Is battery degradation still a huge issue for electric cars?
Electric vehicle battery news often centers on batteries being lighter, cheaper, more powerful, and capable of higher capacities than ever. However, relatively few talk about EV battery degradation over the years. It’s an impactful issue, as battery replacements, if needed, can cost thousands of dollars.
Automakers like General Motors, Nissan and Volkswagen, among others, will only replace a battery pack if the degradation gets to a certain point. That loss can be between 60 to 70 percent of the pack’s original life. before the warranty kicks in. Other warranty plans will only replace the battery pack if it experiences a total failure.
Comparing the top and bottom 10 EVs by battery degradation
In a report published by selectcarleasing.co.uk, we get a good look at how little (or how much) battery storage loss EV models go through over time. They established a long-term metric using the Nissan Leaf as it has been around the mass-market longest. The chart below shows that there can be up to a 20 percent loss in seven years. On the other hand, degradation in the first year ranges between 1-6 percent.
Keep in mind: automakers, including Nissan, improve their overall battery capabilities just about every year. The Nissan Leaf is now more efficient and (should) experience less battery degradation than the early models, according to automaker.
A look at a one year study of 20 EV’s battery degradation gives us a surprising selection, especially the top 10 least degrading battery. All of the elements used to measure these EVs wasn’t made entirely clear, please read the quote below:
“Select Car Leasing analysed 64 electric cars released between 2012 and 2019 to determine if strides are being made by car manufacturers to improve the battery degradation rates of their vehicles. Select also investigated which current 2019 model has the most durable battery, whether you should go new or used for your electric and revealed top tips on how you can make your EV battery last longer.”
Still, the results on the table below seem to be in line with other research we’ve encountered. While this list was based on models sold in the United Kingdom, a majority of these vehicles are (or were) sold in the U.S.
Plug-in hybrids experience greater degradation
As you can see, this list does includes plug-in hybrids as well. It’s worth noting that automakers, like Volkswagen, will soon be introducing all-new EVs that have significantly updated technology over their older offerings. In other cases, like the Nissan Leaf, improvements in first year EV battery degradation has improved greatly over the years.