How Long Does a Tesla Battery Last? - Their Rated Lifetime Mileage

By Nuno Cristovao

Electric vehicles like Tesla replace the traditional combustion engine with electric motors and batteries.

Tesla's batteries are integrated into their chassis
Tesla's batteries are integrated into their chassis
TechCrunch

Since electric motors have just a fraction of the moving parts of a combustion engine, the maintenance for electric vehicles is almost non-existent when compared to traditional vehicles.

Electric motors are extremely reliable and last a long time. So when someone is considering a Tesla or another electric vehicle, a common question is how long do the batteries last.

Teslas have large battery packs that give them a longer range than most electric vehicles. A Tesla battery pack can range from 65 kWh up to 100 kWh, giving some Teslas as much as 375 miles of range.

Factors That Affect Battery Life

How long an electric vehicle battery lasts will vary. There are various factors that will affect the lifespan of a battery. These factors fall into one of two categories, those under an owner’s control and those that are outside of our control, such as battery aging.

Lets first discuss those factors that we are in control of. A well maintained and cared for battery will increase its lifespan.

Avoid Low and High-State of Charges

Lithium-ion batteries, which most Teslas use degrade faster when they are left at a very low state, or a very high state of charge for long periods of time. That means that an owner should avoid using the battery all the way down or charging it to 100% on a regular basis.

Most Teslas should also not be charged to 100% for everyday use. Charging a battery to 80 or 90% for day-to-day use will greatly increase the life of the battery. This doesn’t mean that you can’t charge the battery all the way to 100% occasionally. A good example of when you’d want to charge your battery all the way would be when going on a road trip. However, it should not be done on a regular basis.

The exception to this rule is electric cars with lithium iron phosphate batteries (LFP). LFP batteries use a different chemistry and are not affected by very low or high state of charges. Tesla currently uses LFP batteries in their standard range Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

Tesla's feature thousands of small lithium-ion batteries
Tesla's feature thousands of small lithium-ion batteries
Electrek

Temperature and Climate

The temperature of a battery will also affect its battery life. There is a certain temperature range that a battery should stay within to prevent degradation.

The safe temperature range will vary based on whether the battery is being actively used.

This is one area where Tesla sets itself apart from the competition. Some EVs do not have thermal management systems for their batteries, letting the battery get as hot or cold as its environment.

This puts a great deal of stress on the battery and will cause degradation if the battery is left in cold or hot environments for prolonged periods.

Lithium-ion batteries will start to degrade when exposed to temperatures under 32°F or above 80°F.

Without a thermal system the power output of the car is also limited in order to prevent the battery from overheating.

Teslas have the best thermal management in any car. What this means for you is not only will the battery last much longer than in other EVs, but it will also allow the car to charge quicker and have higher performance.

Tesla battery management is fantastic and it is completely automatic. In fact, owners can’t even tell when their car is managing their battery’s temperature. It happens all automatically, while driving, charging or even while their car is sitting in a parking lot.

Reducing Fast Charging

Another factor that plays a role in battery life is extremely fast charging. Charging the battery at lower voltages is generally better for the battery than higher voltages.

Although the negative effects of fast charging are less severe than leaving your battery with a high state of charge, they should be limited if possible. We would recommend not using Tesla Superchargers as your main form of charging your Tesla.

Fast Discharging

In a similar manner in which fast charging routinely can decrease battery life, fast discharging on a daily basis will also have an affect on battery life.

Everyday driving with the occasional spirited drive is unlikely to have any affect on your car’s battery life. However, if a vehicle is raced on a track on a regular basis, it could lead to some negative effects.

Although fast charging or discharging can affect a battery’s lifespan, they are not major contributors.

Battery Aging

There are various other factors that will affect the lifespan of a Tesla battery pack. Factors that we won’t have any control over.

The biggest one of these factors is the age of the battery. The age of the chemicals inside of the battery will play a large role in determining the battery’s usable life.

Although lithium-ion batteries start to age the day they’re created, they can last up to 20 years.

