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This article was published on October 23, 2020

There’s no need to worry about your EV battery degrading over time

8% over six years won't affect your life

There’s no need to worry about your EV battery degrading over time
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Are you worried about buying an EV and in a few years time it not being able to travel as far on a charge as it did when it was new? Well, you probably don’t need to be all that concerned.

UK-based consumer reviews magazine Which? has surveyed over 1,000 EV owners to find out just how much the average EV battery degrades over the first few years of its life. By the looks of things, EV batteries don’t degrade as much as some skeptics would claim.

According to the 1,016 electric car owners surveyed between December 2019 and February 2020, EVs that are up to three years old showed only a 2% decline in battery capacity. Cars that are six years old showed a degradation of up to 8%.

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So, let’s put that through an example to make the real world of such decline in battery performance clear.

Take the undeniably popular — according to sales figures — European EV, the Renault Zoë, for example. It has a standard range of 245 miles per full charge. By the time that car is three years old it would have lost 4.9 miles of range.

At the six-year mark, it would have lost 19.6 miles. In the grand scheme of things, less than 10% degradation over six years is really nothing to be concerned about. Generally speaking, people don’t even keep cars for that long these days.

What’s more, most new cars are sold on lease deals which run for between one and four years. Meaning that drivers have the option of giving their old car back and getting a new one long before battery degradation ever becomes a problem.

That said, if you’re one of the few that pays the final lease payment and plans to keep it for a long time, you might still be worried about how the battery will fare after six years.

Most EV manufacturers guarantee their batteries and motors for up to eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. It’s also worth noting the average life of a car is about 10 years. It’s likely that other things will go wrong — as they could with any car — before the battery becomes an issue.

While battery degradation is a reality, it seems that it’s becoming a non-issue for new EV buyers.

Bear in mind, cars in the survey that are six years old use old battery technology. Many popular EVs from back then, like the Nissan Leaf, used passively cooled packs which have been shown to be less effective than actively cooled ones at protecting the operational lifespan of  EV batteries.

In short, if you’re buying a new EV today, you don’t need to worry about its battery degrading.

SHIFT is brought to you by Polestar. It’s time to accelerate the shift to sustainable mobility. That is why Polestar combines electric driving with cutting-edge design and thrilling performance. Find out how.

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