Battery electric cars have only been around for about a decade, but in the last several years one electric car has broken the mold. The Tesla, in all its shapes, sizes, and configurations, stands above the fold as the epitome of an all-electric vehicle. Depending on the model, Teslas boast an average of 400 horsepower and zero to sixty acceleration time of three seconds or less.
This electric vehicle, engineered for driver ease of use and passenger comfort, is becoming a new favorite amongst car enthusiasts. Still, new consumers that are considering going electric want to know: How do electric cars work? How do you charge a Tesla at home? How long does it take to charge a Tesla? How long does the battery last? How often do you need to charge it? How much does Tesla supercharger cost?
How long does a Tesla battery last?
Before we get started, it’s important to clarify that there are two different answers to the question, “How many miles does a Tesla last?”
There, you will see models broken out by their charge times, and the expected EV mileage or range. The other answer, or what we aim to discuss here, is focused on Tesla's battery degradation over time and mileage before a Tesla battery replacement is needed.
The degradation of the Tesla battery does not happen all at once. Unlike the battery in your gas-powered car, the battery in an electric car doesn't die if you accidentally leave the lights on in the cabin.
This is a huge plus if you are somewhere that you don't know where to charge your electric car. The lithium ion battery in an electric car is nothing like the lead acid battery in your gas-powered car.
Tesla vehicles are designed and manufactured for durability with the understanding that the batteries are the most expensive car component, so Tesla designed its battery capacity to endure exceptional conditions.
According to a private study on the longevity of Tesla batteries, the researchers found that the Tesla car battery should have no issue reaching the 500,000-mile mark. Clearly, drivers who are asking, “How many miles does a Tesla last?” really have very little to worry about.
Now, this staggering number does come with a few caveats. The first is that over time, the Tesla car battery does begin to wear down and lose charge like all other batteries.
Again, the degradation of a Tesla vehicle's battery life does not happen all at once but rather very subtly, and in increments that would be nearly impossible for a driver to notice on a day to day basis.
For example, some Tesla owners have reported that their battery functions at approximately 95 percent of its original ability after only 50,000 miles. Depending on the Tesla model, a 5 percent decrease in battery range could equate to around 20 miles less distance per charge when starting at 400 miles of range.
The more interesting statistic comes from older Teslas. Those same cars that saw only a five percent loss in battery efficiency after the first 50,000 miles saw their battery decrease only another 5 percent in the next 100,000 miles.
Most Tesla owners with cars that past an odometer reading of higher than 150,000 miles report that their Tesla still operates with 90 percent efficiency when it comes to the battery. Based on these metrics, the company can postulate that a Tesla with 500,000 miles on it would still be able to operate at a minimum of 80 percent efficiency.
These numbers seem to point to the conclusion that Tesla vehicle batteries, while degrading over time, do so less drastically and at a slower pace than every other electric car battery. The Tesla battery, while it may lose power, does so in a way that drivers remain virtually unaffected.
The impressive thing about a Tesla comes from the evidence above wherein the older the car gets, the slower and more gradual the process of battery degradation becomes. It is for this reason that Tesla makers and owners believe that in some instances, their car could actually outlast them.