Our Tesla Model 3 Has Lost 7 Percent of Battery Capacity in 24K Miles
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
From the car and driver
Battery packs in electric vehicles slowly lose capacity over time to store energy.
Our long-term Tesla Model 3 has so far lost 7 percent of its capacity over 24,000 miles.
All electric vehicles have long battery warranties to allay potential buyers fear of expensive replacement costs.
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A light, compact SUV with enough energy for strenuous days. The brand new All Electric Mazda MX-30, an electrified drive.
Much like the small lithium-ion battery in your cell phone, the battery in an electric vehicle slowly loses its ability to store energy over time. In the case of an electric car, this degradation in its overall energy capacity means that its maximum range will decrease over time. There are many factors that contribute to this. Some are decisions made by different automakers (e.g. how much of the battery's total capacity to make available; tighter fluctuations in the state of charge are friendlier for longevity) and others are based on the behavior of the owner. For example, our long-term Tesla Model 3 states that charging above 90 percent should not be for daily use but only for travel, although it does not specifically state what the long-term effects could be if this threshold is exceeded regularly.
We were naturally curious to see how our car is doing over time, and the geectastic TeslaFi software we've used to track our car's 24,000+ miles, and each of the 842 times we've plugged it in an answer. (Seriously, if you have a Tesla, log into TeslaFi.)
With the TeslaFi battery tracking tool, our backpack reaches 93 percent of its original capacity of 75.0 kWh. This represents a loss of approximately 22 miles of nominal range from the original EPA combined number of 310 miles. This is based on the range data from charging our car almost 500 times to 90 percent of its capacity or more (see graphic below). In cases where we have charged less than 100 percent, which is the vast majority, TeslaFi performs linear extrapolation to reach the predicted range of 100 percent (e.g. when the battery is 90 percent charged and the range is 270 miles). the extrapolated 100 percent area number = 270 / 0.9 = 300). Compared to 158 other models 3 with similar mileage that are also linked to TeslaFi, our car is worse than 123 and better than 35.
We're not too surprised that we do worse than average, as fast charging with Tesla's superchargers isn't a good thing to maximize battery life, and we got a third of the energy our car used this way . Charging also costs about twice as much per kilowatt-hour of energy as charging at home.
Image credit: TeslaFi
The previous degradation of our battery corresponds to a decrease in packing capacity of about 2.9 percent every 10,000 miles, which would mean a capacity of 65 percent at 120,000 miles if this speed continued. This is in line with the 70 percent capacity retention set in Tesla's eight-year warranty of 120,000 miles for the Model 3 Long Range. However, Tesla makes it clear that in the event of a warranty claim, the car does not necessarily get a new battery, but one that reaches at least the minimum threshold of 70 percent.
We'll continue to monitor this trend of battery degradation and let you know where our pack ends up at the end of our 40,000 mile test.
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