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How Long Will My Tesla Battery Last? - Updated

If you’re looking to buy an electric vehicle, or already own one, you probably have concerns over battery life. You want to know, how long is my battery going to last? It’s true that over time batteries can fail, or lose capacity from mileage or age. There are other factors, like extreme heat, that can make your battery lose capacity faster as well. After extreme heat caused their batteries to defect, Nissan now warrants against battery capacity loss (under 70%). Many other EV-makers, Tesla included, have battery warranties against malfunctions or defects up to 8 years.

Above: Tesla Model S (Instagram: socaltesla114)

But if you’re worried about battery life, you need to remember there’s a distinction between battery malfunction and capacity loss. Tesla’s policy is that, if your battery stops working within the 8 year warranty, they’ll repair or replace it for you. If your battery stops working, that’s a malfunction. Capacity loss, where your battery retains less charge, is inevitable. Even if it’s not in use, batteries still lose charge over time. Starting with the Model 3, Tesla began to offer a 70% battery capacity retention guarantee. A brand-new Tesla starts out with plenty of range, enough to handle your daily commute, even if it starts losing 5 to 10 percent of its original capacity over a few years. But you still might have hang ups over how long your battery will last. So we’ll tell you what to expect.

Above: Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S (Image: InsideEVs)

When the Model S came out, Tesla hadn’t revealed any official figures on average capacity loss. That kind of information just isn’t readily available from automakers. In order to fix this, Tesla owners have taken matters into their own hands and gathered that data themselves. In 2015, Maarten Steinbuch and Merijn Coumans, working together with a Dutch-Belgium Tesla Forum, created a public spreadsheet for Tesla users that lets them post information about their EV’s remaining battery capacity. The Tesla Battery Survey is a Google Doc that allows any Tesla owner to participate. Although the project started in 2015, as of 2020 it’s still being updated.

Above: Tesla's battery pack (Source: Charged)

In 2017, Ben Sullins, of the Teslanomics podcast, took Steinbuch and Merijn Coumans data and created an interactive cluster chart with results measured by vehicle age or mileage, and could be broken down by region. The data clusters together nicely, and shows that most users are retaining 90% of their battery’s capacity, even as they reach six-figure digits on their odometer.


Above: Looking at the impact of charge cycles on battery degradation and how it reduces vehicle driving range (Source: Teslanomics)

A few months later, in July, Sullins created an update. In his update, he determined Tesla batteries will hold up to 80% of their original capacity over 310,000 miles. The average driver, who drives 13,5000 annually, would not need to replace their Tesla’s original battery for over 23 years.

Steinbuch and Coumans were not the only ones gathering data either. Plug In America created a similar survey, and found once again, most drivers are retaining over 90% of their original capacity. Anecdotal evidence gets even wilder. Shuttle service Tesloop announced their first Model 3 fleet vehicle crossed 200,000 miles and lost only 6% of its original range. Since then it crossed the 300,000 mile marker and it’s still going strong. That’s not even getting into the zero maintenance costs they needed!

Skeptics will tell you that, since all the information is self-reported, it’s not truly a scientific survey. Both the Steinbuch and Plug In America survey participants are self-selected, and may not represent that average Tesla owner. However, in 2019 Tesla released an Impact Report with fleet data. The data determined that, even after 200,000 miles traveled, the Tesla Model S and X batteries still held well over 80% of their range. So if you’re still worried about your battery capacity, rest easy! Tesla batteries are designed to outlast the vehicle. And as the company continues to innovate new technology, they may continue to make batteries that last even longer than before.

Above: Looking at the impact of charge cycles on battery degradation and how it reduces vehicle driving range (Source: Teslanomics)

Above: Tesloop's Model S has driven heavy mileage via its city-to-city limo service (Instagram: tesloop)


Above: Looking at the lifespan of a Tesla battery and how long it will last (Youtube: Teslanomics by Ben Sullins)

Because of its popularity, this blog post was updated/edited by EVANNEX staff in February, 2021.


Source: Teslarati via Teslanomics