Whether you currently own an EV or are planning to buy one, it’s important to figure out the electric car battery cost before the time comes for replacement. Replacing an electric car battery can be a significant expense, and budgeting for it ahead of time can prevent unexpected financial burdens during ownership.
How much is a car battery? There are several factors involved, including what type of vehicle you drive. With this guide provided by Electrly, we get a closer look at the average electric car battery replacement cost.
How Does an Electric Car Battery Work?
Before we look at the average car battery price, let’s examine how the batteries work. The EV has an electric motor that’s used in place of the internal combustion engine. Instead of having a gas or diesel-powered motor, the EV runs on electricity. This electric motor connects to a battery pack, where it receives its power from.
As the accelerator is pushed down, the car sends a signal to the battery management system (BMS), which instructs the battery to supply power to the electric motor. As power is used, the electric battery starts to deplete until it needs to be recharged.
Most EVs use lithium-ion batteries, which are highly efficient and have a low self-discharge rate. They also perform well at high temperatures. However, other electric battery types are also available, including the following:
- Nickel-metal hydride batteries: While these have good power capabilities, they contain a higher discharger rate and will generate more heat at higher temperatures.
- Lead-acid batteries: Because these batteries have a shorter life and lower energy levels, they are usually only used in EVs for ancillary loads.
- Ultracapacitors: These are needed for additional power when accelerating or climbing steep inclines. They can be used to store secondary energy.
What’s the Electric Car Battery Price?
The average car battery price tends to fall between $4,000 and $20,000. The prices vary greatly depending on the vehicle’s make and model. There are other factors that affect the price, which we will discuss in-depth in a few minutes.
However, it's worth noting that the cost of electric car batteries has been decreasing over the years due to advancements in technology and increased production.
Factors That Affect the Electric Car Battery Price
How much does a car battery cost? It depends on what vehicle you drive and several other factors. Let’s look at some of the factors that must be considered when figuring out the cost of an electric car battery.
- Type of battery: We’ve looked at each of the battery types in-depth up above. The cost of replacement varies depending on which one of these is in your electric car.
- Battery capacity: In general, the larger the battery is and the more capacity it has, the more you can expect to pay. That’s because more materials are needed to make the battery.
- Cost of materials: Speaking of materials, the elements used to manufacture batteries must also be factored in. Because the cost of goods continues to rise, the electric car battery price from 2020 was lower than the average electric car battery price of 2021. In fact, the prices only continue to get higher year after year.
How Long Does an Electric Car Battery Last?
When considering the cost of an electric car battery, it is essential to take its longevity into account. For example, if you spend $4,000 for a battery that only lasts five years, but another EV owner spends $10,000 for a battery that lasts 15 years, the latter gets a better value. The first driver is spending $800 a year for the battery, while the second owner spends $667 a year.
Most electric car batteries will last between ten and twenty years. If you maintain the battery and take care of your vehicle, you can get your EV battery to last longer.
However, battery life is severely reduced by extreme temperatures. If you live in a climate that gets excessively hot or cold, you can expect a shorter battery life. It’s also affected by fast charging. It’s okay to fast charge occasionally, but allowing a slower charge as your primary method can help prolong the battery's lifespan.
When Do You Need to Replace an Electric Car Battery?
Several signs indicate it’s time for an electric car battery replacement.
- Charging levels fluctuate: If the battery shows a full charge and then quickly depletes within minutes, there’s an issue with the battery pack.
- Reduced battery charge after sitting: If you park the EV at night and find the battery has drained by morning, you need to replace it.
- Louder fan noises: The fans run on the EV to cool the battery, but you shouldn’t hear them running constantly. The more the fans are running, the higher the chance that the batteries are overheating. This could signal the need for a battery replacement.
- Fuel economy reduction (hybrid models): If the fuel economy isn’t what it once was in your hybrid, the battery could be to blame. However, a diagnosis is needed because there could be a mechanical failure too.
If you notice any of the signs mentioned, it's important to seek the advice of a professional EV technician as soon as possible. These experts can diagnose the issue and determine whether or not it's time to replace the battery.
How Much Does EV Battery Replacement Cost?
How much does a battery cost for an electric car? To get the full replacement cost, you can’t just look at the price of the battery. You must also consider the labor charges to put the battery in.
The electric car replacement battery labor costs vary based on where you live and what type of car you drive. For example, the Nissan LEAF is a simple swap, so the labor charges will be much lower than more advanced models.
The average auto repair labor cost in 2022 is $143 per hour. However, this isn’t for a specially-trained EV mechanic. You can expect to spend about 20% more than average on an electric vehicle technician. To be safe, prepare to spend somewhere between $500 and $2,500 on the labor alone for your electric car battery price.
Electric Car Battery Replacement Cost: Examples
Let’s examine a few examples by model to help you see the differences.
Let’s start with the Tesla battery replacement cost. On various forums in 2021, two owners of a 2012 and a 2013 Model S were quoted $22,000 for the battery replacement out of warranty. That’s much higher than the Tesla Model 3, which seems to be around $15,000 for replacement. Because it’s a 75 kWh battery, that works out to nearly $200/kWh. This price includes the labor cost of around $2,299.
The price of an electric car battery for a Nissan Leaf is estimated at around $6,500. For the 40 kWh battery, that works out to about $162/kWh. However, the larger the battery capacity is, the more it’s going to cost. Plus, labor costs for this model could add $1,000.
Additionally, the electric car battery prices for a Chevy Volt are between $4,000 and $8,000 on average. If you can replace a 16 kWh Chevy Volt battery at $4,000, it would equate to $240/kWh. Labor costs may add another $600.
Finally, the battery car price for a BMW i3 could be around $16,000. If that’s for the 22 kWh battery, you are spending $727/kWh. Adding labor charges to that cost could increase the price another $1,000.
Tips to Maintain Your Electric Car Battery
Based on the cost of replacing an electric car battery, it makes more sense to keep it in good working condition so you don’t have to replace it as often. Here are a few tips to help you out.
- Keep the battery free of debris and dirt. Wipe it down regularly with a soft cloth.
- Keep the battery charged. As it gets low, the strain on the battery is more intense and the lifespan becomes reduced. It’s best to keep it charged to 50% or more.
- Avoid extreme temperatures. Having your EV in extreme heat or cold can cause damage to the battery. It’s best if the battery is between 32 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Store the EV appropriately. If you won’t be using the EV for a while, put it in a cool, dry location where it can’t be harmed.
- Only use the recommended chargers for your EV. If you use the wrong charger, you can cause damage to the battery.
- Limit DC fast charging. Avoid using DC fast charging unless it's necessary to prevent overheating and damage to the battery.
- Accelerate slowly to increase battery range.
It’s also important to follow all of the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance. You can find the schedule in your owner’s manual.
1. Electric car batteries are too expensive. Can I get any discounts?
Yes, you can choose remanufactured or used batteries. However, they may be challenging to find and their previous condition is unknown, so there are no guarantees.
2. Can an EV battery be repaired?
Yes, some conditions can be repaired. Plus, if the battery fails while it’s under warranty, you won’t have to pay for the repair or replacement. However, after so many years of use, it may no longer be possible to repair the battery; it would need to be replaced.
3. Can I replace only part of my electric car battery pack?
Some models allow for one battery cell to be replaced if the others are fine, but only a trained professional should perform this fix. In most cases, it’s preferable to replace the entire battery instead of just a defective cell.
4. How long does it take to replace my EV battery?
The time required to replace a battery varies from one electric vehicle to another. Some vehicles may require five hours or less of labor, while others can take ten hours or more.