Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
How much do electric car batteries really cost and should you be worried? That’s what we’re going to find out.
A few recent reports of electric car battery failures have created some buzz, mostly over the shocking alleged cost of replacing the battery in one story involving a Hyundai Ionic.
The owner was quoted 38,000 US or around $50,000 Canadian to replace the battery in two other stories involving newer Hyundai IOnic fives.
The quotes were over 45,000 US or 60,000 Canadian. So this got me wondering how much do electric car batteries cost for other car brands and not just for electric cars, but also for hybrids and plugin hybrids.
So let’s start with how much electric car batteries really cost.
This fiasco really began when a story came out near the end of 2023 of a Hyundai owner who was faced with a $50,000 repair bill to replace the battery on his 2017 Hyundai Ionic. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
Initially, Hyundai wasn’t willing to do anything for the owner, but after the story came out and the media got involved, supposedly Hyundai had changed their tune and they were willing to work with the customer.
Now it didn’t end there later. Another story came out on another Hyundai owner this time with a 2022 Ionic five who was quoted 60,000 Canadian or around $45,000 US to replace the battery pack.
The motor mouth channel covered this story and it needs to be said this was not a battery failure as a result of a manufacturer defect.
This was caused by the owner who drove over something on the road, maybe a rock or something like that and damaged the battery casing from underneath the car, which is why Hyundai would not cover it under warranty.
So the owner went through his insurance company who decided to write off the car. Now Hyundai’s official response was that the dealer misquoted the battery price and that their battery costs are more or less in line with other car manufacturers.
But soon after a second Ionic owner came out claiming that they were also quoted the exact same price for a replacement battery again being damaged to a driving incident. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
This price was verified online by a Hyundai Parts website. So it does appear that the price is accurate.
So the common undeniable theme in all three cases is how insanely expensive the battery costs to replace on a Hyundai.
So how much do they cost or replace on other car brands? Well, let’s take a look. Let’s start with Kia, which is the sister company of Hyundai.
And looking at a Kia parts website, the battery pack for a Kia EV six, which is the mechanical twin of
The Ionic five, has a price of about 45,000 Canadian or $33,000 US complete with a part number and all. So Kia does charge less than Hyundai for the exact same battery, which makes you wonder how much are these automakers and dealers marking up the battery over the wholesale or build cost.
I’m going to try and find out if I can, but in any case, the price is still ridiculously expensive. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
So what about some other car brands? Well, Ford makes looking up parts prices quite easy.
If we go over to the Ford Parts website, we can see that the F-150 Lightning Ford’s electric truck has a battery pack cost of around 34 to 45,000 us.
The long range battery is similar in price to Hyundai’s battery, but it needs to be said it is a lot larger.
The Mustang Mach-E, on the other hand, an electric crossover, which is similar in size to the Ionic five, has a battery cost of around 35,000 us.
So it is significantly less than Hyundai, but again, still extremely expensive. And what about the most popular EVs? What about Tesla? Well, unfortunately Tesla doesn’t have a parts website where you can simply look up the cost, but owners of early Teslas have reported battery replacements that cost roughly between 15 to 20,000 US or around 25 to 30,000 Canadian. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
The most famous case is probably one Canadian Tesla owner who made a viral TikTok about his model S and how the battery failed due to the AC unit, which was leaking water onto the battery and destroying it.
And because it was outta warranty, the $28,000 bill to replace the battery was unfortunately on him. Fortunately, it does seem that the cost of battery replacement does go down from here For other car brands.
For example, the Volkswagen parts website has the battery for the ID four crossover listed for around 15 to 20,000 US or around 20 to 26,000 Canadian.
The Nissan Leaf battery pack costs around 12,000 US or around 16,000 Canadian. And the Chevrolet Bolt battery packs go for around the same amount.
And it should be mentioned that these are prices for brand new battery assemblies. Some vehicles do have third party options available such as remanufactured battery packs, which can be less costly. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
Okay, so there’s no question the cost of replacing a battery on an electric car is extremely expensive.
But the question is, is this something that you need to be concerned about? Especially when electric cars do come with a very long battery warranty? It is important to understand that electric vehicles come with an eight year, a hundred thousand mile or 160,000 kilometer warranty, but some can go as high as 10 years, 160,000 miles or 240,000 kilometers.
But clearly even Under warranty, battery replacement can have issues. In addition to the Ionic five cases, there was a recent case of a 2016 Nissan Leaf owner who had his battery fail under warranty and even though Nissan agreed to replace it, no replacements were available. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
His leaf was an older first generation model, which had a now discontinued style of battery, which clearly had no more parts support from Nissan.
I’ve also heard similar stories of early forward focus electrics, which are no longer made. So to me this highlights the major risk of being an early adopter and buying first generation technology as time goes on.
