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Battery life concerns

Battery life concerns

As I reach for the charge cord more frequently for my cell phone every passing day I worry about the implications for my future Model S. I know the battery capacity will diminish every year. Even TESLA puts a NEW battery (<1y/o & <25k miles)as one of their prerequisites for getting the stated mileage. We have had enough TESLA battery powered cars out for a sufficient amount of time to see some data start to come in. At least we should be able to see if the degradation is linear or curved over time.

My cell phone battery's life span is about a year. At that point its down about 2/3 of what it was. I would think the same would be said for a car battery. If 260 miles was what you bought your car for and all of a sudden you could only drive 156 miles, you would probably have major problems doing the things you bought the car for. Or at a the very least, a major reworking of how you get them done. So if my Model S's battery drops below 2/3 of the stated range I would be looking for a new battery. When is that 2/3's number going to be hit?
I understand that supercharging has an effect. Lets assume 2 super charges a month to full capacity. The rest of the charges would be thru twin charging 240volt 100 amp circuits. Driving on average 15k miles a year in south Florida.

Any ideas on battery life degradation projections?

astraussmd | 27. März 2013

Plug-in America did a limited survey of Roadster owners recently - no discernable degradation with owners who had 10K-30K miles. Wouldn't worry about it - enjoy your car, instead!

Tâm | 27. März 2013

Dude, why don’t you pose this question to a physics professor in your local university then report back to us?

In the mean time, let me guess.

For simplicity, worst case scenario: No name, generic Lithium battery would last for about 300-500 cycles.

That fits with your cell phone example. You charge it 365 times a year, then it dies.

Transfer that very simple example to your car. You run your car 300 miles a day, deplete it every day, and it dies after 90,000 miles (300 miles x 300 recharges=90,000 miles) in a year.

That may explain why Tesla guarantees your 85kWh battery for 8 years or 100,000 miles.

Sure, you can try to Broder your battery down by running in a circle around a parking lot. However, the worst scenario applies when you practice 100% DoD Depth of Discharge. Most of us don’t or can’t because by default, the software prevents us from completely discharge or completely recharge your Model S battery.

Most of us only let our car partially discharge and we don’t “max charge” so that don’t count as one complete discharge/recharge cycle.

Thus, your Model S battery may last you a long time :)

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_...

inverts | 28. März 2013

I've heard number of 1.5-3% loss per year, not sure how many miles, but assume it is 15-25K. Linearity? Don't know, but given the amount, not much difference between linear and curve. I don't sweat it at all. Had a Prius before, and have not noted any decline with battery/milage over 8 years 187K miles. MS battery is of better quality.

Also, MS85/P85 has 8 year/unlimited miles battery warranty! (not 100K miles). I got a 85 and love it.

mpottinger | 28. März 2013

There have been some posts here and on TMC from Roadster owners who report minimal degradation. These are admittedly anecdotal, but should give you some confidence.

Unless you are max charging every night, and fully depleting every day, you won't frequently be operating the car in the more damaging ranges of >85% and less than <15% of max charge.

johnchamplinhall1 | 28. März 2013

As a Ph.D. physical chemist with 40 years of lithium battery development experience and Model S owner I think I am in a pretty good position to reassure you. The Panasonic cell used in the MS is probably one of the best in the world. I am very familiar with its electrochemical design (LNCA) and have developed physics based models for predicting LNCA life. Providing that your daily driving pattern is reasonable (<100 miles) and its not too hot where you live I predict the battery will last (70% of new range) for > 20 years.
If you want further reassurance get a copy of the paper below by some Panasonic researchers (you have to buy it for $31). Their results equate to 400,000 miles of life even with 160 mile per day driving cycle
“Prevention of the Micro cracks Generation in LiNiCoAlO2 Cathode by the Restriction of DOD” Transactions, S. Watanabe, T. Hosokawa, K. Morigaki, M. Kinoshita, and K. Nakura, ECS Transactions 41 (41) 65-74 (2012).

noel.smyth | 28. März 2013

@john - good info - thank you very much! If I get 20 years out of my MS85, that would be awesome and the gas savings much greater than first thought...

