Battery arms race

Tesla battery predicted to have 80% capacity after 840,000 km (521,000 mi)

An updated battery study based on crowdsourced data from Model S and Model X owners suggests that Tesla’s battery pack will still have 80% capacity after reaching 840,000 kilometers (521,952 miles), or nearly 1 million kilometers driven.

An online spreadsheet created by Matteo and maintained by Merijn Coumans via the Dutch-Belgium Tesla Forum tracks battery degradation being experienced by roughly 900 Tesla drivers from around the world. Using a linear progression model, the spreadsheet compiles various data points to create a trend line that suggests remaining battery capacity for a Tesla Model S and Model X over its lifetime.

This information is important to many Tesla owners and would-be buyers as it provides insight to expected driving range a vehicle could have (per single charge) over time.

Tesla Model S and Model X battery degradation chart [Credit: Matteo via Maarten Steinbuch]

The trend line seen in the chart has a slope of 60,000 km (40,000 miles) per 1 percent of 50,000 km (30,000 miles), meaning that on average the battery will degrade by 1 percent every 50,000 km driven. According to Maarten Steinbuch’s blog post, a Tesla Model S or Model X will still retain 92% of its battery capacity at 240,000 km (150,00 miles). By comparison, an internal combustion engine vehicle is expected to reach its end of life at around 220,000 km (140,000 miles).

Data revealed in the crowdsourced battery survey follows suit with recent reports that a Finnish taxi driver who crossed the 400,000 km (250,000 mile) mark in his Tesla Model S experienced only 7 percent degradation.

In addition, Tesloop, a city-to-city Tesla shuttle service available in Southern California, had its first vehicle reach the 483,000 kilometer (300,000 mile) mark with only $11,000 in vehicle maintenance costs.

“Over the last two years, we have seen that that electric, supercharged vehicles can be deployed at utilization levels unheard of with gas vehicles,” Tesloop said in a statement. “And while saving over $60,000 on fuel and maintenance is a substantial economic win, we feel the bigger win is that this car is ready for another 900,000 miles over the next 6 years under its current warranty.”

It’s worth noting that the battery degradation data we’re seeing is from Tesla’s 18650 cell and not the company’s newest 2170 cell being used on the Model 3. Based on Tesla’s comment that its 2170 cell has improved energy density and an all-around more efficient design, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Model 3 and future fleet’s using this cell type can support more battery cycles, reach 1 million miles of use, and still retain over 80% of its original capacity.

Based on these drivers’ stories, and battery data being compiled by Tesla drivers from around the world, it seems clear that a Tesla has quadruple the lifespan of any ICE car, and can outlast it by nearly ten-fold.


Tesla battery predicted to have 80% capacity after 840,000 km (521,000 mi)
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