How Do EV Battery Warranties Work?
Not all electric vehicle battery warranties are created equal.
If you’re thinking of buying an electric vehicle, you might be apprehensive about the battery. What if it breaks or stops holding a charge? Never fear, my EV friends. Just as manufacturers offer powertrain warranties, batteries also come with warranties. However, some are more comprehensive than others, and it's a good idea to read the fine print and know exactly what you’re getting.
Yes, Electric Car Batteries are Warranted
The federal government requires manufacturers to offer an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on all EV batteries. California does one better, mandating a warranty of 10 years or 150,000 miles. Some companies will cover a battery only if it completely stops working, while others will replace the battery if it falls below a certain capacity, usually 70% of the original, while still under warranty.
You should look for a warranty that specifies a battery capacity. Chances are the battery won’t fail completely, but it will definitely degrade. You can keep it healthy by limiting fast-charging, and keeping the battery at a 10-90% state of charge also can help, but eventually it won’t hold as much power as it did when new. If you drive a Ford Mustang Mach E with 312 miles of range with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty at 70%, you’ll be eligible for a replacement if that battery capacity goes down to 220 miles while in the warranty range.
Also keep in mind that a smaller-capacity battery is more likely to need a warranty than a larger-capacity battery. If you’re driving a Mazda MX-30 with 100 miles of range that has an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty at 70%, you’re more likely to discharge that battery below 10% on a daily commute, leading to quicker degradation. However, you probably won’t have that problem with the Lucid Air and its 516 miles of range.
EV Battery Warranties Can Transfer… Sometimes
EV battery warranties are transferable, but read the fine print as this is not true across the board. And remember, batteries can be extremely expensive to replace—$15,000 is not unheard of for parts and labor. While the price of batteries should go down in the future, it’s still a good idea to protect yourself if you can.
Of course, there are things that can void your warranty. Again, read the fine print, but things like failing to install updates, having non-certified technicians perform repairs, opening the battery coolant reservoir, or using the battery as a jacking point instead of the designated lift points can all void the warranty.
The Subscription Model
One company that has decided not to play the battery warranty game is Vietnamese carmaker VinFast. With its upcoming VF8 and VF9 models, customers will buy the car, but lease the battery. Subscription prices vary based on miles driven every month, but VinFast will maintain and repair the battery for the life of the vehicle, replacing it when it drops below 70% capacity.