July10Models | 28. März 2013

wikiarticle!

read about the original Toyota RAV4 which was tested to 300,000 miles by Toyota. The MS is 40% to 50% more capable and far more advance.

Brian H | 28. März 2013

AFAIK, no one, even high-mileage types, has reported any loss of range so far.

TimHuey | 28. März 2013

That 100 miles per day or less is actually right where I am. And I live in South Florida so we are fairly temperate. Hardly ever above 100 degrees like the south or southwest gets.

mcx-sea | 28. März 2013

What does the unlimited battery cover?

mcx-sea | 28. März 2013

Unlimited mileage battery warranty.....

Brian H | 28. März 2013

Abnormal failure, range loss beyond expected due to manufacturing flaw, etc. Normal loss of range, possibly about 30% in 8 yrs., is not covered.

dortor | 29. März 2013

I've also heard that active thermal management (which Tesla employs and it one of their trade-secrets and a barrier to entry for competition) also dramatically extends the battery life and cycles…I'm sure @ johnchamplinhal will chime in and correct me if I'm off the mark.

Also a battery engineer and PHD from Cern I happen to work with also has few if any concerns about the Tesla battery from a chemistry/design/longevity point of view. Any degradation would be on order of 100,000+ miles of usage and replacement is possible and supported. Cost is documented to be inline with similar high mileage ICE wear-tear problems.

Also Tesla has an 8 year/unlimited milage warranty.

GLO | 29. März 2013

The early Rav$'s were NiCad batteries and they did require some maintenance (I have a co-worker with a 2002 RAV4 with 150,000 miles) and do fail as my friends did at 150,000 miles. Replacement is $9,000. You can't compare those battereis to the new MS LithiumIon.

In talking to Raodster owners in our area and Tesla mechanics that have worked on them for years, they've seen almost no battery degredation yet. I am confident they'll do fairly well and most likely will surpass older ICE vehicle issues that we've seen in our cars after about 100,000 miles.

johnchamplinhall1 | 29. März 2013

Doctor is right. Keeping the battery at the right temperature does wonders for life and safety. Fourty years ago my PhD major subject was thermodynamics.

TikiMan | 29. März 2013

I don't have any documentation to prove this; however, I believe there is a deliberate reason why laptop and cell/smart-phone Li batteries don’t last long, and it makes perfect since why.

Laptop and cell-phone manufactures don’t want their products to last very long deliberately, as it almost guarantees if the Li battery starts to go bad, most will just buy the newer product, verses try and replace the battery (never mind, they don’t make it easy to replace the battery on the new cell/smart-phones, or cheap by any means). However, just cheap enough, that we all end up buying the next newer version anyway.

This is fairly common with many products built today. Unlike the toaster I grew up with in the 1960-70’s, and never broke down even after I left home in the late 1980’s, products back then were designed to last forever. Today, these companies have wised up, and engineer many products to fail deliberately. You would think, “why would they do that, I will never buy that product again if it fails in a few years”. If you do a little research, you will find that a great deal of these products are all owned by the same corp. So when one fails, and you choose another, chances are, it’s still the same corp that gets the money in the end.

On the flip side, an EV car battery that degrades quickly in a few years or after 50k miles would be a nightmare for the company that designed and built it. Nissan has made billions just off the fact that their motors last well over 250k miles without any problems, and has given them a reputation worthy of getting repeat business for decades by loyal customers.

Thus, in a nutshell… don’t compare ‘built to fail’ cheap consumer products, with ‘built to last’ expensive vehicles.

Captain_Zap | 29. März 2013

Excellent point TikiMan.

I got to the point that I now replace small household appliances that have failed with used ones that were built pre-1980. I'm done with the planned obsolecence and disposable mentality.

I couldn't find a new toaster that was well made and had decent heating elements at any price. New toasters today just dry out bread slowly. A new hand mixer I bought didn't have enough power to make it through a batch of hot buttered rum batter.

