Electric vehicle battery life

Electric vehicle (EV) batteries are sophisticated pieces of equipment designed to last many years.

EV owners can get the best out of their batteries and extend their life by looking after them.

Battery life

EV manufacturers are increasingly offering battery warranties of five to 10 years or more.

Like any product, owners can expect their EV batteries to last well beyond the end of the warranty period.

The ability for a battery to hold a full charge reduces over time (and the associated range of the vehicle reduces), but that doesn’t stop the car from working well.

To help EV owners get the most out of their batteries, we have highlighted some recommended practices to follow and have developed a best practice guide.

How can an EV’s battery life be improved?

There are two ways that an EV battery can gradually fall in performance:

  1. the way the EV is parked and stored, this is known as calendar degradation
  2. the way the EV is driven and recharged, this is known as cyclic degradation

You can slow these rates of degradation through some recommended practices. These include:

  • Learn to drive your EV efficiently to minimise stress on your battery. This will give you the best daily range, and help your battery last longer.
  • Minimise the use of frequent fast charging.
  • Minimise recharging to full every day unless you need to.
  • New Zealand’s temperate climate is good for maximising battery life, but in times of extreme temperatures, try to park in the shade or indoors.
  • In very cold weather (i.e. below freezing), plug in when you can to take advantage of your EV’s battery thermal management systems which will regulate the battery’s temperature so the cold weather doesn’t negatively impact on the battery life.
  • When storing your EV for an extended period, follow the instructions in your manual on how to care for your battery.
  • Always get your EV serviced by an authorised person and never attempt it yourself.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations regarding regular check-ups.

For more information on how to look after your EV battery, see our guide below for some simple tips and check the owner’s manual, which are available online, for more detailed advice. It should explain warranty conditions to ensure you get the full protection of your manufacturer’s warranty as well as the maximum useful battery life.

If your EV battery ever needs replacing, your qualified service provider can do it. They might even offer you credit for your old battery, as there is value in repurposing batteries into other applications or recycling them to reclaim the raw materials inside.

Does battery degradation undermine the overall cost of owning an EV?

Research based on the Nissan Leaf, New Zealand’s most popular EV, shows that, even if you need to replace the battery, an EV can still compete with the petrol car in terms of overall cost.

EV batteries research released - media release - EECA website