Tesla’s Impact Report says its EV batteries lose 12% capacity after 200,000 miles

Worried if you’ll have to change your EV battery anytime soon? Tesla says you shouldn't be...

Tesla has revealed that its batteries degrade by just 12 per cent even after 200,000 miles of usage and claims that they can last for the EV’s lifetime, with users not having to worry about replacing batteries.

The Austin-based manufacturer has been producing electric vehicles since 2008 (anyone remember Roadster?), and has some of the most experience in EV batteries in the industry.

In a new report outlining its plan for a sustainable future published yesterday, the company announced that based off Model S and Model X’s data after 200,000 miles of usage, its batteries lose just 12 per cent capacity on average.

On average a vehicle gets scrapped after approximately 150,000 miles of usage in Europe and 200,000 miles of usage in the US, according to Tesla’s report, meaning there won’t be any need for users to tinker with the Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries and swap them out for new ones.

Battery degradation, which represents the loss in capacity and range over time with increasing mileage, is one of the biggest concerns of new electric vehicle buyers.

This should come as a good news for any current or future Tesla-owner, and their wallets, considering how expensive replacing a battery is, as well as for the environment since it means the battery can be in operation as long as the car is, without the need for it to be removed for recycling.

Graph from Tesla showing 12% battery degradation for Model S/X over 200,000 miles
Tesla Model S/X battery capacity with usage (Tesla Impact Report 2022)

However, this latest report doesn’t quite agree with other figures Tesla has released. In last year’s Impact Report, the company founded by Eberahard and Tarpenning in 2003 had said its EV battery degradation was only about 10 per cent, marking a huge increase in longevity over 2020, when it said the number was 20 per cent.

> Review: Tesla Model 3

However, Tesla said that mileage is only one factor in battery capacity retention. Anyone who’s used a modern electronic device such as a mobile phone or laptop will know that Li-Ion batteries have a fixed number of charge cycles, but they still lose capacity, even when not actively charged and discharged.

Although EV batteries are designed for way more charge cycles than your iPhone or Chromebook, Tesla pointed out that the use frequency of its models would also affect the battery retention.

“Retention figures at lower mileages above likely reflect the impact of age while higher mileage values, which come from high-utilisation vehicles, likely reflect less influence from battery age,” said Tesla in the report.

The automaker also announced that it will start disclosing other datasets for new battery chemistries used in more recent vehicles like Model 3 and Model Y soon, once it has enough data from vehicles that have reached the necessary mileage. Anyone wondering how long Tesla’s going to take for collecting data from Cybertrucks then?

In other news, Tesla also announced that its budget-friendly Model 3 was the first EV to be priced at par with a premium internal combustion engine (ICE) sedan from Audi, BMW or Mercedes, starting at $39,900 in the US, but £42,990 in the UK.

It also added that Model 3’s total cost of ownership per mile is similar to a Toyota Corolla. “While the “sticker price” of Model 3 is similar to an equivalent BMW or Audi, the lifetime running costs of EVs are lower than those of ICE vehicles due to lower maintenance costs, cheaper electricity and the high residual value of used Tesla vehicles,” said Tesla.


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