterns. Key features include:
- Remote Monitoring
Check your battery charge level and range remotely.
- Charging History
Review your charging history to see patterns in battery charging and usage.
- Scheduled Charging
Manage charging times to avoid peak rates and potentially extend battery life by reducing the need for fast charging, which can stress the battery over time.
Diagnostic Tests and MOT Visits
For a more thorough assessment of your Tesla’s battery health, consider scheduling a service visit with a Tesla Service Center. Tesla technicians can perform diagnostic tests to evaluate the battery’s condition, including its capacity retention, any potential cell imbalances, and overall performance. You can have these tests as part of your EVs MOT or as a standalone service.
Why Would a Tesla Battery Need to Be Replaced?
Tesla batteries are not immune to wear and tear or other issues that may cause a battery replacement over time.
- Natural Wear and Tear
Battery capacity naturally decreases with time and usage. Although Tesla batteries are engineered to minimise this degradation, after a significant number of charge cycles, some loss of capacity and, consequently, reduced range can be expected.
- Age of the Battery
As batteries age, their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Even with relatively low mileage, an older battery may show signs of reduced efficiency.
- Mechanical Damage
Impact from accidents can cause severe damage to a battery, making replacement necessary. Even minor accidents might compromise a battery’s integrity, leading to potential future issues.
- Manufacturing Defects
Though rare, manufacturing defects can occur, leading to premature battery failure. Tesla’s warranty typically covers such defects, offering replacement in cases where the battery fails to meet performance standards.
- High Voltage Charging Stress
Regular use of superchargers or other high-voltage fast-charging options can accelerate battery wear over time. While convenient, frequent fast charging may stress the battery, leading to earlier-than-expected degradation.
- Extreme Temperatures
Batteries are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Prolonged exposure to very high or very low temperatures can affect battery health, potentially leading to reduced performance and lifespan.
How Much Does a Tesla Battery Degrade Each Year?
Like all lithium-ion batteries, Tesla batteries experience some level of degradation over time. How much a Tesla battery degrades will vary depending on several factors, including charging habits, mileage, and environmental conditions.
However, numerous studies and user reports have provided insights into average degradation rates. On average, Tesla batteries degrade about 1% to 2% per year. This rate means that after several years of use, a Tesla should still retain a significant majority of its original battery capacity and range.
Data collected from Tesla owners worldwide suggests that most Tesla vehicles retain 90% of their original battery capacity even after driving 100,000 miles. Some vehicles have reported less degradation, maintaining over 90% capacity well beyond this mileage.
How Many Batteries Are in a Tesla?
Tesla battery technology is not just about the capacity but also about the sheer number of individual cells working in harmony.
Tesla 1865 Battery Cells
- Tesla Roadster: 6,831 cells
- Tesla Model S: 7,104 cells
- Tesla Model X: 7,256 cells
Tesla 2170 Battery Cells
- Tesla Model 3 Short Range: 2,976 cells
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range: 4,416 cells
- Tesla Model Y: 4,680 cells
The transition from 1865 to 2170 cells in newer models shows Tesla’s ongoing efforts to improve energy density, reduce costs, and enhance vehicle performance.
How Much Lithium Is in a Tesla Battery
A Tesla Model S battery contains approximately 62.6 kg (about 138 pounds) of lithium. While we have no lithium figures for the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, they are slightly smaller with smaller battery capacities compared to the Model S, so they likely contain less lithium.
The exact amount would depend on the specific battery capacity option chosen, but it’s reasonable to assume that it would be less than the 62.6 kg found in the Model S battery.
The Tesla Model X is a similar size and performance to the Model S, the Model X might have a comparable amount of lithium in its battery, possibly slightly more due to its larger size.
What is the Tesla Battery Weight?
The weight of a Tesla battery pack varies depending on the model and the specific battery configuration used in each vehicle:
Tesla Model S Battery Weight
The battery pack in the Model S, particularly for the Long Range versions, weighs about 1,200 pounds (approximately 540 kilograms). This pack is one of the largest offered by Tesla, reflecting the Model S’s high performance and long-range capabilities.
Tesla Model 3 Battery Weight
The Model 3’s battery pack varies in weight depending on whether it’s a Standard Range Plus or Long Range version. The weight for these packs ranges from approximately 480 kilograms (about 1,058 pounds) for the Standard Range Plus to around 540 kilograms (approximately 1,190 pounds) for the Long Range versions.
Tesla Model X Battery Weight
Given the Model X’s size and its performance requirements, its battery pack is similar in size and weight to the Model S, weighing around 1,200 pounds (approximately 540 kilograms).
Tesla Model Y Battery Weight
The Model Y, sharing a platform with the Model 3, has a battery pack that also ranges in weight. It’s estimated to be similar to the Model 3’s, with weights from around 480 to 540 kilograms (approximately 1,058 to 1,190 pounds), depending on the version.
