Electric vehicles like Tesla replace the traditional combustion engine with electric motors and batteries.
Tesla's batteries are integrated into their chassis
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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Ganesh Venkataramanan, Tesla’s project lead for its ambitious Dojo supercomputer project for the past five years, has left the company. Bloomberg reported this development, stating that the news was confirmed by sources familiar with the matter. Peter Bannon, a former executive at Apple Inc. and a director at Tesla for the last seven years, has now taken the helm of the project.
Venkataramanan's departure from Tesla last month is now stirring conversations about the potential impacts on Tesla's future initiatives. His contributions to the Dojo project have been pivotal, especially in designing the custom D1 chip that powers the supercomputer. Venkataramanan, with his extensive experience, including a significant tenure at Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), was a crucial asset in setting up Tesla’s AI hardware and silicon teams in 2016.
Dojo: A Cornerstone for Tesla’s Self-Driving Aspirations
The Dojo supercomputer is a critical element of Tesla's strategy to enhance its self-driving capabilities. Designed to train machine learning models integral to Tesla's autonomous systems, Dojo processes vast amounts of data captured by Tesla vehicles. This rapid data processing is essential for improving the company’s algorithms, with analysts suggesting that Dojo could be a significant competitive advantage for Tesla. In a recent estimation by Morgan Stanley, the project could potentially add $500 billion to Tesla’s value.
Elon Musk has been vocal about the company's commitment to the Dojo project, planning an investment exceeding $1 billion by the end of 2024. The project's importance was underscored in Tesla's decision to shift from relying on Nvidia Corp.’s supercomputers to developing Dojo, poised to rival systems from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and IBM.
Looking Ahead: Impact and Future Prospects
The recent leadership changes raise questions about the future direction of the Dojo project. Venkataramanan's exit, coupled with the departure of another critical artificial intelligence player from Tesla last year, Andrej Karpathy, signals a transition period for the company’s AI and self-driving teams.
However, Tesla's robust talent pool, blending experienced and emerging professionals, offers a silver lining. Bannon's promotion to lead the Dojo project is seen as a strategic move, leveraging his experience and insights gained from his tenure at Apple. Moreover, the recent installation of Dojo hardware in Palo Alto, California, marks a step forward in centralizing and enhancing the project’s capabilities.
Tesla’s ambitions for Dojo extend to making it one of the world’s top supercomputers. The company envisions reaching a computational capability of 100 exaflops* by October 2024, a testament to its commitment to advancing artificial intelligence and self-driving technology.
* Confused about "exaflops?" "Flops" stands for Floating Point Operations Per Second. It's a way to measure how fast a computer can process data. "Exa" means a billion billion, or 1, followed by 18 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000,000). So, when we say a computer can perform 100 exaflops, it can do 100 billion billion calculations per second. That's incredibly fast!
Tesla is adding a new 'High Fidelity Park Assist' feature in this year's Holiday Update
Following initial reactions to Tesla's 2023 Holiday Update, Elon Musk acknowledged the need for improvement, stating, "We need to step up our game." His post on X was followed by Tesla shedding more light on the Holiday Update than what was in the initial leak.
Call me old, but I remember a time when you bought a car, and that was it; the dealer and manufacturer didn’t give you anything else. So is the Tesla community acting a little bit spoiled here? Absolutely. But it also shows how high Tesla has set the bar with its previous Holiday Updates.
Initial Release and Feedback
The initial release of the 2023 Holiday Update, version 2023.44.25, received mixed reactions from the Tesla community, with some owners expressing disappointment over the lack of groundbreaking new features. But the newly announced features may serve as better stocking stuffers.
The initial rollout included something owners have been asking for, the blind spot monitor. The camera that turns on when you change lanes will now have a red color added if there is something in your blind spot. It’s not clear whether it will be accompanied by a tone.
Tesla’s blind spot warning in this year’s holiday update
Here are other features in the leaked update that are being tested by employees:
Navigation and Safety Features: Including symbols for speed cameras, stop signs, and traffic lights in navigation, and the automatic 911 call feature in case of an accident.
Trip Planning via Tesla Mobile App: Allowing for more detailed trip planning, including multiple stops and charging points.
Apple Podcasts Integration: Allowing users to sync with Apple devices for a seamless podcast experience, directly addressing the demand for a richer in-car entertainment system.
New Games and Enhancements: The update brought updates to Tesla Arcade, with Beach Buggy Racing and Polytopia Diplomacy updates, as well as the Vampire Survivors Chilling update.
Light Show Improvements: There’s a new light show that’s included with your vehicle. You’ll also be able to upload several light shows on a single USB drive and pick one from the vehicle, instead of having to use multiple USB drives, one for each light show.
More Live Sentry Mode Cameras: You will now be able to view the B-pillar cameras directly from the Tesla app. This brings the number of viewable cameras in the app up to seven. The only ones still missing are the alternative front-facing cameras that are telephoto and wide-angle, which wouldn’t bring much additional value. Although the B-pillars are viewable in the app with this update, they will still not be used to record during Dashcam or Sentry Mode events.
High-Fidelity Park Assist
Tesla's new parking assist feature will dynamically recreate scenes in real-time
In response to the feedback and Musk's statement, Tesla unveiled additional features in its updated holiday update, including an improved park assist with enhanced visualizations.
This feature provides a 3D reconstruction of the vehicle's surroundings while parking, akin to a 360-degree camera system found in other high-end vehicles. The system is clearly leveraging improvements to Tesla Vision to create the surrounding environment, such as cars, pillars and walls.
