There is little doubt that the electric car is the vehicle of the future. As fossil fuels become more and more problematic, we will eventually be faced with a hard choice: Give up our favorite mode of transportation or switch to all-electric cars. Obviously, option two is the more popular one.
However, this is still a new technology, and many people wonder if the electric car is really good enough to replace their old reliable gas guzzler. In this article, we will focus on the batteries that are found in Tesla vehicles.
How Do Tesla Batteries Work?
Most cars use a lead-acid battery, which is basically a mixture of sulfuric acid and lead oxide. Tesla batteries, on the other hand, are made from lithium. These lithium-ion batteries are similar to those found in a smartphone. These are two completely different types of batteries with two completely different purposes.
Lead-acid batteries are not meant to be charged and recharged repeatedly. While they are rechargeable, they will quickly break down if they are used up and recharged repeatedly. Instead, a lead-acid battery works with the alternator to maintain a constant level of charge. If something goes wrong with the alternator (which generates electricity like a miniature generator), the battery will quickly die.
Lithium-ion batteries are meant to be discharged fully and recharged completely. Thus, you can run them all the way to a stop and recharge them with no worries. If you did this with a lead-acid battery, it would seriously reduce the life of that battery.
How Long Do Tesla Batteries Last?
First, we might mention the good news: Lithium-ion batteries tend to last a lot longer than their lead-acid counterparts. In fact, we found a privately-done study that confirms this fact. This particular research found that the rate of failure for Tesla batteries was very low. Every noted instance of failure occurred with very strong batteries (in the 80-kilowatt range), and every instance occurred before the 50,000-mile mark. Overall, these results are quite encouraging.
However, it isn’t very encouraging when we look at videos like these. Numerous people claim that Tesla batteries will start to lose their charge within the first year. While they will not fail, they will suffer from reduced range and power output (according to some). There are numerous testimonials that make this claim, so let’s see if we can get some confirmation from the company.
By checking out the forums on Tesla’s website, we can get some answers here. According to one company representative, the warranty actually accounts for this problem. The warranty says that there isn’t a problem until you have suffered a range loss of 30% or greater. One user who had suffered a range loss of 9% was told to keep driving and ignore the problem. Thus, we can see that the company doesn’t deny the range loss issue.
In the absence of any clear and definitive numbers, we would say that a Tesla battery will probably last as long as the battery in your phone. After all, it’s the same kind of battery with the same chemicals. Most people don’t know that a battery is basically just a chemical reaction in a box. Same chemicals, same results. Like a phone, your car will be charged on a very regular basis, so it would be logical to assume that the Tesla battery will need to be changed every 1-3 years. 1-3 years is the average lifespan of a smartphone battery, so that is probably the best estimate.
Safety Issues With Lithium-Ion Batteries
There is one difference between a Tesla battery and your smartphone battery: The Tesla battery is a lot bigger! Of course, a car uses a lot more power than a phone, so the extra size is necessary. However, Lithium can be a very dangerous and volatile substance. When using it in small amounts, the danger is much smaller, but large Lithium batteries have been known to cause fires.
So, have there been any serious safety issues with Tesla batteries? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Like any lithium battery, a Tesla battery can burst into flames or even explode if it degrades or leaks. When using a battery of this type, it is critical that you replace it quickly at the first sign of wear. Even a tiny crack in the casing is a red flag. It’s worth noting that Tesla batteries have recently caught the attention of the U.S. government, which recently opened a probe into the number of car fires that have resulted from Tesla battery malfunctions.
What If The Battery Needs To Be Replaced?
If you need a new battery for your Tesla, we would recommend that you look over the warranty provided by the company. This information will let you know if you qualify for a free replacement battery. The out-of-pocket cost of a new Tesla battery is pretty high, so this warranty is worth reading.
It is not the purpose of this article to make a value judgment on the value of Tesla batteries. We should also acknowledge that this is a complex subject and might be hard for some people to understand. However, there does seem to be a lot of reason to doubt these batteries. They will definitely lose range over time, and they will definitely need to be replaced at the first sign of wear. That being said, a Tesla battery should last at least a year before needing replacement.
While this might seem to be a negative thing, we should mention that standard car batteries also require frequent replacement. The average lifespan of a lead-acid battery is also 1-3 years. As for the safety issues, sulfuric acid isn’t exactly safe in its own right. Thus, we can say that Tesla has succeeded in making something that is up to the current market standard. If you have enjoyed this article, we invite you to fill out the contact form below to receive more of our work.