EV battery replacement cost
Battery replacements for our sample vehicles averaged between $4,000 and $18,000
Although the powertrains in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) require less maintenance than internal combustion engines, the high-voltage batteries that power their electric motors can fail eventually.
We reached out to five mechanics and technicians from different parts of the U.S. to see how much an EV battery replacement costs for different vehicles, and the average results ranged from $4,489 all the way to a staggering $17,658.
Keep reading to find out what an EV battery is, how long it lasts, how to know if yours is going bad, what it might cost you to repair or replace yours and whether a warranty can help.
- All EV batteries will eventually fail to hold a charge and require replacement.
- It’s hard to pinpoint how long EV batteries will last, but most have a life span between eight and 15 years.
- Sourcing a replacement EV battery from anyone but your car’s manufacturer is nearly impossible, which is the main reason replacement costs are so high.
- EV battery repair is a growing industry that may help you avoid the high cost of a replacement, but it’s not commonly available yet.
What is an EV battery?
Both hybrid vehicles and EVs use high-voltage batteries known as “traction” batteries, but they use them in different ways:
- Hybrid vehicles have traction batteries that work in conjunction with a small internal combustion engine to propel the vehicle forward and recharge the battery.
- Plug-in hybrid vehicles take this concept a bit further by providing a slightly larger EV battery that can provide 15 to 42 miles of total range before the internal combustion engine kicks in to charge the traction batteries and provide forward motion.
- Electric vehicles don’t have any internal combustion engines. Instead, they use huge traction batteries to power the multiple electric motors in each vehicle.
Most EVs and hybrid vehicles also have auxiliary, 12-volt batteries (like those used in gas-powered cars) to power low-voltage systems throughout the vehicle, but don’t confuse these small batteries with the traction batteries that make these cars go.
Traction batteries are typically assembled in a series of battery modules that are connected to make a battery pack. Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of battery module found in these battery packs.
How long do traction batteries last?
All batteries, regardless of design, will eventually experience diminished capacity and require replacement. This is not unique to EVs — anything with rechargeable batteries (smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, etc.) will suffer the same fate after multiple charging cycles. How a device is charged and how quickly that energy is depleted also determines how long a battery will last.
There's no hard-and-fast rule for how long a traction battery can last. There are anecdotal stories of Tesla batteries lasting well over 300,000 miles and Prius owners pushing their hybrids to well over 500,000 miles, but the data at this time is limited. Since widespread use of EVs has occurred just the last few years, there’s no definitive way to tell what the average battery life span will be quite yet.
What we can tell you is that electric vehicles sold in America comes with a very generous warranty — usually eight years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). Some warranties only cover the EV battery if it no longer holds a charge at all, while others will cover the replacement of any EV battery that has dropped below 60% or 70% of its maximum capacity.
Popular models like the Toyota Prius have batteries that generally last eight to 15 years, while pure electric models like the Nissan Leaf have batteries that last around eight to 10 years.
Symptoms of a bad EV battery
There are several signs that might indicate your traction battery is nearing its end:
- Reduced fuel economy (hybrids only): If you suddenly notice that your overall fuel economy on your hybrid isn’t as good as it used to be, your traction battery may be going bad.
- Fluctuating charge levels: If your EV battery says that it's fully charged one minute and empty the next, you may have an issue with your battery pack.
- Low battery after sitting: If you park your EV and the battery is low by the next morning, you almost certainly have a failing battery.
- Loud fan noises: If you constantly hear the fans running on your EV, that could mean the battery is overheating and may fail soon.
Can you repair an EV battery?
Repairing an EV battery is a relatively new concept, but it is gaining momentum. Carl Medlock of the independent EV repair shop Medlock & Sons in Seattle, Washington, told us how EV battery repair works:
“EV batteries are made of three components: cells, modules and packs. … Once a customer comes in with an issue, we diagnose the problem with our equipment and try to isolate the modules that have the problematic cells inside of them. Our team then replaces the modules and retests them for efficacy.”
However, there are only a select few shops that have the knowledge to work on EV batteries currently. “The industry is in its infancy, but this will be a problem more and more people will need to deal with,” said Medlock. As a result of this scarcity, it’s hard to nail down the cost of repairing an EV battery, and there are so many variables that giving a price range is impractical.
How much does it cost to replace an electric vehicle battery?
Replacing an EV battery, regardless of the type of electric vehicle, is an expensive undertaking.
The high costs involved come down to the price of the battery itself, which can be north of $10,000 for popular vehicles like the Tesla Model S or Model 3. Electric vehicle owners are limited in where they can get batteries, with most being forced to go through the manufacturer.
Used EV batteries are hard to come by, and they usually come secondhand from a wrecked EV. (Third-party manufacturing doesn’t really exist at the time of publishing.)
We surveyed mechanics around the country to get real-world estimates of how much an EV battery replacement costs in some popular hybrid and electric vehicles. Check out the results below.
|Vehicle||Average parts cost||Average labor cost||Average total cost|
|2014 Tesla Model S||$13,500||$1,500||$15,000|
|2014 Nissan Leaf||$17,269||$388||$17,657|
|2014 Toyota Prius||$3,858||$631||$4,489|
Replacing the traction battery in a Toyota Prius was significantly less expensive than a similar procedure in the all-electric Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S. However, estimates for replacing the Prius’ battery still weren’t cheap, at an average of nearly $4,500.
What if you have a warranty?
Federal law requires manufacturers to warranty EV and hybrid batteries for at least eight years or 100,000 miles. In California, this number jumps to 10 years or 150,000 miles. These warranties cover the traction battery and its related components, similar to the powertrain warranty on a gas-powered vehicle.
Toyota has largely made its 10-year/150,000-mile hybrid battery warranties and 8-year/100,000-mile EV component warranties an industry standard. Tesla also offers warranties for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first — with a minimum 70% retention of battery capacity over the warranty period.
Extended warranty options are available for hybrid and electric vehicles. Extended warranties for hybrid vehicles cost about as much as warranties for internal combustion vehicles, but there are limitations around the traction battery and the EV drive components.
However, the cost of an extended warranty may still be justified if things not related to the hybrid or EV drive systems go wrong.
Frequently asked questions
How do hybrid cars work?
Hybrid cars use a combination of electric motors and an internal combustion engine to move down the road. Electric power is generally used while the vehicle is at a stop or at low speed; gasoline power provides additional range and extra power when needed. Hybrid systems may also use some of the energy produced by braking to replenish their traction batteries.
How long do EV batteries last?
In general, EV batteries last eight to 15 years. The longevity of an EV battery depends on the number of cycles it goes through, the type of use and the weather conditions the car is exposed to regularly.
Do extended car warranties cover EV batteries?
In general, extended warranties do not cover EV batteries. However, many manufacturers offer longer-than-normal warranties for both hybrid batteries and EV components.
Some of the most prominent hybrid vehicle and EV manufacturers offer warranties on traction batteries that go above and beyond federally mandated requirements. However, if you find yourself outside of those warranties and in need of a replacement, you’ll probably be on the hook for a serious bill.
While a large bill from the mechanic may be enough to make fixing your car impractical, some consumers will want to pursue that route. If you need help paying for your new EV battery, consider a personal loan, and if you want to cover the other parts of your vehicle against breakdowns and malfunctions, consider an extended auto warranty.
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