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Electric car batteries - will you need to replace them?

Battery replacement

Many people worry about having to spend £20,000 or more to replace the battery in their electric vehicle (EV). While the battery is the most expensive part of an EV, a recent study shows that this isn't a big issue if your EV was made after 2015.

Recurrent Auto studied over 20,000 EVs and found that only about 2.5% had their batteries replaced. Older EVs are more likely to need a new battery, but for newer models, the rate is much lower. For EVs made before 2015, about 13% needed a new battery, while for those made in 2016 or later, it's only about 1% or less. The oldest EVs in the study, from 2011, had a higher rate of battery replacements, but this was due to various factors.

The study shows that newer batteries are better. Older EVs often have air-cooled batteries with poor thermal management, which leads to faster degradation. In contrast, newer EVs have improved battery chemistry and better thermal management systems, which help them last longer and handle frequent fast charging better.

Recurrent also found that battery packs have increased in size by 122% from 2015 to 2022. This means newer EVs start with more capacity, so even if they lose some over time, they will still last longer before needing a replacement. This trend is expected to continue, though the rate of increase in battery capacity may slow down because most new EVs already have enough range.

Future improvements in battery chemistry and thermal management systems will help batteries last even longer. There might also be major breakthroughs, such as the development of solid-state batteries, which many companies are working on.

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