I buy products that I think will stand up to the test of time. Model S included.

skulleyb | 29. März 2013

Don't get me started with new dishwashers.
The 80s ones would take paint off dishes,
But these new ones do not even take the food off.

Captain_Zap | 29. März 2013

I long for my 1980's Washer, Dryer and Dishwasher.

Docrob | 29. März 2013

Cheap basic cell phone batteries die quickly because it is more expensive to take the steps necessary to make them last then it is to just replace them. Think of the average cell phone battery, its temperature is allowed to wildly swing from 30 degrees in your pocket to far lower in the ambient air dozens of times a day, the Tesla buffers the temperature keeping it strictly within the desired temp range. A cell phone battery is generally cycled fully each day, a Model S battery is on average cycled fully once every 5-7 days. A cell phone battery employs a minuscule compact charger with a requisite lack of more complex control circuitry, the Model S uses sophisicated charging and diagnostic control systems to control the charge tightly and refuse any power which is suboptimal hence the issues using generators to charge etc.

The sum effect of all of these and many other factors is despite everyone's experiences and hence worries resulting from short ifespam cell phone batteries the much better managed and sized Model S battery will have a lifespan which will eclipse most people's experiences with batteries.

Brian H | 29. März 2013

I believe the concern about Max Range charging is overblown, as long as the battery is not allowed to sit in that state. Start using/drawing it down right away and there is little impact. It's the sitting that hurts.

DouglasR | 30. März 2013

I bought my wife a Cuisinart food processor in the late '70s. It had a 30 year warranty! It still works great.

mike | 31. März 2013

@TikiMan - Excellent response and dead-on correct.

krogers | 31. März 2013

@GLO: the first gen Rav4-EVs used NiMh (nicke metal hydride) batteries, not NiCad. And yes had very long life as you pointed out.

shop | 31. März 2013

@Docrob - OT, but is there an issue with charging the Model S from a stationary generator?

RedShift | 31. März 2013

Brian: re max range and letting it sit - my Model S was charged to 197 miles in max range mode for unknown reasons when at the Fremont service center. I called them Nd asked them about it, but they assured me that it was in accordance with their procedure. Then I see it lost 10 miles per night sitting in their lot while waiting to be picked up by me on Monday. (I am out of town at the moment)

The battery will drain a few miles every night, so it might not be all that bad? I don't know. I'd never personally charge to max unless absolutely necessary.

Bubba2000 | 31. März 2013

The average person drives about 12,000 miles/year, especially families with 2 cars or more. That is about 30 miles/day. Optimally the Tesla owner would set the battery charging for optimum life and connect the car to power every night. The battery would be operating in the optimum range with a daily discharge of only 20% at the most depending on the driving conditions.

The battery would be stressed may be 4 times/year during long trips at max change, with partial SC use may be 2 times per trip. Rest of charging does at a hotel under optimum conditions. In many cases, I would just use the ICE auto since there are no SC in my area. Hotels do not have charging ports yet.

Under these conditions, most of the MS batteries will last a long time. Very different from my iPhone5 where the charge does not last the whole day. Charge it to max every night, discharge to less than 20% and got to be charged again. I got the iPhone4 for 3years and I have not noticed any degradation, but it needs charging 1/day.

I would like johnchamplinhal to comment on what is over the horizon in battery tech. Do you see the batteries improve capacity gradually at the usual rate of 6-7%? Or are there disruptive advances that can increase capacity and lower cost in the next 3-5 years? TIA.

danielccc | 31. März 2013

You can look at the 18650 cell degradation curves on the Panasonic web site.

It's all in the cycles, not the number of years. IIRC (too lazy to look for it now), after 500 cycles you are down to about 70% capacity.

So if you drive a full charge every day, including weekends (that's over 100K miles a year), you will be down to 70% in 18 months.

But most people don't drive nearly that much. At 20K per year, you need some seven years to reach the 70% capacity. At 10K per year, over a decade to get to that point. (10K per year is only about 40 charge cycles).