What is the Tesla Battery Capacity?
The battery capacity of Teslas varies across different models, it’s a key factor in determining a Teslas range. Here’s an overview of the battery capacities for current Tesla models, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is the standard unit of energy for EV batteries used to determine the miles per kWh of an EV (the car’s range).
Tesla Model S Battery Capacity
- Long Range: Approximately 100 kWh, offering an EPA-estimated range of up to 405 miles on a single charge.
- Plaid: Also has around 100 kWh, but due to its performance optimization, it has a slightly lower range of up to 396 miles.
Tesla Model 3 Battery Capacity
- Standard Range Plus: Around 54 kWh, providing an EPA-estimated range of up to 263 miles.
- Long Range: About 75-82 kWh, offering a range of up to 353 miles.
- Performance: Shares the same battery as the Long Range but has a range of up to 315 miles due to its performance tuning.
Tesla Model X Battery Capacity
- Long Range: Roughly 100 kWh, with an EPA-estimated range of up to 360 miles.
- Plaid: Uses a similar 100 kWh battery but, like the Model S Plaid, is tuned for performance, achieving a range of up to 340 miles.
Tesla Model Y Battery Capacity
- Long Range: About 75-82 kWh, with an estimated range of up to 326 miles.
- Performance: Uses the same battery as the Long Range but has a slightly lower range of up to 303 miles due to its performance focus.
Tesla’s Battery Warranty Coverage
Tesla’s comprehensive warranty is very comprehensive, covering various aspects of the vehicle from the basic vehicle components to the battery and drive unit. Here’s a summary of the key elements of Tesla’s warranty:
Tesla New Vehicle Limited Warranty
Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty
This warranty covers the vehicle for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first, and addresses defects in materials and workmanship.
Supplemental Restraint System Limited Warranty
Offers coverage for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, specifically for the vehicle’s restraint system.
Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty
Varies by model, ensuring the battery and drive unit are covered for up to 8 years, with mileage limits ranging from 100,000 to 150,000 miles depending on the model. Importantly, it guarantees a minimum of 70% retention of battery capacity over the warranty period. The specific terms are as follows:
- Model S and Model X: 8 years or 150,000 miles
- Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive, Model 3 Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive, and Model Y Rear-Wheel Drive: 8 years or 100,000 miles
- Model 3 Long Range, Model 3 Performance, Model Y Long Range, and Model Y Performance: 8 years or 120,000 miles
These warranties apply to defects in parts manufactured or supplied by Tesla that occur under normal use.
Tesla Used Vehicle Limited Warranty
For Certified Pre-Owned vehicles purchased directly from Tesla, the warranty includes what remains of the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty for up to 4 years or 50,000 miles, plus an additional 1 year or 10,000 miles once the original warranty expires. The original Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty also continues to apply.
Tesla Parts, Body and Paint Repair Limited Warranty
This warranty covers Tesla-branded parts purchased and installed by Tesla Service or a Tesla Body Shop, including over-the-counter or online purchases, for 12 months or 12,500 miles, whichever comes first. It defines “failure” as a complete inability of a covered part to perform due to defects in material or workmanship under normal use, excluding gradual loss from normal wear and tear. Specific parts have unique coverage periods:
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Does Tesla Replace Batteries for Free?
Tesla does replace batteries for free if the issue falls within the coverage of its Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty, specifically if the battery exhibits defects in materials or workmanship or fails to maintain at least 70% of its capacity within the warranty period, which ranges from 8 years or 100,000 miles to 8 years or 150,000 miles, depending on the model.
This warranty means Tesla will fix or replace the battery for free if it meets certain conditions. But, it doesn’t cover normal ageing of the battery or damage from outside causes beyond those conditions.
Can a Tesla Battery Last 10 Years?
Yes, a Tesla battery can last 10 years. Many Tesla batteries show minimal degradation over this period, maintaining a significant portion of their original capacity and range, thanks to Tesla’s advanced battery technology and management systems.
Can a Tesla Battery Last 20 Years?
While it’s theoretically possible for a Tesla battery to last 20 years, over such a long period, the battery is likely to experience some degradation in performance and capacity. The extent of degradation will depend on various factors, including charging habits, climate, and usage patterns.
The Final Word on How Long A Tesla Battery Lasts
Tesla batteries are designed to last between 22 to 37 years, with many able to reach the 10-year mark while retaining most of their original capacity and range. This durability ensures that Teslas remain reliable and efficient over time without the need for early battery replacement.
Exactly how long a Tesla battery will last varies on several factors, including charging practices, environmental conditions, and overall vehicle use.
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John is the Editor and Spokesperson for Electric Car Guide.
With over 20 years of writing experience, he has written for titles such as City AM, FE News and NerdWallet.com, covering various automotive and personal finance topics.
John’s market commentary has been covered by the likes of The Express, The Independent, Yahoo Finance and The Evening Standard.