The parts support for these early first generation EVs basically disappears. So clearly electric car batteries are extremely expensive and they can be a nightmare to replace even sometimes under the warranty period.
So how concerned should you really be? And what about the replacement cost of batteries on hybrids and plugin hybrids?Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
Now it is important to acknowledge that these types of cases are extremely rare and battery failure is very uncommon relative to how many EVs have been sold.
Most of the EVs that are on the road today are popular mainstream models and they’re just not old enough yet to be outta warranty.
So battery failures are statistically very low and the data is scarce even among the few older EVs failures seem to be quite rare.
Recurrent, for example, put out a report last year which stated that battery failure among older first generation EVs, those that are around eight to 12 years old is only around 1.5%. So total battery failure is definitely not common.
What is far more common is EV owners that complain about battery degradation just as they do for electronic devices. EV batteries can degrade and lose their capacity as they age. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
It is generally accepted that most typically lose around five to 10% of their capacity within the first a hundred thousand miles or 160,000 kilometers and they continue to drop slowly over time.
It is worth mentioning here though that the long battery warranty that you get with an electric vehicle does protect against degradation To a certain extent, most manufacturers will replace the battery if the capacity drops below 70% within the warranty period.
And some like Toyota even guarantee a 90% battery capacity retention over the entire warranty period. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
So what can you do to prevent or slow down these issues and what should you do? Well, I think that if you want to get into EV ownership, leasing is the safest option to take Leasing an electric vehicle for three to four years, we’ll pretty much eliminate any risk of expensive issues, eliminate concerns of low resale value, and allow you to upgrade to better newer EV technology as it’s introduced
In the coming years. And if you are buying an EV for longer term ownership, the way that you use and charge your EV does seem to impact its capacity and its lifespan.
Most automakers and community members recommend that you try and keep the battery between 20 to 80% charge as much as possible, try to avoid full charges and discharges whenever you can. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
Short top-ups are much better for the battery life and avoid keeping your car in extreme heat or extreme cold weather without preconditioning the battery and avoid overuse of high speed level three Fast charging.
All of these things can really help to increase a battery’s lifespan. Of course, if you’re still not convinced and believe that electric vehicles still have a lot of room for improvement, you do have other options available such as hybrids.
The great thing about hybrids is that unlike EVs, they have now been around for over 20 years.Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
So the technology has fully matured to the point where the reliability is very solid and the risk of battery failure is extremely low.
Just look at the countless Toyota hybrids that are used as taxis in many regions, many have 300, even 400,000 miles and they’re running their original batteries and other drivetrain components with very few issues.
And not only is the reliability extremely well proven, but even in the really rare event that you do have a battery failure, it’s not going to cause bankruptcy because many hybrids have now been around for so long and the whole system and supply chain around them is so well sorted.
Many third party battery replacement options are available. In the case of Toyota for example, reputable companies offer rebuilt or remanufactured batteries for as little as $2,000 complete with a warranty. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
And new battery units direct from Toyota are sometimes not much more expensive.
So basically the risk of owning a hybrid from a reputable brand is basically no higher than that of owning a traditional gas car which has their own potential risk like say engine failure and the cost of that could potentially be just as much or even more than the cost of a hybrid battery.
Now, plug-in hybrids do have larger batteries than hybrids, so their costs will be higher, but the cost is still nowhere close to an electric vehicle.
The important point here is that the rare event of a battery failure on a hybrid doesn’t result in the car becoming a pile of scrap metal.
Reasonably priced replacement options exist comparable to that or even less than that of replacing an engine on a gas vehicle.
And that’s a really important distinction between hybrids and electric cars right now. Now many automakers do believe that as time goes on, supply chains mature and the technology improves. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
The cost of EV battery replacement Will come down to a more reasonable level. Some are working on designing batteries that are in pieces or modules that can be serviced individually rather than replacing the whole giant battery unit as a whole.
They’re also working on finding ways to remanufacture and repair the batteries in a more affordable way to prevent the horror stories like the ones that I shared earlier.
There is no question though automakers have a lot of work to do to bring down the cost of replacing an EV battery to the point where it’s similar to that of a hybrid, but also similar to that or replacing an engine or a transmission on a traditional gas car.
All of that will take time to happen, which means that there’s no hurry to go and rush into buying an EV right now. Cost Of Electric Car Batteries
They will only get better and better as time goes on and the cost of repairs should keep going down to, in the meantime, if you really want to get your foot in the door of vehicle electrification, a hybrid can be a much better and a much safer option right now.
And if you already own an EV and are faced with a crazy expensive battery failure, just like the Hyundai examples that were shared earlier, well you need to put pressure on both the dealership and the manufacturer to help you as they should.
And if they’re not willing to do so, don’t be afraid to go to the media and share your story.