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How long is the lifespan of a Tesla battery?

Tesla Roadster Batteries Are Failing, Revealing End Of Life Symptoms

While the Roadster’s original battery packs are still going strong, the upgraded ones are dying.

Mar 24, 2023 at 2:02pm ET

Gruber Motor Company, a Tesla service provider with particular focus on the original Roadster, has released detailed information on how the battery packs in those cars are beginning to reach their end of life. According to the company, this info can teach us the symptoms to expect when multi-cell battery packs in the many long-range EVs that came after the Roadster begin to reach their end of life.

The video published on Gruber’s YouTube channel explains Roadsters with batteries reaching their end of life will experience a significant decrease in power when their packs begin to fail, being unable to exceed 60 miles per hour, safely merge onto a highway, or even go up hills. The symptoms are subtle at first, with what one affected owner describes as a «squishy pedal feel,» but then increase quickly, eventually rendering the car undriveable.

These findings, though, come from an unexpected source. Gruber has discovered that while Roadsters with their original 200-mile-range battery packs are still healthy, cars fitted with the upgraded 400-mile-range pack that Tesla began offering in 2016 are the ones starting to fail.

The very first Tesla Roadsters were sold back in 2008 and are now 15 years old. Gruber cites the automaker’s original Chief Technology Officer, JB Straubel, as claiming the expected lifespan of those original first-generation multi-cell battery packs was 10 years. However, Straubel himself, who owns one of the earliest Roadsters, remarked publicly last year he’s surprised to report his car is still going strong, and he has revised his estimate of the original pack’s lifespan up to 15 years. Gruber’s own data supports this, with the company reporting that most of the Roadsters it services with the original 200-mile-range battery pack are still healthy with no signs of slowing down.

Gruber In The News:

In 2016, Tesla began offering Roadster owners a larger, upgraded battery pack. The upgraded packs cost an eye-watering $32,000 but were claimed to double the Roadster’s range to 400 miles and extend their lifespan. These packs were fitted with upgraded 3.2 amp-hour 18650 cells compared to the 2.2 amp-hour cells used in the original packs. Despite the promise of a longer lifespan, these upgraded packs are the ones now failing.

Gruber began investigating the upgraded packs when it received two separate Roadsters for service, both with the upgraded battery packs, that were exhibiting identical symptoms its techs had never seen before. After a lengthy and technical investigation, Gruber concluded a «cell quality issue» was the root cause of the packs’ failure. Without final corroboration from Tesla, they theorize the upgraded packs sold between 2016 and 2019 were produced in the same production run and may deteriorate like this regardless of whether they’re frequently in use or sitting in a garage. Gruber states these packs never reached their promised full range of 400 miles either, eventually settling around a maximum range of 200 miles.

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Battery Pack End Of Life Stories:

The data gathered from Gruber’s investigation has ramifications beyond Roadsters with the upgraded battery pack. The Tesla Model S that followed the Roadster uses the same 18650 cells. This data can also teach every EV owner how to identify if their battery pack is reaching its end of life.

Gruber has shared its findings with Tesla. It’s even delivered an affected Roadster to one of the automaker’s service centers for further tests to corroborate its findings. The company reports Tesla’s Roadster Engineering team is working closely with them now to find a solution.

How Long Do Solar Batteries Last?


Not all solar batteries are created equal, so the life expectancy varies greatly.

Lower-end lead-acid batteries may only last about 3-5 years. However, if you opt for premium lithium-ion batteries (such as Tesla Powerwall or Enphase Encharge), they will probably last a good 10-15 years.

To help you understand why some batteries last longer than others, we’ll take a look at some key factors that impact life expectancy, including:

  • Lead-acid vs. lithium-ion technology
  • Depth of discharge
  • Battery storage environment
  • Maintenance

Rather speak to a solar professional? Contact Photon Brothers for a FREE in-home or virtual estimate: 720-370-3344 (Colorado) 805-351-3371 (California).

Battery storage can be a complicated subject, but the Photon Brothers team makes it simple and easy to navigate. When you speak with our licensed solar professionals, we’ll review all of your solar panel and battery options, including which ones will work best for your lifestyle and budget.

Lead-acid vs. lithium-ion technology

Lithium-ion batteries last significantly longer than lead-acid ones do.

But why is that?

  1. Lithium-ion batteries offer greater storage capacity. This means they can disperse more energy for consumption— and for longer periods of time— without being drained. We’ll discuss more on drainage below, but it’s important to know that it poses a big threat to your battery’s lifespan. If you use up too much energy, for too many times in a row, you risk draining your battery beyond the point of no return. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for lead-acid batteries. While much less expensive to purchase and install, homeowners frequently report having to replace them (due to overuse) after just a few years.
  2. Lithium-ion batteries are more energy-efficient. All batteries will decrease in efficiency over time, but because lithium-ion batteries average about 15% higher efficiency than lead-acid ones, you’ll enjoy longer (and more effective) use.
  3. Lithium-ion batteries charge faster. Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries can charge relatively fast. The reason this plays into lifespan is because you won’t risk draining your battery before it has a chance to recharge. As we mentioned above, frequent drainage can cut a battery’s life short.
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Depth of discharge

In the solar industry, battery drainage is referred to as “depth of discharge.” Meaning, the amount of energy that can be safely consumed without harming the battery’s charging capabilities.

If you frequently use more than the depth of discharge allowance, you risk burning out your battery completely. Then it won’t matter how old your battery is, its lifespan is over.

As a rule of thumb, lead-acid batteries shouldn’t be drained beyond 50% of their capacity. Comparatively, you can use up to 85% of a lithium-ion battery’s energy bank before its considered unsafe.

Depending on your energy needs (related to your climate or solar panel setup) you may require greater battery storage. To avoid depleting them through overuse, it pays to invest in premium batteries that offer a higher depth of discharge rate.

Battery storage environment

Solar batteries can take up a fair amount of space. If you fail to store yours in a safe environment, you risk limiting their lifespan.

For example, extreme temperatures can put strain on your batteries, causing them to drain more quickly. And if exposed to rain or water pooling, your batteries could begin to leak and then die completely.

Currently, Tesla’s weather-permitting guidelines state that Powerwalls will lose efficiency at negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit. So if temperatures drop into the negatives in your area, you may want to install yours inside the garage or in a dedicated shed or solar cabinet.

Solar cabinets can cost a few thousand dollars, but when you consider the cost of your solar battery investment, it’s well worth the protection!

Note: Some batteries cannot be installed at higher elevations. If you live above 7,500 feet, speak with a solar professional to learn about your solar battery options.


Certain kinds of lead-acid batteries need maintenance every few months. If you don’t keep up, your batteries won’t last as long.

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For example, flooded lead-acid batteries need to be regularly topped off with distilled water in order to operate. It’s also important to clean the battery terminals, otherwise you risk corrosion buildup.

If you’re a busy household— or you simply don’t want the stress of maintaining solar batteries— you might consider lithium-ion batteries. They require almost zero maintenance!

Want a FREE solar battery estimate?

Contact Photon Brothers today! During your free in-home or virtual consultation, one of our NABCEP-certified solar experts will provide you with honest and customized energy storage recommendations. We offer the most advanced solar batteries on the market, all backed by industry-leading warranties and a guarantee of 100% customer satisfaction.

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