Replacing an EV Battery
Battery technology is changing at an astounding rate. The cost of batteries is going down and expected to continue to drop. Plus, EV battery packs have a warranty from the automaker of eight years or 100,000 miles. Add to that the fact that today’s batteries are built to last longer than the cars they serve. Chances are that you will sell your EV for another zero-emission vehicle long before you need to replace the battery.
But that’s not the question, is it? The question on the table today is, what would it cost to replace the battery pack in your EV? Let’s find out.
The Cost to Replace an EV Battery
Depending on the EV you drive, replacing the battery pack could be free if your car is still under warranty, or it could cost up to $20,000 depending on the make and model of car. It could also cost as little as $2,500 to replace the battery.
The batteries used in hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius are smaller and less expensive to replace than the big heavy battery packs found in vehicles such as the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck or Tesla Model S. For instance, replacing the battery in a Prius might only cost you $2,700 while replacing the battery pack in that Tesla could set you back up to $20,000.
Actually, battery replacements are fairly rare and there isn’t much information out there on costs to replace EV batteries. So, consider that the cost of batteries will continue to drop as more people purchase EVs. The price you would pay today will be more than it would be if you replaced the battery ten years from now when it is showing signs of age through battery degradation.
The price for lithium-ion battery packs has declined nearly 20 percent since 2007. Let’s look at replacement battery costs for a Tesla, since the Model S has been available since 2012. As of the year 2020 a replacement battery would run around $16,000 before adding in the cost of labor to install it. However, it is predicted that the combination of new battery technology, competition, and the reduction of overall battery costs in the future could mean that if you replaced the same battery for a Model S in 2025, it might cost you around $7,000.
In a 2019 report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the independent non-profit organization’s research projected replacement battery costs in 2025 could be $89 per kWh and by the year 2030, the rate would drop to about $56 per kWh. As of 2020, the average cost per kWh was $137 and the average EV battery holds 40 kWh for a total replacement cost of $5,480. Keep in mind that some EV batteries accommodate up to 100 kWh at a price of $13,700.
Real-World Replacement Costs
So far, we have only talked about the replacement battery cost through the manufacturer. But third-party batteries could cost less. Companies such as hybrid2go and evsenhanced.com offer full-service battery replacement with lifetime warranties.
What would it cost to replace the battery in a few of America’s favorite all-electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt? As of this writing, the battery would cost approximately $6,200 for the Leaf and $16,000 for the Bolt. The popular BMW i3’s replacement battery runs around $13,500. However, you can find replacement batteries for both the Bolt and the i3 on eBay for as little as $2,500.
The vehicles that offer the most range, and therefore have the largest battery packs, obviously cost more to replace. The Tesla Model 3 will take you over 300 miles on a charge and the replacement battery costs around $16,000. Labor costs to replace that Tesla battery will run you an additional $2,300. That’s because swapping out the battery pack on most electric cars is a complicated task, similar to replacing the engine in a gasoline-powered car.
While the physical labor only takes a day or so, getting the replacement battery can take weeks. Also keep in mind that not all battery replacements mean that you need to replace the entire battery pack, Sometimes the mechanic can just replace the defective cells to save you time and money.