With improving battery tech, things will only get better in the future.
Tesla has released its 2022 Impact Report, therein revealing that its EV batteries last a lot longer than some may expect. The Impact Report is a long-term plan that maps out the automaker's sustainability goals. Tesla believes that it's not good enough just to produce electric cars and is aiming to make them more eco-friendly by implementing new measures.
We were very interested in Tesla's updated battery degradation estimates. The manufacturer claims its batteries lose only 12% of capacity after 200,000 miles. This is a very important factor to consider when buying a new electric vehicle. If the battery degrades, the vehicle is essentially useless, and the owner is faced with scrapping the EV, purchasing a new one, or replacing the battery pack. None of these are sustainable (or affordable) options.
Currently, Tesla's data only covers the Tesla Model S and Model X. The smaller (and newer) Model 3 and Model Y are presumably too new; the larger models have been available for a decade or so.
Tesla believes this slow rate of degradation means owners won't have to replace their battery packs. "Since we've been selling EVs for over a decade, we have a reliable data set that shows us battery degradation over time. We estimate that a vehicle gets scrapped after approximately 200,000 miles of usage in the US and 150,000 miles in Europe."
Of course, mileage isn't the only factor of battery degradation. The age of the battery is just as important, along with driving and charging patterns. Tesla is aware of this and intends to include these aspects in future datasets.
According to Electrek, data from thousands of Teslas shows that the larger 90-kilowatt-hour battery pack was prone to losing capacity quicker than the 85 kWh battery, and that the Model 3 and Model Y have shown strong battery capacity retention. Data shows less than 10% loss after 100,000 miles and 15% after 200,000 miles.
But not all of Tesla's batteries are standing up to the test of time. Tesla's first product, the Roadster, was offered a $32,000 battery upgrade in 2016. These batteries came from the 2013+ Model S and Model X, and the more sophisticated 18650 cells promised up to 400 miles of range, far better than the original figures. However, a prominent Tesla repair center found that these later batteries have already started failing; the car becomes inoperable. Tesla responded by saying it was investigating.
Either Tesla's report has overlooked these batteries in its report, or the rate of degradation is not what it seems. The automaker says it will "expand disclosure" once it has sufficient data.
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