Aside from concerns about range, consumer worries regarding battery replacement seem to be the largest hindrance in keeping people from buying all-electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). While it can be expensive to replace the large litium-ion batteries in EVs and PHEVs (current estimates range from $1000 to $6000 depending on make, model, and year of the vehicle), the need to do so is fairly rare. Here we take a look at some of the myths surrounding the batteries in EVs and PHEVs and what the future holds for EV and PHEV vehicle technology.
Myth: Manufacturers Make Money from Battery Failures
Car manufacturers don’t want their batteries to fail. Put simply, it is better for a car company’s bottom line if their product lasts longer. Think of it this way: would it be better for a car company to make $6000 on a battery replacement or $30,000 on the sale of a new car based on the recommendation of a friend or relative that owns a reliable EV or PHEV? Battery failures are bad for business, which is why most batteries are designed to last the entire life time of the car.
If you’re still not convinced, most car companies with EV and PHEV offerings also feature excellent warranties on their batteries. For example, Toyota has an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty for batteries in most States. In California, state law dictates that warranties for EV and PHEV batteries cover 10-years or 150,000 miles. Battery repair has also improved dramatically in the past few years. There are several companies that specialize in EV and PHEV battery refurbishment, which may be an option if said battery is capable of holding a charge. It should be noted that refurbishing a battery may void the warranty of the car. Owners are encouraged to check with a licensed dealer before attempting any such service.
The Good News
Typically, the batteries in EVs and PHEVs have a fantastic life span. Toyota claims that the battery packs featured in their line of eco-friendly vehicles averaged approximately 180,000 miles or more when tested. Toyota’s Prius batteries have a less than 0.003% failure rate, with many of the older models logging 200,000 miles or more before needing a replacement battery. Chances are good that the owner of an EV or PHEV will have to replace the rest of the car before the battery will need to be replaced. When considering that most gas-powered vehicles are designed to stop working at around 150,000 miles, battery life becomes less of a concern.
Another perk of owning an EV or PHEV is the lower insurance premiums that come with it. Drivers of eco-friendly vehicles tend to be older than average, and have lower accident rates. Prius drivers for example averaged a yearly insurance premium of around $1,200, compared to the national average of more than $1,800. EV and PHEV drivers may also enjoy additional benefits that drivers of gas-guzzlers do not such as access to carpool or HOV lanes. Advantages like these can certainly mitigate any costs that may arise from battery troubles.
What do our readers think? Anyone who has experienced trouble with their EV or PHEV battery care to share their experience? Anyone who is apprehensive about purchasing an EV or PHEV because of battery fears? Please leave us a comment and share your thoughts.
Source | Images: Wikimedia Commons