One of the big appeals of choosing a Tesla over other EVs is the impressive longevity of the brand’s batteries. But how often does a Tesla battery need to be replaced?
What Is the Warranty on a Tesla Battery?
The main battery unit of a new Tesla comes with a warranty that covers the battery for either up to 8 years of ownership or up to a certain mileage cap. The mileage cap ranges from 100,000 miles for the Model 3 Standard and Model Y to 150,000 miles for the Model S and Model X.
|Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty
|8 years or 150,000 miles (240,000 km), whichever comes first, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period
|Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive
Model Y Rear-Wheel Drive
|8 years or 100,000 miles (160,000 km), whichever comes first, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.
|Model 3 Long Range
Model 3 Performance
|8 years or 120,000 miles (192,000 km), whichever comes first, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.
|All Used Models sold by Tesla
|Tesla used vehicles are covered by the remainder of 4 years or 80,000 km left on the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty. After expiration, the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty provides additional coverage of 1 year or 20,000 km. If the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty has already expired, the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty will provide coverage of 1 year or 20,000 km
For the duration of time that your Tesla’s battery is covered by warranty, you can rest assured that if its charge retention drops below 70%, the EV maker will replace the battery free of charge.
How Long Do Tesla Batteries Really Last?
It makes sense that Tesla owners would want to know how long their battery is likely to last, as these sophisticated and sizable units represent a significant portion of each vehicle’s value. Elon Musk shared on Twitter that drivers can anticipate replacement costs in the range of $5k to $7k per battery module for a Model 3 Tesla, bearing in mind that other models feature different battery types comprised of a varying number and size of modules.
The models within the Tesla collection that offer drivers a greater range feature larger batteries with more substantial price tags. At the time of writing, replacement with remanufactured packs can cost somewhere in the $10k range, while a new battery can cost anywhere between $15k and upward of $20k, depending on the model and any peripheral maintenance required.
Fortunately, in the same tweet mentioned above, Musk highlighted that Tesla car batteries are designed to far exceed their warranty, lasting for 300,000 to 500,000 miles, which is 1,500 battery cycles.
For the average car driver in the United States who, according to the Department of Transportation, drives roughly 13,500 miles each year, this represents a lifespan of 22-37 years. Crucially, this means that those taking care of their primary Tesla battery shouldn’t have to worry about replacement costs anytime soon.
Is There More Than One Battery in a Tesla?
While this is all great news for EV fans, current or aspiring drivers should note that there is actually more than one battery in each Tesla vehicle.
Alongside the primary battery, there is also a supporting secondary battery that takes care of things like powering up the vehicle, the headlights, and the interior sound system. Over the course of the brand’s history, most of its EVs have featured a 12-volt lead-acid battery to perform this function.
As anyone who has ever experienced battery trouble with a fossil-fueled vehicle knows, lead-acid batteries don’t tend to offer a phenomenal lifespan. While far cheaper to replace than their high-tech Tesla battery big brothers, these smaller batteries do need to be monitored for health to avoid an unexpected failure.
Those purchasing a Model S or Model X following the brand’s recent refresh of these two lines will be pleased to discover that they may not have a lead-acid battery on board. In 2021, Tesla announced that they would be upgrading the small, secondary battery in these vehicles to a lithium-ion unit, offering similar longevity to that of the main battery pack.
Checking the Condition of Your Primary Tesla Battery
If you are concerned that your Tesla’s battery may be under-performing, you can easily calculate its current status with the following steps:
- Fully charge the car’s battery, ensuring it hits 100% capacity
- Turn on the vehicle and consult the Energy app on your Tesla’s touch screen to find the car’s current estimated range.
- Divide that number by the range outlined in the car’s original specifications.
- Multiply the resulting number by 100 to determine its current percentage capacity.
This can also be a useful tactic for those considering buying a secondhand Tesla.
While those buying a secondhand vehicle from the brand itself can enjoy some warranty coverage (see table above) and peace of mind in knowing that the vehicle was inspected by its creating company, vehicles bought in the wider secondhand marketplace may not come with such assurances. This can make verifying the current battery health a savvy tactic for avoiding a big battery replacement bill in the near future.