This feature also appears to change the color of objects depending on how close they are to your vehicle. In the image we can see the pillars are orange, but if we look closer, the object behind the vehicle is also orange near the bottom. The sides of the vehicles next to the Tesla also have a slight hint of orange, indicating their proximity.
However, it looks like this feature may be even better than it initially looks. The vehicles in the image aren’t just predefined 3D models that Tesla created, like the ones used in Autopilot visualizations. These models appear to be dynamically created using vision, so that no two cars would look alike, much more similar to what LiDar is able to achieve. The visualization provides a true representation of the environment around the vehicle. You can see that each vehicle is made up from layers and have blurred edges toward the rear, where the camera would have a hard time seeing.
These 3D models could be a sneak peek at the future of FSD visualizations.
High-Fidelity Park Assist Requirements
A big question on everyone’s mind is who will receive this new park assist feature. Tesla didn’t address this in their post on X besides providing a disclaimer that the features in the holiday release are subject to model and region availability. Tesla often likes to test features in select markets before making them available everywhere. It’s hard to say whether that will be the case here. There likely aren’t any legal ramifications around providing visualizations, so that’s a good sign that this feature will be available in most regions, either in the holiday update, or soon afterward.
However, there are still questions around which models or hardware will be required. From the image shared, we can see it’s offered on a Model Y, removing any speculation of it possibly requiring the HD radar in the new Model S/X. We also don’t think it will require FSD hardware 4.0, so the remaining questions are whether it requires MCU 3, or the FSD package.
Given that Tesla is calling this Park Assist, it doesn’t appear to be linked to Auto Park, which is a FSD package feature. When Tesla rolled out visual and audio alerts for vehicles without ultrasonic sensors, it called the feature Park Assist, and that was available to all owners.
Whether this improved Park Assist feature requires a vehicle with MCU 3 will depend on the level of processing power required. It’ll certainly require more than the current visualizations given that its building the scene in real-time, so we’re hopeful that it’ll work on MCU 2 vehicles too, but we just don’t have enough information right now to make the call.
Custom Lock Sounds
Soon you'll be able to choose a custom locking sound for your car
Not a Tesla App
Tesla also announced a fun and whimsical feature that allows owners to customize the lock sound of their Tesla. No longer will you need to listen to the car’s horn when it locks as you walk away. Now you’ll be able to customize the lock sound of the vehicle. Tesla is including several options, including sounds like a screaming goat, a jingle, a rubber ducky, a quack sound, an old school horn and applause. However, you’ll also be able to upload your own file to create a truly unique experience.
You can pick anything, from a bird’s tweet to a favorite video game sound. You’ll only be limited by the maximum upload file size, which according to a Tesla engineer, is a 1MB file in WAV format, which is roughly about 40 seconds at good quality.
This feature is possible due to the vehicle’s external pedestrian warning speaker. So if you have Tesla’s Boombox feature or your vehicle makes a sound when traveling under 20 MPH, then you should receive this fun enhancement.
Rear Seat Audio and Gaming
You'll now be able to play games on Tesla's rear screens
Enhancing the Tesla Arcade experience, passengers in the rear seats can now play games on the rear touchscreen. This feature, especially when paired with Tesla Arcade’s compatibility with PS4, PS5, Xbox Controllers, and rear-screen Bluetooth Headsets, is a welcome addition for families and long trips.
Much like the new Model 3, which received rear audio over Bluetooth support in the 2023.38 update, the new Model S and Model X will also receive this ability in the holiday update.
New Game - Castle Doombad
Tesla announced one other feature in the 2023 holiday update that hadn’t been previously leaked, and that’s a new game called Castle Doombad. Castle Doombad is a single player tower defense, puzzle-like game that’s currently available on iOS and Android, but has an upcoming release on PC and the Nintendo Switch. This game is expected to require MCU 3.
The rollout of the 2023 Holiday Update is expected to follow a similar timeline to last year. Tesla announced that the update will roll out starting next week. However, it’s not clear whether this will also include FSD Beta testers that are on a 2023.27 update.
Like a spoiled child on Christmas morning, Tesla owners still ask, “Is that it?” Well… possibly, but there may be more to look forward to early next year as Tesla builds off of the new High-Fidelity Park Assist feature.
Advanced Smart Summon: Upgrading the Smart Summon feature to be more intuitive and efficient, especially in complex parking scenarios.
Reverse Summon / Park Seek: What happened to Tesla dropping its passengers and driver off at the location and then finding a parking spot on its own?
Enhanced FSD Visualizations: Expanding the Full Self-Driving visualizations to more regions or models or completely recreating the FSD visualizations using the same neural networks Tesla is using for the High-Fidelity Park Assist feature.
TeslaFi logs your drives and charging sessions, letting you keep a log of your vehice's activity. We highly recommend checking them out if you use your car for business trips and would like to keep track of reimbursements, if you like to see how much you spend on charging or if you just love statistics. Visit their site and see everything they have to offer!
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Tesla Android Project enables you to run Android apps in your Tesla. The platform is Open Source and you can deploy it on your own Raspberry Pi 4. Consider supporting the initiative by donating or purchasing the Compute Module 4 Bundle that delivers the best experience. Get $20 off by using the code: NotATeslaApp
The official Tesla app only notifies you if your car is broken into. By installing Sentry Pro on your phone, you will be notified for all Sentry Mode events. Stay connected and avoid potential surprises by receiving notifications. Stop constantly checking the cameras to ensure safety. Check only when necessary, save battery and get peace of mind. Get a 7 day free trial here!