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How often do Tesla batteries fail?

How long does a Tesla battery last?

Black Tesla Model 3 charging at an Enel X Way JuicePump 50 kW DC fast charger

Battery electric cars have only been around for about a decade, but in the last several years one electric car has broken the mold. The Tesla, in all its shapes, sizes, and configurations, stands above the fold as the epitome of an all-electric vehicle. Depending on the model, Teslas boast an average of 400 horsepower and zero to sixty acceleration time of three seconds or less.

This electric vehicle, engineered for driver ease of use and passenger comfort, is becoming a new favorite amongst car enthusiasts. Still, new consumers that are considering going electric want to know: How do electric cars work? How do you charge a Tesla at home? How long does it take to charge a Tesla? How long does the battery last? How often do you need to charge it? How much does Tesla supercharger cost?

How long does a Tesla battery last?

Before we get started, it’s important to clarify that there are two different answers to the question, “How many miles does a Tesla last?”

There, you will see models broken out by their charge times, and the expected EV mileage or range. The other answer, or what we aim to discuss here, is focused on Tesla’s battery degradation over time and mileage before a Tesla battery replacement is needed.

The degradation of the Tesla battery does not happen all at once. Unlike the battery in your gas-powered car, the battery in an electric car doesn’t die if you accidentally leave the lights on in the cabin.

This is a huge plus if you are somewhere that you don’t know where to charge your electric car. The lithium ion battery in an electric car is nothing like the lead acid battery in your gas-powered car.

Tesla vehicles are designed and manufactured for durability with the understanding that the batteries are the most expensive car component, so Tesla designed its battery capacity to endure exceptional conditions.

According to a private study on the longevity of Tesla batteries, the researchers found that the Tesla car battery should have no issue reaching the 500,000-mile mark. Clearly, drivers who are asking, “How many miles does a Tesla last?” really have very little to worry about.

Now, this staggering number does come with a few caveats. The first is that over time, the Tesla car battery does begin to wear down and lose charge like all other batteries.

Again, the degradation of a Tesla vehicle’s battery life does not happen all at once but rather very subtly, and in increments that would be nearly impossible for a driver to notice on a day to day basis.

For example, some Tesla owners have reported that their battery functions at approximately 95 percent of its original ability after only 50,000 miles. Depending on the Tesla model, a 5 percent decrease in battery range could equate to around 20 miles less distance per charge when starting at 400 miles of range.

The more interesting statistic comes from older Teslas. Those same cars that saw only a five percent loss in battery efficiency after the first 50,000 miles saw their battery decrease only another 5 percent in the next 100,000 miles.

Most Tesla owners with cars that past an odometer reading of higher than 150,000 miles report that their Tesla still operates with 90 percent efficiency when it comes to the battery. Based on these metrics, the company can postulate that a Tesla with 500,000 miles on it would still be able to operate at a minimum of 80 percent efficiency.

These numbers seem to point to the conclusion that Tesla vehicle batteries, while degrading over time, do so less drastically and at a slower pace than every other electric car battery. The Tesla battery, while it may lose power, does so in a way that drivers remain virtually unaffected.

The impressive thing about a Tesla comes from the evidence above wherein the older the car gets, the slower and more gradual the process of battery degradation becomes. It is for this reason that Tesla makers and owners believe that in some instances, their car could actually outlast them.


Faster, smarter, cleaner home EV charging

How much does it cost to replace a Tesla battery?

Despite the incredible longevity of the Tesla battery, there are those Tesla owners who still may want their EV battery replaced once they begin to see performance decline. While Tesla does not recommend battery replacement, there are a few options regarding battery replacement.

Pay for the battery replacement yourself

The first option is to pay out of pocket for your battery replacement. According to Interesting Engineering, the Tesla battery replacement cost is anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000. The price of an electric vehicle battery replacement is mostly dependent on the model and age of the vehicle, but there is good news regarding replacing the electric car batteries in a Tesla.

First, the entire battery pack doesn’t need to be replaced. Tesla CEO Elon Musk designed the Tesla so that should the need ever arise for a battery pack replacement, it wouldn’t require any wasted effort or capital. To pay for a Tesla battery replacement, only the lithium battery module needs to be bought and replaced and not the entire battery pack, as is the case with most other electric vehicles.

Use the Tesla Warranty

The second option for replacing a battery in a Tesla is to have it covered by warranty. You may have heard of Tesla’s warranty guarantees «infinite mile» coverage, but that is only on the drive unit itself, i.e., the actual body of the car.

The infinite mile guarantee is a relatively new Tesla policy that retroactively covers all previously manufactured Teslas as well. This first of its kind warranty was spurred by a chain of events wherein multiple Tesla models were running into problems with longevity regarding substantial parts within the drive unit. But the one part of the car that never faltered was the battery.

The Tesla battery is under warranty for eight years, or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. As you may recall 50,000 miles is typically when Tesla’s begin to show the first signs of gradual failure. While some consumers point to the 50,000-mile mark as a point of contention, most Tesla owners never even notice a change in their battery’s ability.

