EV Batteries 101: Degradation, Lifespan, Warranties, and Exclusions.

EV Batteries 101: Degradation, Lifespan, Warranties, and Exclusions.

Editor Wakesho

Replacing electric vehicle batteries can be expensive. Luckily, the batteries in EVs are built to outlast the cars they are in. Also, the car manufacturers have come up with excellent warranties on electric vehicle batteries.

An electric car battery warranty covers all the parts contained in your EV's high-voltage battery. The extent of this coverage varies among carmakers. Some carmakers will only replace the battery under warranty coverage if there is a failure. Unfortunately, that means the battery has to stop working to merit replacement. However, some carmakers will replace the EV battery if its capacity drops below a certain percentage. For example, Tesla and Ford provide warranties that cover replacement if the battery capacity drops below 70%.

The warranty includes comprehensive coverage that applies to parts and labor costs for covered repairs. Three or four years of coverage is typical, though a few extend this to five years. Powertrain coverage is usually in effect for a longer period, usually five or six years or more, and applies specifically to major mechanical components like the electric motor and transmission.

Not typically covered is scheduled maintenance service, wear-and-tear items like brake linings and windshield wiper blades, and failure caused by abuse or improper maintenance. Also, select components, most notably tires and dealer-installed accessories, can have separate warranties backed by the original equipment manufacturers, and come with their own exclusions.

Most automakers have an 8 to 10-year or 100,000-mile warranty period on electric car batteries. However, the terms of the warranty can vary. Some automakers only cover an EV’s battery pack against a complete failure. In contrast, automakers like Tesla, Nissan, and Volkswagen will honor the warranty if the capacity percentage drops below a specified threshold, typically 60-70 percent, during the warranty period.

It is advisable before purchasing any vehicle to check the warranty. For example, the Nissan Leaf has a percentage guarantee of approximately 75 percent; however, they use their own measurement units represented in “bars.” A full Leaf battery has 12 bars, and the included battery warranty guarantees it nine bars of charge.

But be aware that every new-vehicle warranty contains exceptions and exclusions aplenty. For example, some automakers only cover an EV’s battery pack against total failure, while most will replace it if it dips below a specified reduced capacity percentage, usually 60-70%, while under warranty. Coverage can be denied for reasons that include the use of non-standard charging and failing to install software or firmware updates, among others. Needless to say, it pays to check the fine print regarding warranty coverage at the dealership or via the manufacturer’s website to get the full story before signing on the proverbial dotted line.

EV Warranty Exclusions

An electric car battery warranty only covers specific items, with certain exclusions. Here is a list of those exclusions:

  • Damage from attempting to impact battery life using methods that the automaker hasn't approved
  • Damage from installing parts that the automaker hasn't approved
  • Damage caused by flood
  • Using the battery as a stationary source of power
  • Damage caused by exposure to direct flame
  • Damage caused by opening the battery's coolant reservoir
  • Failure to install vital software or firmware updates
  • Using the EV for towing (unless it has been equipped for this activity by the manufacturer)
  • Exceeding the EV's load limits
  • Inadequate or improper maintenance and repair
  • Damage from non-standard charging
  • Accident damage
  • Car vandalism
  • Improper vehicle storage

How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Last?

Electric batteries lasts for 10-20 years. They have longer lifespan than those of hybrid cars because electric car batteries are bigger and more powerful than those of hybrid. There are several factors that may limit the lifespan of the EV battery such as ,sweltering weather could cause the battery to degrade faster than usual. Also, frequently charging at a Level 3 station could result in overheating, which diminishes battery life. Fortunately, many EV manufacturers have safeguards to mitigate damage in these situations.

How Long Does Electric Car Battery Warranty Coverage Last?

The length of warranty coverage depends on the warranty type. For example, powertrain warranty coverage is typically longer than bumper-to-bumper coverage. Electric car battery warranties often have the longest coverage of all the warranty types available. The law requires carmakers to provide EV battery warranty coverage that lasts at least eight years or 100,000 miles.

The law varies according to different states, for example, California demands that all electric battery coverage must last for at least 20 years or 150,000 miles.

When Does an Electric Car Battery Warranty Start?

Coverage for an EV battery warranty begins at the date and mileage when the vehicle is first sold. For example, if you purchased your EV on November 22, 2023, that's the start date of your warranty coverage.

When Does an Electric Car Battery Warranty End?

EV warranty coverage includes mileage and time limits. Coverage ends when you hit one of these milestones. Know that your warranty protection ends when you hit the first milestone. It doesn't matter whether the milestone relates to mileage or time.

For instance, what if you have EV battery coverage lasting eight years or 100,000 miles? If you've driven 100,000 miles but have only owned the car for five years, coverage ends at the 100,000-mile mark. Conversely, if you have owned the car for eight years but have only driven your EV for 20,000 miles, coverage ends at the eight-year mark.

Are Electric Car Battery Warranties Transferable?

Carmakers often transfer warranties when ownership of an EV changes hands; however, this isn't always the case. So if you're shopping for a used EV, check to see if it has a transferable battery warranty.

How to maximize your car battery.

Any driver would prefer to maximize the battery to replacing it. Here are few tips to help in doing so:-

i) Update your car technology on regularly basis.

Your EV's battery is a connected technology that you can keep current via the latest system updates. Make sure to install updates as they come in. Doing so will help maximize the life of the battery. It will also ensure that you are within the terms set by your EV battery warranty. These warranties may deny coverage if regular updates haven't been performed.

ii) Charge at home instead of using Level 3 chargers

Level 3 charging – also known as DC fast charging – offers the most rapid charge and is excellent for road trips. But in daily use, it's best to charge at home using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. Automakers recommend this because frequent Level 3 charging may overheat the battery and cause it to lose capacity over time.

iii) Maintain a mid-level charge

In order to maintain the health standards of the battery it is recommended to have your battery charged between 20% and 90 % on daily use. Those are the guidelines recommended by EV automakers such as Ford. If you let the charge get below 20%, it may harm the battery, and charging over 90% isn't ideal either. For a road trip, it's fine to charge to 100%, but it's not ideal to regularly give the battery a full charge for everyday driving.

iv) Carefully read the manual.

Change can be uncomfortable sometimes. Most of us our first car was combustion engine, however, as a result of environmental conscious we have opted to switch to electric vehicle with this in mind we might not be aware of how to care for the EVs . It is therefore very important to go through the manual to understand how to care for our electric vehicles. The manual has information that can help optimize your electric vehicle health and its battery.


i) Dave Nichols(2023) EV Battery Warranties and Exclusions

ii) Warren Clarke (2023) Car Warranty Coverage on an Electric Car Battery