If you’ve ever owned anything that requires batteries, from TV remotes to laptop, you know that the battery - no matter how good - will require replacing at some stage. In some cases, this is a wildly expensive project.
With the rise of electric cars the question the cost of replacement batteries has occupied many experts and owner forums. In a tweet last week Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, indicated the cost of replacing battery modules in the companies Model 3 will cost about $3000 - $7000 USD.
Not a bad price considering the current batteries are designed to last 300,000 to 500,000 miles, which is the equivalent of 1,500 cycles. Its key to note that the car has been designed so that only the battery modules, not the whole pack needs to be replaced.
Battery life unknown
Batteries are complex creatures and exactly how long a Tesla battery can last and the final costs whether that is replacement or refurbishment remains to be seen. However, the car company is certainly trying to build cars that last. Musk has pointed out that the Model 3 was designed with a commercial truck mentality, that is for a million-mile life.
Model 3 drive unit & body is designed like a commercial truck for a million mile life. Current battery modules should last 300k to 500k miles (1500 cycles). Replacing modules (not pack) will only cost $5k to $7k.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2019
Musk has previously shared images of the Model 3’s drive unit on social media that has reportedly been validated for over a million miles. Let’s just say it was still looking pretty good.
Model 3 motor & gearbox still in good condition after driving 1M miles. Designed for ultra high endurance. https://t.co/LVO2clQZ3V— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 15, 2018
The Model 3’s body has also been designed for long life. The body of the popular electric car is made of ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum. This also adds to its safety reputation, and the family sedan is rated among the safest you can buy in its class achieving a perfect 5-star rating from the NHTSA.
Tesla commits to be battery leader
Tesla has truly dedicated itself to designed and building the best batteries in the world. The American company has invested so much of the company’s resources to make it a market leader in this area. Like all batteries, the batteries in Tesla cars slowly lose their storage capacity over time.
Right now Tesla offers an 8-year warranty on their Model 3 cars or a warranty to 160K, whatever comes first. In addition, Tesla offers a guarantee that their batteries will maintain retention of capacity to 75% under normal use.
Tesla is throwing resources at trying to improve its battery technology to make its cars and other battery systems better and better. Part of this push saw them acquire Maxwell Technologies. This will mean better and cheaper batteries in the future.
This detailed video from Real Engineering above goes deep into the how's, and why’s of Tesla’s battery quest. Analyzing not only Tesla’s business and engineering decisions but looking at the market broadly to offer some terrific insights into the future of electric cars and batteries generally.
Tesla knows that broad and rapid adoption of EV technology will rely heavily on how good batteries get and they are doing everything they can to be the best in the world.