Tech

EV Lifespan: Do They Last as Long as Gasoline Cars?

Life expectancy of electric vehicles improves as related technologies advance

Just as gasoline and diesel engines were once new technology and kicked out by the traveling public, modern battery electric vehicles (EVs) face the same criticism. Will electric vehicles be on the road for as long as gasoline cars and diesel vehicles? Absolutely, and automakers are already delivering.

Myth busted: neither electric nor gasoline vehicles are infallible

Since the first automobile went from production to daily driver to a junkyard, the lifespan of cars and trucks has increased. Despite a few outliers, like Irv Gordon’s 3.2 million-mile 1966 Volvo P1800S and Matt Farah’s 1996 Lexus LS400, the typical car’s increased lifespan is encouraging. In 1977, the average American car was only 5.5 years old. In 1995 it was 8.4 years and in 2020 the average reached 11.9 years.

This says a lot about the typical expectations of today’s drivers and the technical advances put in place to meet them: people want cars that last. EV or gasoline, they expect any car they buy today to be safe, efficient and reliable for years to come.

However, where and how a vehicle is driven and maintained has a significant impact on its lifespan, regardless of how well the car is built. Rough driving, overloading, corrosion, and neglect will destroy any vehicle before its prime, but well-maintained vehicles are no longer considered worn until they’ve reached at least 150,000 miles.

No vehicle is foolproof, but certain things tend to give electric vehicles a better chance of lasting longer.

Life expectancy of the key components of the electric vehicle

When trying to decide between buying an electric vehicle or a conventional vehicle, there are several common components that should be removed from the lifespan comparison. Both types include the following similarities:

  • Modern vehicle chassis and body construction last the life of the vehicle, depending on environmental factors.
  • Electrical systems, such as the radio, navigation system, headlights, taillights, and power windows, typically last more than 10 years.
  • Steering and suspension components typically last 6-10 years.
  • Tires typically last 4-5 years, depending on driving habits and alignment maintenance.
  • Windshield wipers and cabin filters are typically replaced every 6 to 12 months, depending on environmental factors.
  • The 12V battery is also the same, typically lasting 5-7 years under normal driving conditions.
  • The hydraulic system and brake calipers are the same and generally require service every two years.

On the other hand, there are big differences between conventional and electric vehicles. Although modern conventional powertrains, with proper maintenance, have been shown to last a long time, electric vehicle batteries and motors are often frowned upon, primarily due to the cost of critical components like batteries.

Still, the main components of electric vehicles are at least as good as their gasoline counterparts.

Motor

Close-up of the electric motor.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Electric motors typically have only one moving part, compared to several hundred parts in a motor. Electric motor maintenance is limited to coolant changes every 100,000 miles. Engines, in addition to coolant, require regular oil changes, air filters, and probably spark plugs during this time. Motors and motors are proven to last over 20 years.

Transmission

A close up of a transmission repair with the No Overlay symbol on top.

da-kuk/Getty Images

Since electric vehicles are generally not equipped with a transmission, only a single gear reduction, they are the clear winners in the transmission lifespan comparison. For modern conventional vehicles, manual and automatic transmissions typically last more than 15 years and require fluid services at least every 100,000 miles.

Battery

Tesla S Model battery modules linked together to form a Tesla S Model battery.

Tesla S Model battery modules linked together to form a Tesla S Model battery.

Are you here

lithium ion batteries are Expensive, but last a long time. So far, the typical electric vehicle battery has been shown to last around 200,000 miles, or almost 20 years. Tesla is said to be developing an EV battery that will last 1,000,000 miles, far longer than the average vehicle, which is currently 11.9 years old. Major electric vehicle manufacturers report few battery replacements in the past decade.

Brakes

Brake services offer an interesting comparison. Since electric vehicles use regenerative braking to slow the vehicle down, the hydraulic braking system is not used as much. While conventional vehicle brakes last 25,000 to 65,000 miles, depending on vehicle type and driver habits, hybrid and EV brake pads and rotors are known to last much longer. Some owners of hybrid and electric vehicles report that their brakes last more than 100,000 miles.

The maintenance of electric vehicles is important!

Simpler electric vehicle powertrains require less maintenance, which actually makes the services required more critical. How you drive, charge, and maintain your electric vehicle will play a big role in its lifespan, just like you do with a gas-powered vehicle. There are two key areas to pay attention to.

Cooling system checks

Maintenance of the cooling system is important. A combination of active and passive heating and cooling keeps the battery at around 70°F for longer battery life. Pay special attention to cooling system maintenance, such as replacing the coolant or air filter.

Battery charging practices

Loading practices are essential. While the Battery Management System (BMS) manages charge rates to protect your battery, it can do its part by charging primarily on Level 2 chargers. You can use Level 3 charging stations while you travel, but regular use and constant use of these high power chargers will affect battery life.

The life expectancy of electric vehicles is at least equal to that of gasoline cars

Given the technological advances in conventional and electric vehicles over the past decade, neither seems to have longevity issues. With responsible driving and maintenance habits, both should last at least a decade, if not much longer.

The confidence of the government and automakers seems to reflect the wish, if not the reality, of the longevity of electric vehicles. To help build confidence in electric vehicles, federal rules now require automakers to cover major components, like the battery and electric motor, for eight years or 100,000 miles, while California is extending that to 10 years. . or 150,000 miles. Some EV car manufacturers even offer a lifetime warranty, something virtually unheard of in conventional vehicle warranties.

If you’re looking for a new vehicle, it’s good to know you can choose the car that’s right for you. Eventually, as prices and availability become more competitive, not choosing an electric vehicle may seem like a gamble.

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