Technology How Long do EV Batteries Last?
EV batteries are more powerful than ever. And that’s not including their second lives.
According to the Electric Vehicle Council, 56% of Australians are willing to consider an electric vehicle for their next car purchase1. Along with purchase price, battery range, fuel savings and the environmental benefits of driving a car with zero emissions, a key consideration for many buyers is the longevity of an EV’s lithium-ion battery.
Based on the average Australian motorist driving 33km per day, all current model EVs can offer typical drivers at least a week of driving on a single charge.
But what about the lifespan of the batteries? As with the core components of fuel-driven vehicles, this ultimately depends on the usage conditions of the vehicle and battery. While electric batteries are designed for longevity, like all batteries, they will degrade slightly over time. In light of this, and to give customers a greater degree of comfort and certainty, Nissan offers an 8-year/160,000km state-of-health battery warranty*. This state-of-health warranty guarantees against battery capacity loss of less than 9 bars out of 12 bars (as shown on the in the vehicle capacity gauge) within the first 8 years or 160,000kms (whichever comes first).
The second life of EV batteries
Even at 75% capacity, a 39kWh battery remains a significant device for energy storage. A LEAF 39kWh battery at 75% capacity is still more than double the size of the 14kWh Tesla Powerwall 22, one of the most popular residential solar battery storage units on the market. So, after being retired from a vehicle, an EV’s battery can recharge and release electricity for years, offering incredible potential for storing and sharing energy3.
The industry is still in its infancy, but the myriad possibilities for giving a second life to EV batteries are already being explored. In Japan, Toyota has launched a program to reuse Prius hybrid batteries to run refrigerators in 7-11 stores4, and Nissan has installed used LEAF batteries to run solar-powered streetlights5.
The true potential of lithium-ion batteries lies in their ability to be linked with others to create large-scale battery storage systems. In Amsterdam, Nissan installed 148 new and used LEAF batteries to power the largest football stadium in the country, the 55,000 seat Johann Cruyff arena6. In Gothenburg, Sweden, a research project installed 14 retired electric bus batteries and solar panels to generate energy and power an apartment development7.
In Australia, Melbourne-based company Relectrify has developed intelligent monitoring software that increases a battery’s efficiency and extends its lifetime by 30%. This technology increases the viability of recycling EV batteries to create more affordable home and industrial storage solutions8.
An opportunity, and an obligation
The manufacturing of large-sized lithium-ion batteries is energy and resource intensive. While still a small fraction of vehicles on the road, electric car and bus production has already overtaken mobile phones and personal electronics as the largest user of lithium-ion. With sales of electric cars and buses expected to grow rapidly, the industry has both an opportunity and an obligation to ensure these powerful devices are active for as long as possible.
When an EV battery reaches its end of life, recycling programs are being established to ensure minimal volumes of material are sent to landfill, further reducing the footprint of a battery’s production.
*450km range tested to Australian NEDC ADR81/02 standard. 385km indicative driving range using the new WLTP test procedure for the European spec model. Note Australian model has not been tested using WLTP test procedure. Figures obtained after the battery was fully charged. Figures stated for the purposes of comparison amongst vehicles tested to the same technical procedures only. Actual real world driving range may vary depending on factors such as battery age and condition, driving style, use of heating/cooling, traffic conditions, weather conditions, any accessories fitted and vehicle load.