One of the worries that many people have about switching to electric vehicles is battery capacity. This is not just about range anxiety and how far the vehicle can be driven on a single charge, but also about how long the batteries will last before there’s a deterioration in their performance and an expensive replacement is needed.
As you’ve no doubt noticed with other battery powered devices, like your mobile phone, tablet or electric razor, over a few years, the more a battery is recharged, the less energy it holds. This means that over time, the amount of time your device will run for gets shorter and you end up recharging it more often.
This same problem applies to electric cars – as the vehicle ages, the amount of charge the batteries will hold declines and therefore the range of the vehicle reduce. This is part of the reason why some manufacturers choose to lease the batteries to vehicle owners rather than sell them outright.
The power of the crowd
Tesla cars are not immune from this phenomenon, but a new study of data crowdsourced from Tesla users of the Model S and Model X vehicles on an online forum suggests that they fare better than others.
The Dutch-Belgium Tesla Forum tracks battery use data from over 900 Tesla users around the world. These numbers are then extrapolated to give a picture of the likely battery performance of Model S and Model X cars over their lifetime.
These figures show that a Tesla’s battery life declines by around one percent for every 30,000 miles it’s driven. That may sound like a lot, but when you consider that the average motorist in the UK does only around 10,000 miles per annum, it would be three years before there was any real difference. A Tesla would still have 92 percent of its battery life at 150,000 miles – by which time, most internal combustion cars would be heading for the scrap heap. Tesla batteries could still retain 80 percent capacity at 500,000 miles.
These findings are echoed by the experience of Tesloop, an inter-city shuttle service using Tesla rental in London. It has had its first vehicle pass the 300,000 mile mark, incurring only $11,000 in maintenance costs along the way.
All of which presents a good long term picture for Tesla users, meaning they can have confidence in the performance of their vehicles for the long term. The fact that companies are now offering Tesla rental is also a strong sign of confidence in the brand and its durability.
As the new Model 3 begins to arrive on the market, the Tesla ownership and driving experience will be available to more people. Rentals also make it easier for people to try out the vehicles on an extended basis to see how they get on with an all-electric driving experience.
News that the batteries can be expected to deliver a long life with minimal deterioration can only increase confidence in the Tesla brand and contribute to the continued success of the company and its vehicles.