Battery life and replacement costs

Discussion in 'General Motors' started by Aircooled6, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Aircooled6

    Aircooled6 New Member

    I have been looking at the economics of EV ownership. I've narrowed it down to the Bolt or the Volt. My typical drive is about 50-60 miles a day. At that rate, a 100,000/8 year warranty expires in 5 1/2 years if I purchase new. The thing I can't get a good answer on is the out of warranty replacement of batteries. That has to be figured into the cost of ownership. Does anyone know?
     
  2. Bruno

    Bruno New Member

    For the Bolt: 15.7K
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news...eplacement-chevy-bolt-ev-electric-car-battery

    For the Volt: 3 to 4K I think

    Unless the battery break down, I would think both the Volt and Bolt battery would last long because of the conditioning. If you can charge in the middle of the 60 miles a day, the Volt is the safest bet with still good EV coverage.
     
  3. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Before you ask about the cost of a replacement battery, you should ask whether the car you're buying is expected to need such a replacement in the time you own the car. If you're buying a Volt, then the answer is "probably not". The Bolt EV is too new to have a definitive answer. But quite possibly you won't need a replacement, depending on how long you plan to keep your car. If the Bolt EV is like most mass produced EVs so far, then if you keep the car for 7 years or less, as most Americans do, then odds are probably fairly low that you'd need to buy a new battery before you trade in the car.

    Obviously, if you're one of those people who keeps his/her car until it's falling apart, then you are far more likely to need to replace it. Or more likely, whenever the range of the car falls below what you think is acceptable, you'll decide that's the time to trade it in on a new one rather than spend the money on buying a new or reconditioned battery pack. I think the cost of that would make it questionable; what's the point of replacing an expensive battery pack on an old car, which will have increasing yearly maintenance costs as more and more things on it fail?

    Nobody really knows what the expected or average lifetime is for a mass produced EV battery pack, because the first mass produced EV (the Tesla Roadster) wasn't made until 2008. The Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt followed in December 2010. Altho many or most PEVs (Plug-in EVs) other than the Volt show some signs of loss of capacity as the years pass, a normal and expected loss due to regular cycling (charging & discharging) of the pack, none of them have been reported to hit the sudden dropoff, the "cliff" that marks the end of calendar life. So asking about the average lifetime is something no one can really answer.

    Volts are holding up very well indeed, at least so far. Apparently GM engineered some "safety margin" into the battery pack, so no Volt has yet lost any of its range. Or to put it another way, GM engineered the car to hide the capacity loss over time, by limiting the amount of usable battery capacity. Logic and common sense say that sooner or later Volts will start to show capacity loss due to charge/discharge cycling, but it hasn't been reported yet in even the highest mileage cars. Kudos to GM engineers!

    The Bolt EV, being very new, is more iffy. First of all, altho it was designed by GM, it is being built by LG Electronics' brand new automotive division. Secondly, since the Bolt EV is a BEV and not a PHEV like the Volt, and since range was very much a selling point for the Bolt EV, there is far less reason to believe that GM has provided a safety margin to hide loss of capacity, as it did for the Volt.

    Now, the good news about the Bolt EV is that it has a fairly large battery pack. The larger the pack, the fewer times it gets cycled over the years, so the longer it is expected to last before normal cycling will cause much loss of capacity. That's not just theory; it has been proven in practice by how slowly Tesla battery packs lose capacity due to cycling.

    I'm sorry we can't give you a more definitive answer. If you would tell us how long you expect to keep the car, then we could give an answer better fitted to your exact needs.

    P.S.-- Don't both the Volt and the Bolt EV have 8 year warranties on the powertrain, including battery pack? Assuming that's the case, and if you don't plan to own your car for more than 8 years, then chances are very low that you'd need to worry about paying to replace the battery pack. About the only time that would happen is if you do something to the car which the auto maker claims was abusing it, which might put it out of warranty. Not saying it can't happen, but that is pretty rare.
     
    Domenick likes this.
  4. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    "Now, the good news about the Bolt EV is that it has a fairly large battery pack. The larger the pack, the fewer times it gets cycled over the years, so the longer it is expected to last before normal cycling will cause much loss of capacity. That's not just theory; it has been proven in practice by how slowly Tesla battery packs lose capacity due to cycling."

    What he said! The Bolt, S, X, 3 all have very large packs so they will "cycle" only once over the same number of miles that a Spark EV or Soul EV cycles 3 times.

    With the shorter range EVs degradation was a bigger concern. Especially in a Leaf which has no active Battery Management System. If you live in a hot environment like I do, this can slow down charging times and put extra strain on the pack. Tesla and GM both have good battery conditioning so you can expect their vehicle packs to last much longer than early Leafs did.

    And the Volt has a lot of unused battery so a "cycle" is actually longer than it appears. Many people have put over 100,000 all electric miles on both the Model S and the Volt with little to no degradation.
     
    Counterpoint likes this.
  5. Tim Miser

    Tim Miser New Member

    Another thing to consider for battery replacement cost, when the Leaf was new, the replacement cost was estimated around $18K if I recall but as the technology aged and new technology progressed, in just 7 years that price is now around $5K for a better than original replacement battery. If we see the same level of battery price decreases, you might expect a Bolt battery to cost around $5K or less in 8 years but like others posted, even losing 50% battery for 238 mile range may still be acceptable for your needs.
     

Share This Page