I drive less than even that(6 to 8K miles), so this is a total non-issue to me. But for high mileage drivers, it's something you need to know. That said, high mileage drivers blow out the useful life of any car, regardless of technology. How much life is left in an ICE after 200K miles? How much was spent on fuel?

TimHuey | 19. Mai 2013

With all the speculation around the next announcement being SuperCharger specific I am confused again. I thought SuperCharging was hard on the battery. And doing it more than 4 or 5 times a month was discouraged. With more data coming in from real world supercharging is that turning out not to be the case. Why would they hype up supercharging so much if it is hard on the battery. Adding more centers, uping the Amps, reducing the charge time etc seems to be asking for deteriorating batteries.

PorfirioR | 19. Mai 2013

@Tim. You may be thinking of using the "max charge" option when charging, which is not the same as using the supercharger network. Although most people on a long trip would most likely max-charge at some point.

PAK | 19. Mai 2013

Cell phone and laptop batteries would last longer with sophisticated thermoregulation and charge management software. Nothing lasts forever--which is to restate the 2nd law of thermodynamics--but I think in 8 years' time it will be a rare circumstance for an MS owner to invoke the battery warranty. In the meantime, consider the alternative costs of maintaining, say, the transmission on the ICE vehicle you'd have otherwise incurred.

TimHuey | 19. Mai 2013

Is max charge for a 60kw car more than what the car is rated for? Some kinda of Over-Charge type process? I would imagine someone going to a supercharger would be charging until the car says full. Most people try to fill their cars up with gas as few times as possible (if financially able) to limit the time spent at filling stations.

Brian H | 20. Mai 2013

Standard charge is about 90% of full Max. It's what is recommended, and what you get unless you specifically specify Max! That last 10% stresses the battery, especially if left "unused" (not driven) for long.

TimHuey | 20. Mai 2013

Ahhh, OK. Well a 10% loss if range isn't too bad if it allows supercharging repeatedly without battery degradation over regular charging. You gotta do what you gotta do.

riceuguy | 20. Mai 2013

@Tim, I think Tesla had originally speculated (perhaps even stated?) that Superchargers would be rough on the battery, but they have been supercharging a test vehicle many, many times with no significant degredation (beyond normal expected degredation from the number of charge/discharge cycles) and have since changed the message from "Supercharge when you must" to "Max charge when you must." The party line is now that because the Superchargers deliberately slow down as the battery's charge levels increase, there's no reasonable amount of Supercharging to normal levels that will impact your battery life. So go ahead...Supercharge (just not to a max charge if avoidable!).

Brian H | 21. Mai 2013

A very experienced owner on TMC, with his 10 Rules of Road Tripping, points out that leaving a car Max Charged for months is a problem; hours is not. He recommends always Range (Max) charging: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/entry.php/96-The-Rules-of-Model-S-Road-Tr...

Hogfighter | 21. Mai 2013

It's also important to ignore articles that deal with 'cycles'. Most owners operate in the range of 50 - 90% charge capacity, and rarely go from 100% to zero.

Simply charging the batteries doesn't count as a cycle. Otherwise, every time you slow down, you are charging.

Hogfighter | 21. Mai 2013

I mean going through a cycle. Wish we could edit.

Svante | 21. Mai 2013

Does anyone know how really cold climate will affect the battery? Where I live we may have temperatures of -20°C and sometimes even -30°C (-4 and -22 Fahrenheit) for weeks on end every winter, and I park my car outside for most of the time...

Brian H | 21. Mai 2013

Svante;
The battery:
1. Will not charge when cold, must be prewarmed, either with a plug or using its own power.
2. Will not drive (well) when cold, must be prewarmed, by plug or use.
3. Will probably cost you 20% efficiency/range at those temperatures.

Ignoring range, it would be very helpful to have the car plugged in to even low amperage "shore power" when parked in the cold. This will keep the battery safe, and will probably enable you to access full power etc. when starting every day.

Svante | 22. Mai 2013

Thanks Brian!

