Updated 1 month ago

How long do Tesla batteries last?

Written by Ana Almerini , Edited by Catherine Lane

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The Tesla Model S has the longest range of any commercially available electric car. Image source: Tesla

Wanting to know how long your Tesla will last is a valid question for a potential EV owner, but there is no easy answer. There are mileage ranges listed on Tesla’s website, but they tend to fluctuate, along with the prices of Tesla cars. 

But, we can assume that a Tesla car battery will last up to 35 years, or around up to 500,000 miles. Under ideal conditions, each charge should get you at least 272 miles. 

What happens out on the road isn’t so predictable, and in reality, you probably won’t drive your Tesla until it reaches its absolute breaking point. Let’s dig into the details.

Key takeaways

  • Tesla car batteries can supposedly last up to 35 years, but no one has had a Tesla that long to test the theory.

  • Tesla car batteries are covered by an eight-year warranty.

  • The shortest-range Tesla Model 3 will get you to 272 miles per charge, while the Model S can drive up to 405 miles per charge.

  • Most Tesla owners won’t need to replace their car’s battery because of how long they are expected to last.

  • In the unlikely event that you need to replace your Tesla’s entire battery pack, you can expect to pay at least $13,000.

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How many years will a Tesla battery last?

Performance statistics of a Tesla Model 3

According to a post by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2019, Tesla car batteries are built to last 300,000 to 500,000 miles before needing a replacement. But, because Teslas are relatively new, there are few, if any, real-world scenarios to prove how many miles Tesla’s battery lasts before a replacement. We’ll have to wait and see if this plays out in 2029-2043 since the first Tesla was introduced in 2008 and could still be on the road.

Tesla’s 2022 Impact Report states that a car’s battery will not need replacing because most people get new cars after 200,000 miles. Even if someone kept the car, the company claims its batteries degrade by only 12% after 200,000 miles on average.

All of Tesla’s cars come with a battery warranty that states its EV batteries will operate at 70% capacity after eight years or up to a certain mileage, whichever comes first. The battery warranties cover the repair or replacement that would correct defects that arise from normal use in the material or workmanship of parts that were manufactured or supplied by Tesla. Used vehicles are not covered.

Model

Warranty

Model S and Model X

8 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first, with a minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.

Model 3 and Model Y

8 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first, with a minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.

The average American drives 13,500 miles a year, which works out to about 8.8 years for 120,000 miles. You’ll likely reach the eight-year mark before the mileage limit, and any issues that do arise could be covered by the warranty.

Tesla customer service concerns. We spoke with Mathias Rivers, the owner of a 2021 Tesla Model Y Performance, who told us about his experience with the EV. Mathias said his motivation to get a Tesla was to save on gas - and it does, making his electric bill only $100. But, an issue with customer service when he had to make a warranty claim to replace his rear motor has made him decide not to buy another Tesla in the future. Having to schedule every appointment on an app and being unable to call and speak with a mechanic makes owning a Tesla hard work. When his rear motor failed, he couldn’t get an appointment for two weeks. The warranty did pay for the replacement, but the headache of dealing exclusively with the app made the experience a nuisance.

What is the cost of a Tesla battery replacement?

This is tough to answer because few Tesla owners have had their cars long enough to reach the battery’s eight to ten-year warranty life. According to the same post by Musk mentioned earlier, replacing individual battery modules costs between $5,000 and $7,000.

JD Power suggests that replacing the entire lithium-ion battery pack of a Tesla would range from $13,000 to  $20,000.

As we said before, it’s likely you won’t need to replace your Tesla EV’s battery. Lithium-ion batteries can last quite a long time, and it’s likely you’ll want to replace your whole car sooner than you need to get a new battery.

How many miles can a Tesla drive on one charge?

As of September 2023, you can expect any Tesla vehicle to be able to drive at least 272 miles on a full charge. The table below outlines the EPA estimated mileage range for each Tesla model:

Model

Milage range

Model S

405 miles

Model S Plaid

396 miles

Model 3 Standard Range

272 miles

Model 3 Long Range

333 miles

Model 3 Performance

315 miles

Model X

348 miles

Model X Plaid

333 miles

Model Y

330 miles

Model Y Performance

303 miles

*The mileage range for each model is based on audited EPA estimates

To put this into perspective, if your commute is 50 miles in one direction, you can drive to and from work twice before needing to charge a Tesla Model 3. The other models can last even longer, but not letting your electric vehicle battery drain to 0 is extremely important.

