When it comes to electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, many shoppers wonder how long it will be until they have to replace their battery. Then what will it cost to replace that battery?
We know that batteries degrade as a result of a phenomenon called “calendar aging.” Like human aging, calendar aging is a baseline of decline over time. Other types of battery performance loss are tied to use and exposure. We wrote an entire article on battery degradation.
I go through the details and cite examples for each EV model, but here is a quick overview of the vehicles that I cover in this article.
One interesting thing is that since we originally wrote this article in 2021, the price of second hand EV batteries is actually increasing.
It seems counterintuitive, but as more people go electric, there is more demand to replace older batteries. At the same time, batteries that are in cars are not degrading as fast as expected. Plus, there is a new wave of second-life battery storage companies also trying to buy second hand batteries. This leaves used EV owners competing with each other - and battery storage companies - for salvage or junk yard batteries, and driving the price up. - Liz Najman, EV Market Researcher
Hopefully, the recent decline in lithium prices reverses this trend soon.
How Much Does an EV Battery Cost to Replace?
EV battery replacements range from $5,000 to $20,000 based on the pack, size and manufacturer. If a battery is within its manufacturer warranty, typically 8 years and 100,000 miles, then you should get a replacement battery at no extra cost.
But what if it is out of warranty?
Battery replacements are still rare so up-to-date data on costs can be difficult to find. In our community of 15,000 EV drivers, the rate of battery failure is only 1.5%. The chart below shows the likelihood of needing a battery replacement, based on our data. Note that the Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Kona EV had much higher rates of battery replacements due to widespread manufacturer's recalls.
As battery prices continue to decline, the price you would pay today is different than the price you would pay next year or in 5 years. in 2019, the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton School for Business aggregated data found across academia, news, search engines, experts within the industry, and public statements by manufacturers.
They found a 16% decline in battery pack cost between 2007 and 2019. The authors estimated in 2019 that the average cost of battery packs was $161/kWh. With that estimate, in 2019, the cost of an out-of-warranty 100 kWh battery, as is common in Tesla long range vehicles, would be at least $16,100 before labor, taxes, etc. If the trend in battery price reduction stays constant, then by 2025 the price in 2019$ should be ~$56/kWh, or $5,600 to replace a 100 kWh battery. That’s a big change in overall cost.
However, it's worth noting that the overall downward market trend in the price of lithium faltered in 2021 - 2022 and the price of battery components actually began to rise a bit. As of March 2023, the price is coming back down, though, and has fallen nearly 20% since the beginning of the year. High demand for old lithium ion batteries will keep prices for battery replacements stable for at least another year.
How does this compare to other aggregators of battery costs?
According to an April 2019 report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the projected cost by 2025 should be $120/kWh to $135/kWh. This is less generous than the Wharton analysis, suggesting by 2025 a 100 kWh battery replacement out of warranty may cost up to $13,500. The ICCT report does note that battery cost forecasting has consistently underpredicted actual battery cost reduction. They provide a caveat that if a slightly rosier analysis is performed, battery pack-level costs could be $89/kWh by 2025 and $56/kWh by 2030.
According to the latest forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), in Dec 2020 the average price of battery capacity was $137/kWh, with an expectation of average price close to $100/kWh by 2023, seven years sooner than Bloomberg NEF models suggested in 2016. Cited within the 2019 ICCT report, the BNEF models estimate that by 2030, average battery pack level costs will be $62/kWh. A 100 kWh pack may cost at least $6,200 to replace by 2030.
Back in 2016, McKinsey reported that the average battery pack price was ~$227/kWh, with projections estimating average EV battery pack prices below $190/kWh by the end of 2020. Those expectations were clearly exceeded as demonstrated by the 2020 Bloomberg NEF report just described.
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Real-world Replacement Cost Examples
The limitations of this analysis is that it doesn’t include the labor costs, tax policy, business models, and other externalities related to a battery replacement. It doesn’t cover any business profits and markups nor if a car bought in 2017 will benefit from battery pack cost reduction in 2030. Additionally, this analysis does not consider the possibility of replacing only parts of battery packs that have gone bad, which may be covered by warranty. Furthermore, it is difficult to anticipate the development of third party battery replacement services independent of the original manufacturers.
However, in order to get a glimpse into some real world examples of battery replacement costs that EV drivers have experienced, I found some helpful examples. Overall, it doesn’t appear that EV owners are benefiting from the Bloomberg reported average of $137/kWh price.
Here is what I found on the following electric vehicles.
- BMW i3
- Chevrolet Bolt
- Chevrolet Volt
- Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
- Nissan Leaf
- Tesla Model 3
- Tesla Model S
- VW e-Golf
There is lots more on each one of those vehicles. Keep scrolling to see the details!
BMW i3 Battery Replacement Cost
- A BMWi3 battery pack with originally 22 kWh of capacity, but with approximately 17.14 kWh of capacity today is selling for $2,500 on ebay. This equates to roughly $145/kWh.
- In 2016, BMW reported that replacing an i3 battery would cost about $16,000. This was for the 2013-2016 model years which have 22 kWh packs, equating to $727/ kWh in real 2016 dollars.
- InsideEV reported in 2015 that a 21.6 kWh battery pack would cost $13,725, equating to $635/kWh. These prices were based on an online parts ordering store.
Chevy Bolt Battery Replacement Cost
As you may be aware, currently all Chevy Bolt batteries are set to be replaced under a recall for a manufacturing defect in their batteries. Perhaps it can help you get a sense of when the pre-recall Chevy Bolt batteries may no longer have met your needs and may need a battery replacement. Below are some examples of Chevy battery replacements costs prior to the recall.