Charge Cycles

Charging and discharging a battery is known as a charge cycle. Charge cycles are a large contributor to the lifespan of a battery. It’s why many batteries are rated by the number of charge cycles they can support.

One charge cycle is equivalent to using an amount of energy that is equal to 100% of the battery capacity.

For example, if you charged a battery to 100% and discharged it down to 50% twice, then that would be equivalent to one charge cycle.

Although Tesla doesn’t specify the exact number of charge cycles for their batteries, it is believed that they will last up to 1,500 charge cycles.

What Happens When a Battery Ages

As a battery ages and degrades, it will start to hold less of a charge. A battery that has degraded, may only hold 90% of its original capacity and that capacity will continue to drop as the battery continues to age.

Eventually, the battery will no longer have a practical use in the vehicle and will need to be replaced after many years.

It’s normal for a new Tesla to lose some capacity in its first year. We’ve seen degradation rates of up to 5%. However the battery degradation will generally stabilize after the first year and the degradation rate will drop.

Conclusion

There are many factors that go into how long a Tesla lithium-ion battery will last. Mindful owners can reduce battery degradation and increase their lifespan properly maintaining their battery.

Owners can let Tesla manage their battery state by leaving the vehicle plugged in and not charging their cars all the way to 100% on a daily basis, unless of course they have a LFP battery.

However, there are other factors that will also have a big part in how long a Tesla battery lasts.

Since there are many factors that go into how long a Tesla battery will last, the exact mileage someone gets out of a Tesla battery will vary.

Since we know that newer Tesla batteries have a lifespan of about 1,500 charge cycles, we can use that to estimate the battery's lifetime mileage.

Taking charge cycles and the car's EPA mileage into account, we estimate that the lower range Model 3's battery will last about 400,000 miles.

While at the higher end, the Model S has a 375 mile range according to the EPA, bringing the battery's lifetime mileage up to 560,000 miles.

In 2019, Elon Musk commented on the Model 3's battery longevity, saying that the Model 3 has a battery that should last 300,000 to 500,000 miles.

Although the car's battery may last only 300,000 miles, other parts of the car are designed to last much longer. The car’s body and drive unit are made to last one million miles. So even after the battery needs to be replaced, the car still has a lot of life left.

The average person in the US drives an average of 14,000 miles per year. If a Tesla battery only lasted 300,000 miles, it would still last approximately 21 years for the average driver.

Although Tesla is at the forefront of electric vehicles and battery development, work continues to find batteries that last longer, are cheaper to produce and have higher capacities.

Battery Warranty

All Teslas come with the typical new car warranty. However, Tesla offers a separate, longer, battery and drive unit warranty.

The exact battery warranty will vary slightly by model, but their terms are fairly similar. The warranties range from an 8 year or 100,000 mile warranty, all the way up to an 8 year or 150,000 mile warranty, whichever comes first.

The warranty is based on the battery holding a minimum of 70% of its capacity over the course of the 8 years.

Future

Battery technology has stayed stagnant for a long period of time. It’s only more recently that electronics and now electric vehicles are pushing for improved battery technology.

We’re likely to see tremendous improvements in battery technology over the coming years as companies figure out how to produce batteries with higher capacities and reduced weight.

Electric cars, boats and even planes will continue to push for improved battery technology.

Million Mile Battery

Tesla is currently developing higher capacity, structured battery packs that will decrease the weight of a vehicle, leading to better efficiency.

Tesla is developing their new structured battery packs
Tesla is developing their new structured battery packs
Electrek

One of Tesla’s goals with its new battery technology is to have a battery that will last one million miles.

Real World Battery Lifespan

Tesla released their first Model S in 2012, so there are now various Teslas with high mileage that give us a better idea of how long a Tesla battery will last in the real world.

Tesloop, a company that offers one-way Tesla rentals between major cities has several Teslas with high mileage. One of their vehicles racked up more than 400,000 miles, although the battery did need to be changed at 317,000 miles.

