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Researchers make surprising discovery about lifespan of EV batteries: 'That was a shock'

The study took real-world data from 15,000 EVs of various makes and models in the U.S.

Dead battery, Researchers make surprising discovery about lifespan of EV batteries

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A dead, irreplaceable battery is often the demise of an otherwise perfectly good piece of equipment, and it can be incredibly frustrating. New research shows, however, that the opposite may be true when it comes to the batteries running electric vehicles

The Globe and Mail reports that a study done in March by Recurrent Motors Inc. — a Seattle-based battery analysis company — showed that overall, EV batteries are actually very reliable and long-lasting. In fact, they may last longer than the vehicles themselves. 

The study took real-world data from 15,000 EVs of various makes and models in the U.S. By linking to the vehicles' connectivity systems, the company took several battery readings daily, including charging activity, EV battery level, and estimated range.

The data showed that most EVs driven close to 100,000 miles still have at least 90 percent of their original range left.

"I was surprised how well batteries are holding up, and how relatively infrequently batteries are being replaced," Liz Najman, researcher and marketing manager at Recurrent and the study's author, told The Globe and Mail. "That was a shock."

The publication did report, however, that Najman made sure to point out that individual vehicles vary and that Recurrent's data is constantly evolving. This is mainly because most EVs aren't that old, with nearly 30 percent currently on the road in the U.S. being sold just last year. The majority of the rest are less than six years old.  

The cost of replacing an EV battery can range from $5,000 to $22,000, which few people would be willing to pay, especially on a used car whose warranty is up. Data from the study positively showed that, outside of official recalls, only 1.5% of cars had batteries replaced. 

The company hopes this promising data will alleviate people's concerns and encourage them to comfortably switch to an EV, possibly even a used one. 

Transportation is the largest contributor of heat-trapping gases. Worldwide, passenger cars produce around 3.3 billion tons of carbon pollution annually. EVs, on the other hand, cut down on heat-trapping air pollution since they produce no exhaust.

So, the more companies like Recurrent can alleviate concern, the more likely people will be to switch to an EV, and the more EVs on the road, the better it is for the planet. Taking away the concern of battery longevity is a great place to start. 

"I don't think I'm alone in the assumption that modern EV batteries should outlast the cars themselves," Najman said. 

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