- According to a post on chevybolt.org, a dealership quoted a Chevy Bolt owner in November 2018 $16,250 for a battery replacement, with $870 for labor. Given that Chevy Bolt batteries are rated at 60 kWh, that equates to approximately $271/kWh, about 68% higher than the 2019 average price.
- According to Chevrolet themselves, in 2017 they reported that the price of a battery pack for a Chevy Bolt was $262/kWh.
- According to a 2020 Greencars report, a 66 kWh Chevrolet Bolt battery costs ~$16,000, or $250/kWh.
Chevy Volt Battery Replacement Cost
- According to a 2020 Greencars report, 16 kWh Chevy Volt batteries cost ~$4,000 to replace, about $240/kWh.
- A 2011-2015 Chevy Volt Remanufactured Battery Pack is priced at $6,000 at Greentec Auto. These batteries have 17.1 kWh of capacity, putting this price at $350/kWh in 2021 dollars. Sold with new modules, that same battery pack is priced at $8,000, placing it at $467/kWh in 2021.
- For the 2016-2018 Chevy Volt, battery packs are priced at roughly $3,000 on ebay. These batteries are 18.4 kWh, equating to $163/kWh to $152/kWh.
- There can be a long waitlist for Volt batteries!
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV Replacement Cost
A replacement battery for a 2018 or 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid has an MSRP of $2,853.53 as of August 2021. With a battery size of 1.56 kWh in a Hyundai Ioniq HEV, that equates to ~$1,829/kWh, approximately 1335% more than the 2020 $137/kWh average cited above.
Nissan Leaf Battery Replacement Cost
We also wrote an entire LEAF guide to battery replacement. While it has some of the same info, it could be helpful to dive a bit deeper.
According to a post in the MyNissanLeaf.com forum, as of Jan 30, 2020, the cost of labor and replacement of a 24 kWh battery in a Nissan Leaf is $5,500. It appears the battery itself would cost $4,500, placing the $/kWh at $187/kWh, which is 36% above the quoted 2020 $137/kWh price.
- According to a 2020 Greencars report, the Nissan Leaf 40 kWh battery costs $5,500 or about $137/kWh, which is right on target for the average 2020 price.
- A 2013 Nissan Leaf owner in Canada reported that a dealership quoted him for $15,000 CAD for a replacement battery.
According to a 2020 report from Cashcarbuyers, a replacement pack for a LEAF can run you the following, without labor:
- 30 kWh pack price ranges from $3,500 to $4,500, at most $150/kWh.
- 40 kWh pack price ranged between $6,500 and $7,500, at most $187.5/kWh.
- 62 kWh battery pack is expected to be between $8,500 and $9,500, at most $153/kWh.
However, anecdotal data from our own Recurrent drivers in the past few years shows that demand - and price - for LEAF replacements has actually grown quite a bit since 2020. A Facebook group dedicated to LEAF battery replacements reports that swapping out an old 24 kWh pack with a new 62 kWh pack retails at $19,000. In Atlanta, replacement packs with installation are going for $12,000 for a 40 kWh pack installed, and $16,500 for a 62 kWh. At these prices, you're looking at $266 - $300/ kWh, including labor.
Tesla Model 3 Battery Replacement Cost
Current Automotive posted the 2020 receipt of one customer’s replacement of a remanufactured 75kWh battery in a Tesla Model 3:
- Battery: $13,500
- Labor $2,299.27
- Total: $15,799.27
This equates to $180/kWh which is about 31% higher than the Bloomberg cited average of $137/kWh. Since Tesla Model 3s are so new, there is likely very little data on repair costs in the public domain.
However, there is the occasional accident that requires a battery replacement in a Model 3. Based on data we've seen for more recent, accident-related replacements, the total amount has come down to $10 - $12,000, with 80-90% of that going for the battery itself. However, it is encouraging that the total price has dropped, landing the cost between $133/kWh - $161/kWh. This is more in line with the Bloomberg estimate.
Tesla Model S Battery Replacement Cost
We wrote an article dedicated to Tesla battery replacements, but you can get the summary here.
- In April 2021, FindMyElectric reported that there were a few cases where the price of the batteries cost $12,000 to $15,000.
- A used 2014 Tesla Model S owner reported that a full battery pack replacement would have cost $20,000, including labor, in Dec 2020.
- On Tesla motors club in 2021, there are two reports of owners of (2012 and 2013) Model S’s being quoted $22k for full battery replacements out of warranty.
VW e-Golf Battery Replacement Cost
A replacement battery for a 2017 to 2018 VW e-Golf is quoted as $23,442.91 by Pignataro VW as of August 2021. Given that the 2017 e-golf battery pack is 35.8 kWh, that equates to $654/kWh, a whopping 477% more expensive than the average 2020 price.
Battery Monitoring to Avoid Replacement
It should not be a surprise that treating your battery nicely can expand its life and delay replacement. Here are some tips on how to give your battery the TLC it needs.
- Avoid extreme high or low battery levels.
- Limit DC fast charging to special occasions.
- Small, frequent charges are better than large, infrequent charges.
- Get your battery to room temperature before charging when possible. Usually this is accomplished by your vehicle automatically once plugged in.
- Park in the shade during warm months to keep your battery cooler.
- A/C and heat use a lot of energy so consider preheating your car while it’s plugged in or using seat warmers.
- Accelerate slowly to increase range.
- Avoid excessive highway speeds.
- Check out your manuals battery maintenance tips.
- Swap your tires for more efficient tires; seasonally appropriate.
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