Another owner, Hansjörg Gemmingen has almost 900,000 miles on his 2013 Model S. His car has gone through two battery replacements during this time, but it’s a true testament to the longevity of Tesla’s batteries.

Keep in mind that these vehicles are 8 and 9 years old now and Tesla had only been creating cars for a few years when the vehicles were built.

Tesla has undoubtedly learned and improved their products since these early vehicles. We'd expect newer batteries to last even longer.

Tesla's Supercharger Team Shakeup: Firings, Rehiring, and Future Prospects

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently fired the entire Supercharger team, including Tesla’s head of charging – Rebecca Tinucci, after she pushed back on the extreme layoffs that took place right before the cut.

The Supercharger team consisted of over 500 employees, at least after the initial layoffs. In the following days and weeks, Tesla began to rehire some of the employees that it had fired.

Some Damage Done

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of the Supercharger team, contractors and site planners were left bewildered, with no contact from the Supercharger team that was responsible for payment, planning, and decision-making.

As this has played out, new Supercharger deployments have been reduced – stations that were already being built are being completed, but no new announcements have been made since t

It was dire news at the time - but it isn’t all bad.

Returning Employees

Now, more and more of the employees that were fired are beginning to return to Tesla, some of whom are announcing that they were asked to return to Tesla in their previous capacities.

George Bahadue, Senior Manager of Site Acquisition and Business Development commented on LinkedIn:

“Two weeks ago, I was asked to return to Tesla in my previous capacity heading up the business development and site acquisition for Tesla charging – I accepted.”

His reasoning to accept the position was a quote from Rebecca Tinucci:

“You work at Tesla because you hope to have at least a small impact on our collective future – aspirationally, to leave the world better for our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren – by accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. And that mission is too important to allow any distractions.”

New Stations Could be Coming Soon

With the restaffing of the Supercharger team, especially with the return of George Bahadue, we can expect that new Supercharger sites may be announced in the coming weeks, as the ripple effect from the layoffs begins to settle.

The rehiring of experienced staff suggests that Tesla and Elon Musk are still committed to the vision of maintaining and expanding its Supercharger network – the largest and most reliable charging network in North America, which is crucial for the mission to move the world to renewable energy.

Tesla Cuts Model Y Output in China – Economic Slowdown and Anticipated Project Juniper Launch

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently cut Model Y output in China, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Tesla’s production of the Model Y in China experienced a decline of approximately 18% in March, and 33% in April, versus the same time last year.

Output Cuts

These output cuts can be attributed to Tesla’s recent decision to reduce production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai by at least 20% from March to June 2024. This was attributed to an unnamed Spokesperson by Reuters last week.

This decision could be multifaceted – the primary reason being an economic slowdown in China as price wars continue to be waged between EV manufacturers, including Tesla. On the flipside, Tesla has continued its production of the updated 2024 Model 3, colloquially referred to as the Highland, with an increase of 10%.

Project Juniper?

The second reason for this slowdown could be the incoming arrival of the Model Y refresh – also known as Project Juniper. Tesla China has already introduced an updated Model Y with a unique cloth dash with similar ambient lighting as the Model 3.

The Model 3 Highland was also introduced in China before its introduction to other markets, including North America and Europe.

Juniper Upgrade Speculation

Not much has been seen about Project Juniper at this time, but we can expect a similar suite of upgrades that match the updated 2024 Model 3 Highland – including a new front fascia design, updated doors and dynamics, steering updates, improved control arms, ambient lighting, new seats, and improved range.

There is a continued expectation that Tesla is pushing back its Model Y refresh – its best-selling vehicle – to make a bigger splash. This could include newer features – like the Cybertruck’s Steer-by-Wire, front camera, or other upgrades and changes – like the lack of stalks on the rest of the Tesla line-up.

Tesla previously confirmed we’re not seeing the Juniper Y this year, this could be the time needed to retool and upgrade lines to prepare for its introduction sometime next year.

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