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How long does a Tesla battery last?

Tesla is one of the best in the business at making electric cars, boasting class-leading ranges, plenty of technology and a cult-like fan following that some of the established car manufacturers can only dream of.

As great as its EVs can be though, they’re not immune from a problem that affects anything battery-powered — the life of the batteries themselves.

Which goes further — a Tesla Model 3 or a Polestar 2?

That’s not to put you off though, it’s something every electric car faces and it’s not too different from the amount of things that can go wrong on a petrol- or diesel-powered cars.

Wondering how long a Tesla battery will last? Read on to find out, as well as for some useful tips on how to make the most of its lifespan.

How long does a Tesla battery last?

Just like any electronic device, an electric car like Tesla’s models will see its battery life deplete over time.

How long it will last depends on a number of factors like usage and charging behaviour of yourself or previous owners, though Tesla covers the battery under an eight-year warranty on all cars, with varying mileage for each (we’ll come to that).

It says that over the warranty period, the battery should retain 70% of its original capacity.

What kind of battery is in a Tesla?

Tesla batteries are currently pretty similar to ones you’ll find in any EV, using cobalt at its core. The problem with cobalt is that it’s expensive though.

Tesla revealed in late 2020 that its battery technology is moving away from using cobalt, to a unit that would be made up of two-thirds nickel and a third manganese.

It says this will make batteries cheaper to produce, with the new design also improving range.

How long is Tesla’s battery warranty for each model?

As mentioned, every Tesla vehicle’s battery is covered by an eight-year warranty with a set mileage for each — depending on which comes first.

For all variants the Model S and Model X, that’s 150,000 miles, while the Model 3 Standard Range has it covered for 100,000.

In the case of the Long Range and Performance versions of the Model 3, that’s 120,000 miles.

What battery options do I have when buying a Tesla?

Tesla doesn’t publicly state the size of its battery packs, but it does offer a variety of different options for each of the Model S, Model X and Model 3. See below for a breakdown:

Tesla Model S Range
Long Range 412 miles
Plaid 390 miles
Plaid+ 520 miles

 

Tesla Model X Range
Long Range 360 miles
Plaid 340 miles

 

Tesla Model 3 Range
Standard Range Plus 278 miles
Long Range 360 miles
Performance 352 miles

 

How does Tesla’s battery life compare to other electric cars?

As you may expect, it’s not one hard-fast rule as to how long all electric car batteries will last — that comes down to usage and application — though manufacturer warranties are pretty similar across the board.

Audi does match Tesla’s eight-year warranty for its range of e-tron vehicles, with 100,000 mile limits. BMW offers those exact terms for its i3 and iX3 EVs, too, as does Ford for the Mustang Mach E.

Top tips to maximise your Tesla’s battery life

Just got a new Tesla and want to make the most of its battery? Here are some tips you may find useful.

  • Maintain a regular charging schedule

If you can, stick to a regular schedule for charging where you can give your car a proper charge rather than plugging it in for short whiles at random intervals.

Every ‘cycle’ of charge will take a small dent out of the battery life, with shorter and frequent charges providing more of a hit to the cell than longer, less-frequent ones.

  • Drive more smoothly 

If you drive smoother, you’ll be able to make the most of your Tesla’s range — and have to charge it less as a result. Erratic driving will have a detrimental effect on range, so you’ll have to plug it in more — it’s as simple as that.

Easy ways to smoothen your driving include gradually applying the throttle when pulling away from a stop rather than slamming your foot down, and lifting off earlier and allowing the car to coast a bit when coming to a halt. Staying at the speed limit and slamming your brakes on at the last moment won’t do you any favours.

  • Only Supercharge when necessary

Tesla’s Supercharger network is an impressive thing — letting you take your Tesla’s battery from 10% to 80% in about 35 minutes — but using it too often can have a detrimental effect on the battery.

Faster charging rates, 125kW in this case, cause higher wear on batteries, so regular plugging in at home rather than relying on public Superchargers often may be the way to go. That’s not to say avoid them entirely, they are really useful after all, but use them as little as often to maximise your car’s battery.

  • Don’t charge it over 80% unless you need to

Once a battery is charged above 80% of its total capacity, it takes on more stress when being charged which negatively impacts its lifespan. If you don’t need to use the full range of your Tesla, keeping it below 80% charge is a safe bet to improve the life of the batttery.