EV Warranties and Exclusions
Warranty from Automakers
Most automakers have an 8 to 10-year warranty period on their batteries. This is because federal regulation in the U.S. that mandates EV batteries be covered for a minimum of eight years.
However, the terms of the warranty can vary. Some automakers only cover an EV’s battery pack against a complete failure, while automakers like Tesla, Nissan and Volkswagen will honor the warranty if the capacity percentage drops below a specified threshold, typically 60-70%, during the warranty period.
Before purchasing any vehicle, it’s best to check the warranty fine print. For example, the Nissan Leaf has a percentage guarantee of approximately 75%; however, they use their own measurement units represented in “bars.” A full Leaf battery has 12 bars, and the included battery warranty guarantees it for nine bars of charge.
Battery repairs can be expensive, so it is important to understand the exclusions or conditions that can impact the warranty of an EV battery. Some exclusions might include, but are not limited to:
- Use of non-standard charging
- Any damage caused by using or installing non-approved parts
- Using the battery as a stationary power source
- Any damage caused by opening the battery coolant reservoir
- Failing to install software or firmware updates
- Damages or failures caused by repairs performed by non-certified technicians
- Lifting the vehicle from underneath the battery instead of designated body lift points
- Failure to make repairs
- Using vehicle for towing and exceeding load limits
- General abuse or neglect
Hybrid Battery Warranties
Hybrid car batteries are similar to EV batteries; they are simply smaller. Since the engine and battery work together in hybrids, if one is not performing optimally, it will impact the other.
Hybrid batteries typically last a vehicle’s lifetime, with modern vehicles routinely reaching 100,000 to 150,000 miles. Accordingly, automakers usually offer a warranty for at least 80,000 miles. In most cases, you can expect to achieve over double that mileage without an issue. Some automakers such as Hyundai even offer lifetime warranties. As a result, if you’re the owner of a hybrid, you likely will never have to worry about replacing the battery.
There is also a time component to battery life — it degrades even if you don’t drive the car long distances. Hybrid batteries are designed to perform for at least 10 years. To cover any unexpected failure, time-based warranties are now standard in the industry. There is a federal mandate for warranties to cover eight years of battery life, so most automakers offer warranties of eight years or more.
If you're faced with replacing a battery on an out-of-warranty car, there's no need to panic. The cost of a new battery pack continues to decline. Some technicians can even install an approved used battery pack salvaged from a wrecked vehicle, which would greatly reduce the potential repair cost.