Overall, the battery capacity of the Tesla is significantly more impressive and more durable than its predecessors and contemporaries.

The Tesla battery is a feat of modern engineering that seems to be one of the company’s greatest achievements. All indications from Tesla, whether it’s a snippet of early press, or the recent «infinite mile» claim, point to their battery technology as being far and away superior to other cars.

According to the company’s founder and CEO Elon Musk, Tesla vehicles are designed for a one million mile life. If this claim is valid, there will be many Tesla owners who will only ever have to buy one more car for the rest of their life.

Then again if this claim is true, the rise in Tesla ownership will be swift and long-lasting. This claim certainly piques the interest of any future car owner whose primary point of contention is long term reliability, longevity, and durability.

The rise of the electric car has put to rest all of the crutch arguments that were once used to keep the gas-powered vehicle at the top of the automotive food chain.

The Tesla especially has proven that electric vehicles can be the safest, just as cost-effective, and more powerful than its gas-powered car equivalents.

Charging at a Tesla Supercharger station will cost you about $0.25 per KWH. On the other hand, having your own charging station will definitely save you on costs.

Plus, with a home electric car charger becoming more convenient than visiting a gas station and a more sustainable option, it’s no wonder that these cars are becoming more popular.

Need a Tesla EV charging station? With JuiceBox, get all the power you need now and future proof your electric vehicle driving life with a universal charging station. Our smart home chargers are compatible with all electric cars—perfect for Tesla drivers who own or plan to own more than one make of EV.

Our Tesla Model 3 Has Lost 7 Percent of Battery Capacity in 24,000 Miles

If our car’s battery continues to erode at this rate, it will qualify for replacement under Tesla’s warranty.

By Dave VanderWerp Published: Jan 13, 2021

2019 tesla model 3

Michael Simari | Car and Driver

  • Battery packs in electric vehicles slowly lose capacity to store energy over time.
  • Our long-term Tesla Model 3 has so far lost 7 percent of its capacity over 24,000 miles.
  • All EVs have lengthy warranties on the battery pack to assuage buyers’ potential fear of expensive replacement costs.

Much like the little lithium-ion pack in your cellphone, the battery in an EV slowly loses its ability to store energy over time. In the case of an electric car, this degradation in its total energy capacity means that its maximum range shrinks over time. There are many factors that play into this. Some are choices by the various automakers (such as how much of the battery’s total capacity to make available; narrower swings in the state of charge are friendlier to longevity) and some based on the owner’s behavior. For example, our long-term Tesla Model 3 specifies that charging above 90 percent shouldn’t be done for daily use, only for trips, although it doesn’t explicitly say what the long-term ramifications might be for regularly going above that threshold.

We were of course curious to see how our car’s pack is faring over time, and the geektastic TeslaFi software we’ve used to track our car’s more than 24,000 miles and each of the 842 times we’ve plugged it in has an answer. (Seriously, if you have a Tesla, sign up for TeslaFi.)

Living with a Tesla

TeslaFi’s battery-tracking tool puts our pack at 93 percent of its original 75.0-kWh capacity, a loss of about 22 miles of rated range from the original 310-mile EPA combined figure. This is based on the range data from the nearly 500 times we’ve charged our car to 90 percent of its capacity or above (see graph below). In cases where we charged to less than 100 percent, which is the vast majority, TeslaFi does a linear extrapolation to arrive at the predicted range at 100 percent (e.g., if the battery is charged to 90 percent and the range figure is 270 miles, the extrapolated 100 percent range figure = 270 / 0.9 = 300). Compared to 158 other Model 3s at similar mileage that are also connected to TeslaFi, our car is faring worse than 123 of them and better than 35.

We’re not too surprised that we’re doing worse than average, as fast charging at Tesla’s Superchargers is not great for maximizing the battery’s life, and we’ve gotten fully a third of the energy our car has used that way. Supercharging also costs about twice as much per kilowatt-hour of energy than charging at home.

teslafi battery degradation graph


Our battery’s degradation thus far equates to a drop of roughly 2.9 percent in pack capacity every 10,000 miles, which, if it continues at this rate, would put us at 65 percent capacity at 120,000 miles. That’s under the 70-percent-capacity retention specified in Tesla’s eight-year/120,000-mile battery warranty for the Model 3 Long Range. However, Tesla makes it clear that in the case of a warranty claim, the car won’t necessarily get a new battery, but one that at least meets the minimum 70 percent threshold.

We’ll continue to watch this battery degradation trend and let you know where our pack ends up at the end of our 40,000-mile test.

Director, Vehicle Testing

Dave VanderWerp has spent more than 20 years in the automotive industry, in varied roles from engineering to product consulting, and now leading Car and Driver‘s vehicle-testing efforts. Dave got his very lucky start at C/D by happening to submit an unsolicited resume at just the right time to land a part-time road warrior job when he was a student at the University of Michigan, where he immediately became enthralled with the world of automotive journalism.

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