Replacing Tesla Model 3 batteries costs around $13,000

Elon Musk tweeted back in 2019 that Tesla's battery modules cost between $5,000 and $7,000 to replace on its Model 3 cars. But, they are a lot more.
Christopher McFadden

If you’ve ever owned anything that required batteries, from TV remotes to laptops, 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 cost of replacement batteries has occupied many experts and owner forums. In a tweet in April 2019, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, indicated that replacing battery modules in the company's Model 3 would cost between $3,000 and 7,000. Today, however, that cost has risen to around $13,000.

Not a bad price considering the current batteries are designed to last 200,000 miles (321,868 km) to 500,000 miles (804,672 km), equivalent to 1,500 cycles. Other sources indicate this might be significantly lower at around 200,000 miles (321,868 km) in the United States and 150,000 miles (241,401 km) in Europe.

Whatever the case, it's critical to note that the car has been designed so that only the battery modules, not the whole pack, must 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, remain 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.

Musk has previously shared images of the Model 3’s drive unit on social media that have reportedly been validated for over a million miles. Let’s say it was still looking pretty good.

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 being battery leader

Tesla has genuinely dedicated itself to designing and building the best batteries in the world. The American company has invested much of its resources in making it a market leader. Like all batteries, the ones in Tesla cars slowly lose their storage capacity over time.

Currently, Tesla offers an 8-year warranty on their Model 3 cars, up to 100K miles (160,934 km), whichever comes first. Also, Tesla promises that their batteries will keep 70% of their capacity even after regular 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 hows and whys of Tesla’s battery quest. By looking at Tesla's business and engineering decisions and the market as a whole, we can learn a lot about how electric cars and batteries will change in the future.