Tesla Battery Cost: What You Need to Know
Tesla has been the gold standard in electric vehicles (EVs) since it launched the Roadster in 2008. Boasting the most advanced features and sleekest designs, Teslas are almost synonymous to EVs the same way iPhones are to smartphones. And with the premium look comes a premium price.
Its most popular model, the entry-level Model 3, goes for around $40,000 with only rear-wheel drive capability. Comparable EVs like Ford's Mustang Mach E starts at $45,000, while the Chevy Bolt EUV retails for $29,000. While EVs in general - particularly Tesla models - may have higher upfront costs compared to traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, prospective EV drivers can expect lower maintenance costs as EVs have fewer moving parts than gas cars.
However, this changes once an EV component needs to be replaced. Because EV technology is relatively new, materials may not be readily available and hard to source, making them expensive. Case in point, the Tesla battery pack. While Tesla and other EV manufacturers are mandated by the federal government to include an 8-year warranty period that covers battery replacement, you may be wondering: how much does Tesla battery replacement cost?
Tesla battery sizes
The distance a Tesla car can go on a single charge depends on how much power (measured in kWh) is stored in its battery pack. This depends on how efficiently the car uses that power, expressed as kilowatt-hours per mile or watt-hours per mile. Tesla offers different trim levels to cater to different vehicle models and consumer needs, and each trim level may come with a distinct battery capacity.
Standard Range Battery: This battery is typically used in the base models and provides a more budget-friendly option. It offers a shorter range compared to other options, but it's perfect for everyday driving.
Long Range Battery: As the name suggests, this battery provides a longer driving range, making it ideal for those who want to travel longer distances between charges.
Performance Battery: This is the high-performance option, designed for those who crave acceleration and speed. It offers both impressive performance and range.
Plaid Battery: Exclusive to the Tesla Model S Plaid, this battery takes performance to the extreme, offering blistering acceleration and an extended range.
What batteries do Teslas use?
Tesla primarily uses lithium-ion battery packs, specifically NCA (Nickel Cobalt Aluminum) and NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) chemistries. These batteries are known for their high energy density, durability, and reliability, making them the go-to choice for electric vehicles.
Over the years, Tesla battery packs have followed different configurations. The original Roadster and later Model S models used the 18650-style cells, measuring 18 mm in width and 65 mm in height. For a Model 3 or Model Y, the cell style, whether 2170 or 4680, depends on the manufacturing location. In the early months of 2022, around half of Tesla's produced cells were of the 4680 variety, incorporating the new Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LFP) chemistry.
How long do Tesla batteries last?
Tesla's batteries are designed to have a long lifespan. As with other electric vehicle batteries, they come with warranties that cover a certain number of miles or years, whichever comes first. For example, the Model S and Model X typically came with an 8-year or 150,000-mile battery and drive unit warranty, while the Model 3 and Model Y featured an 8-year or 100,000-mile warranty. It's important to consult the latest warranty information from Tesla for the most up-to-date details.
In practice, the lifespan of a Tesla battery can vary depending on factors like usage patterns, climate, and charging habits.
Tesla battery replacement costs
While Tesla's batteries are designed to last a long time, there may come a point when a battery replacement is necessary. Battery replacement costs can be a significant concern for Tesla owners, as they can run into thousands of dollars. The cost of replacing a Tesla battery depends on the model and the specific battery pack that the vehicle uses.
In a tweet in 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said it would cost around $5,000 to $7,000 to replace a Tesla battery module. For reference, the Model X uses 5 battery modules with 7,920 cells, totaling 36,450 individual cells for the entire battery pack.
Tesla Model S
Image courtesy of Tesla
The Model S has been a flagship vehicle for Tesla and is often seen as a benchmark for electric vehicles. It has two trim levels: the Standard Range and Plaid. The S Plaid uses 4-5 battery modules. Considering Musk's claims of $5000 - $7000 per module, expect to pay between $20,000 and $35,000 (plus labor costs) for a replacement outside the battery warranty.
Tesla Model 3
Image courtesy of edmunds.com
The Model 3 is Tesla's most popular model. It comes in three trim levels: Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD), Long Range, and Performance. With 4 battery modules, a replacement battery would cost around $20,000 to 28,000. That's 70% of the Model 3's base price.
Tesla Model Y
Image courtesy of Tesla
The Tesla Model Y is an SUV based on the Model 3 platform, offering both Long Range and Performance trim levels. Like the Model 3, it also employs 4 battery modules, with replacements estimated at $20,000 to $28,000.
Can you replace a Tesla battery at home?
Replacing a Tesla battery is a complex process that should be performed only by trained professionals at a Tesla Service Center. Attempting to replace a Tesla battery at home is not recommended due to the intricacies involved, the need for specialized equipment, and safety concerns. These service centers have the necessary tools, expertise, and experience to perform Tesla battery replacements safely and efficiently.
How can you avoid degrading a Tesla battery?
While Tesla batteries degrade over time, there are steps you can take to help maximize lifespan and performance:
Avoid Frequent Deep Discharges: Try to keep your battery charge level between 20% and 80% for regular use. Frequent deep discharges can lead to accelerated battery degradation.
Limit Exposure to Extreme Temperatures: High temperatures can be detrimental to battery life. Avoid leaving your Tesla in extreme heat for extended periods.
Use Tesla's Scheduled Departure Charging: This feature allows you to set a departure time, and your car will optimize the charging process to ensure the battery is ready at the desired time without prolonged exposure to high or low states of charge.
Regular Software Updates: Tesla often releases software updates that include improvements for battery management. Keeping your vehicle's software up to date is crucial.
Supercharger Usage: While it's convenient, frequent use of Tesla Superchargers can have a slightly higher impact on battery health compared to home charging. Use Superchargers when needed but try to rely on home Tesla chargers when possible. Here's how to charge your Tesla at home.
Staying Plugged In: If you won't be using your Tesla for an extended period, it's advisable to keep it plugged in to maintain the battery's health. Tesla vehicles have a "vampire drain" (the gradual loss of charge when parked) that can be mitigated by keeping the car plugged in.
You should monitor your Tesla's battery health through the vehicle's display and the Tesla app. If you notice a significant reduction in range or increased charging times, it may be an indicator that your battery needs attention. Additionally, if your vehicle is still under warranty, any battery issues should be covered by Tesla.
The cost of a replacement Tesla battery can vary depending on the model and the specific battery pack. According to Elon Musk, replacing a single battery module costs around $5,000 to $7,000. The total cost of replacing an entire battery pack depends on how many battery modules your electric car uses.
Tesla has a dedicated battery recycling program that aims to recover valuable materials from used batteries. The cost of recycling a Tesla battery depends on the size and type of the battery, as well as the condition of the battery. However, Tesla has not disclosed the exact cost of battery recycling.
Tesla batteries are designed to last for a significant number of years. The exact lifespan can vary depending on factors such as usage, climate, and charging habits. However, they typically come with warranties that last 8 years or a certain number of miles, providing some assurance to Tesla owners.
The cost of a battery for a Tesla depends on the model and battery size. At $5,000 to $7,000 per module, a 4-module battery pack could cost around $20,000 to $28,000 to replace (excluding labor costs).
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