Put another way, on that single charge, you can take a road trip from New York City to Washington, DC - just be sure to plug in once you reach your destination!

But with any EV, the mileage range will vary based on how you drive the car, the outside temperature, what features you’re using in your car, and more.

Keep in mind, some Tesla car models are more available than others. The current waiting time for a Tesla can be different based on which model you choose to purchase. Be sure to check with Tesla for delivery dates for the model with the battery longevity you prefer.

How does this play out in the real world?

Mathias also told us a little bit about how long his battery lasts while he’s driving. The 2021 Model Y Performance has an estimated range of 303 miles. His daily commute is about 120 miles, and this car can get him to and from work on Monday and Tuesday, then needs a charge for Wednesday morning.

"In the summer, my car can handle a road trip from my home in New Jersey to Philadelphia and back with no problem. Once it gets cold out, I have to charge more."

On a typical summer day, Mathias’ car uses about 12% of its battery for a one-way commute. In the winter, that jumps up to about 18%. Pre-heating the car does help, but it still doesn’t run as efficiently in cold weather.

Tesla false advertising claims. Tesla’s EV mileage ranges are some of the best available, but they are not always entirely true. Tesla is accused of creating algorithms that show a better mileage range during performance testing. When customers began scheduling appointments via the aforementioned app to complain about reduced mileage during real-world driving, Tesla created an office dedicated to canceling range-related service appointments. While this specific fallacy can be traced back to the two original Tesla models, there are still instances of false advertising. This has largely been addressed thanks to the EPA’s requirement that Tesla reduce their mileage range and a lawsuit from South Korea accusing Tesla of advertising ranges incorrectly.

Factors that affect Tesla mileage range

The do's and dont's of Tesla vehicle battery maintenance

When mileage ranges are tested, there is no guarantee that those conditions will be the same in the real world. Much like a gas-powered car, your battery range will be reduced if you speed, blast the air conditioner, or need extra power to drive up a hill.  

Various weather conditions also interfere with the car's battery life, especially cold temperatures. In the winter, expect your car’s mileage range to be reduced, and never let the car go below a 20% charge.

Aside from the temperature, improper battery charging can cause a strain on the battery's ability to hold a charge. If a car’s battery is fully depleted and then charged to full every day, this will reduce the battery’s longevity and ability to hold a charge.

Under the best conditions, a battery will degrade about 10% after 160,000 miles, or about 1% each year. This means that in 10 years, you would only be able to charge your battery to 90% of its original capacity.

How to take care of a Tesla battery

A healthy EV battery will lead to a longer life for your EV. There are a few rules to follow that will help keep your battery operating at peak performance:

  • Never charge the battery to 100%, or do so only when absolutely necessary. Try to charge the battery to 80% if you can, you can set this limit within your Tesla app.  

  • Limit fast-charging Tesla Supercharger use to long road trips. Quickly charging a battery causes strain to the battery. 

  • Try to keep a consistent recharging schedule, like charging every night. 

  • Maintain a calm driving pattern. Quickly braking or accelerating to high speeds can wear on your battery.

This might seem like a lot of rules, but it is no different than a gas-powered car. You shouldn’t be speeding and braking or letting your car’s tank get empty. All of this is to maintain the overall health of your car.

Why changing an EV with solar is the best option

To get the most out of your Tesla, charging it with home solar is your best option.

Compared to public charging stations, charging via solar panels is the cheapest option for keeping an electric vehicle charged up - it can cost as little as $219 for the year vs. $1,134.

If you want to live an all-electric life, using solar and driving an EV is a great way. If you keep your battery healthy, it will be able to handle your typical commute and a weekend getaway for years to come!

How many solar panels do you need to charge your Tesla?

Written by Ana Almerini Marketing & Communications Manager

Ana is the Marketing & Communications Manager at SolarReviews, working within the solar industry since 2020. With a Master's in Climate and Society and professional experience in marketing, she helps communicate the value of solar to homeowners and build awareness of the SolarReviews brand. On weekends you can find her at the Jersey shore, reading a book from the ever-increasing stack on her side table, or eating food someone else cooked....

Learn more about Ana Almerini