Lessmog | 22. Mai 2013

Off on a tangent here, but I seem to recall a remark made by Elon recently (else I wouldn't recall at all:) that unless you used your battery for target practice or somesuch, the warranty is valid. Maybe in a conference call? The idea was to reassure worried customers-to-be, I infer.

Carefree | 22. Mai 2013

Yes, Elon made it clear that the warranty is unconditional (basically). Doesn't matter if it is your fault or Tesla's the warranty will kick in and Tesla will replace your battery for free.

DouglasR | 22. Mai 2013

@Brian

How can you leave a car Max charged for months? Unless you mean Max charge it every day for months. Given vampire load, the car won't stay fully charged for even a day.

Brian H | 22. Mai 2013

Hard to do, but if left plugged in, and set on Max, I assume it would keep topping off to that level. To quote Doug_G,

A few hours at 100% charge has NO measurable impact on battery pack lifetime, and may actually improve battery pack balance.

On the other hand, running your pack down to 0% is really not good for it. Drawing power at very low voltage means much higher current draw. This is more stressful on the cells. Sitting at a very low charge is not good for battery lifetime.
.
Suppose you skipped using Range mode, and now you’re falling short. The battery pack is approaching zero range. It’s not good for the battery. You could get stranded on the side of the road. Suddenly you’re feeling pretty foolish for not using Range mode!
.
So remember: 100% is nowhere near as bad for the battery as 0%. If you’re paranoid then do the Range mode charge just before you leave, to minimize the time spent at 100% charge. This isn’t actually necessary, but it may make you feel better.
.
Never, ever hesitate to use Range Mode. Ever.

Brian H | 22. Mai 2013

Blew the tags; all the last paras are part of the quote:

Yes, there is a warning on the touchscreen about battery lifetime, but IMHO that warning is overstated. Tesla doesn’t want you leaving the car in Range mode for months at a time, because that will slightly increase the rate of degradation of the battery pack. We’re talking months here, not hours!
.
A few hours at 100% charge has NO measurable impact on battery pack lifetime, and may actually improve battery pack balance.
.
On the other hand, running your pack down to 0% is really not good for it. Drawing power at very low voltage means much higher current draw. This is more stressful on the cells. Sitting at a very low charge is not good for battery lifetime.
.
Suppose you skipped using Range mode, and now you’re falling short. The battery pack is approaching zero range. It’s not good for the battery. You could get stranded on the side of the road. Suddenly you’re feeling pretty foolish for not using Range mode!
.
So remember: 100% is nowhere near as bad for the battery as 0%. If you’re paranoid then do the Range mode charge just before you leave, to minimize the time spent at 100% charge. This isn’t actually necessary, but it may make you feel better.
.
Never, ever hesitate to use Range Mode. Ever.

Brian H | 22. Mai 2013

Hm. It would appear the site's tag rules have changed.

Testing:

italics
.
bold
.
both

Brian H | 22. Mai 2013

Nope, the problem was mine. Here's the corrected post:

Yes, there is a warning on the touchscreen about battery lifetime, but IMHO that warning is overstated. Tesla doesn’t want you leaving the car in Range mode for months at a time, because that will slightly increase the rate of degradation of the battery pack. We’re talking months here, not hours!
.
A few hours at 100% charge has NO measurable impact on battery pack lifetime, and may actually improve battery pack balance.
.
On the other hand, running your pack down to 0% is really not good for it. Drawing power at very low voltage means much higher current draw. This is more stressful on the cells. Sitting at a very low charge is not good for battery lifetime.
.
Suppose you skipped using Range mode, and now you’re falling short. The battery pack is approaching zero range. It’s not good for the battery. You could get stranded on the side of the road. Suddenly you’re feeling pretty foolish for not using Range mode!
.
So remember: 100% is nowhere near as bad for the battery as 0%. If you’re paranoid then do the Range mode charge just before you leave, to minimize the time spent at 100% charge. This isn’t actually necessary, but it may make you feel better.
.
Never, ever hesitate to use Range Mode. Ever.