Many electric vehicle owners and people interested in EVs wonder how much EV batteries cost. This is because of the possibility of replacing the battery during the electric car’s lifetime. In this article, we look at how much a new EV battery pack costs and how much you may have to pay for a replacement.
However, it’s important to answer the important question first, should you even worry about battery replacements?
How likely are you to replace your EV’s battery?
EV makers generally offer 8-year or 100,000 km warranties. Some models come with 160,000 km. This shows the level of confidence these manufacturers have in the battery. However, most batteries last more than a decade, which is longer than most people keep their cars.
This is thanks to multiple safety features built into the battery. So, you will most likely not have to do a battery replacement for your EV’s lifetime.
However, sometimes, the unexpected happens, and your EV battery gets faulty within the first few years. In this case, you do not pay for the replacement since it will still be under warranty.
In addition, EV makers are continuously making their batteries better through research on good battery materials and component arrangements. This means your EV battery keeps getting better. Tesla, for instance, has promised a battery that will last a million miles.
However, what if you find yourself in the position to pay for a battery replacement?
How much does an Electric car battery cost?
The battery is crucial in any EV. Without it, the car does not move an inch. It is also the single heaviest component. In addition, the battery is the costliest single part. Up to one-third of the cost of the average EV can come from the battery alone. This is why electric cars usually cost significantly more than their ICE counterparts.
However, while battery prices are generally high, the fact is that they are dropping. For instance, battery prices were around US$1100/kWh in 2010 but have now fallen to about US$137/kWh. By 2024, the prices should hover around the US$100/kWh, at which point an electric car will cost about the same as an ICE, according to Bloomberg NEF. By 2030, the price should have fallen further to US$58/kWh.
This means a Kona Electric with a 64 kWh battery should cost about US$8,750 from the battery maker in 2022 and US$6,400 by the middle of the decade. However, if you purchase a Kona Electric in 2022 and you need to replace the battery after 2030, by which time it should be out of warranty, the battery alone may cost about US$3,700.
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How much does an electric car battery replacement cost?
The cost of a battery replacement is actually a lot more than the cost of the battery. This is because you can’t order a new battery online and fix it yourself. Except you are a qualified technician and have all the necessary tools, you need to use an EV workshop. Since you will have to pay for the services, the cost increases.
Many EV makers have their own facilities where they can carry out battery repairs. If under warranty, you simply drive or tow your EV to the repair center and leave the rest to the technicians at no cost to you. If a warranty no longer covers you, you will be given a quote for the replacement.
Just how much can the EV maker charge you? That obviously depends on the car model and any other services rendered. There may be other factors like the location since importing the battery will increase the replacement cost.
Let’s use Tesla as a case study. In 2019, the CEO, Elon Musk, said the cost of replacement with a brand new battery module was between $5,000 and $7,000. Each Tesla car uses four or five modules, which means, barring an increase in cost, replacing all the modules in your Tesla car will cost you between US$20,000 and $35,000.
Last year, a Finnish Tesla Model S owner was given a quote for $21,000 for battery replacement. He found it excessive and opted to blow up the car and post the video on YouTube.
However, there is a way to reduce the cost of a battery replacement. If you opt for remanufactured packs, which are repaired battery modules, you may pay far less. There have been invoices shared on social media, where the car owner paid $13,500 for the battery pack itself and $2,300 for labor.
Other options include third-party repairers.
A YouTuber claimed he was given a quote of $22,500 by Tesla but was able to get it done at an independent shop for $5,000, less than 25 percent of Tesla’s offer.
However, you must be careful with using third-party replacements because many diagnostic tools remain unavailable to them, and they have to rely on hacks.
Tesla cars are more or less premium. So, if you own a non-Tesla EV, you can expect to pay significantly less for a battery replacement.
A new battery pack is expensive, although the cost keeps dropping. As such, a replacement without a warranty can be expensive, but the price you pay depends on the brand, your location, and whether you are using a third-party repairer or not. However, you may not have to worry about EV battery replacement because they are made to last as long as possible.