I’m in the process of moving on from it for about a million reasons, but one of the cars I currently own is a 2002 Toyota Runner. Besides being a rolling climate disaster, the truck has one thing going for it: it’s one tough bastard. It’s still going strong at 225,000 miles, and if I wanted to – which I don’t – I could probably double that without many headaches. But to many people, it’s an open question whether electric vehicles and their batteries will be up for that kind of long-term punishment.
So I’ll turn to you all and ask: What has been your experience with high-mileage EVs?
(Welcome back to Live Wire, a new feature where we draw on the knowledge and opinions of the InsideEVs reader community. Keep it smart and keep it civil in the comments.)
I bring this up on the heels of our story about the Uber driver whose Tesla Model 3 battery gave up the ghost after just 15 months and 120,000 miles. We can all agree that driving an EV for Uber is an extreme use case; that’s a car that will do a lot of miles, pretty much daily, over all kinds of roads with all sorts of people in the back seat. It’s a hard life for any car.
Moreover, this Uber driver admitted he did two Supercharging stops a day, often beyond 80%, neither of which is advisable for battery health long-term. So while it’s curious that this car would die as suddenly as the driver claimed, it’s clear that his charging habits were suboptimal here.
But most EV drivers don’t operate that way. (At least, I hope not.) The vast majority of charging is done at home and most owners, even if they’re new at this, are cognizant of battery health. And there have been enough older Teslas, Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Bolts and other models on the road for a while now for us to have a better sense of how older, higher-mileage EVs hold up.
I bet some of you have owned EVs with a lot of miles, or have encountered people with those experiences. What has that been like for you? What have you seen? Have you had to get any battery replacements, and what have you done to keep your EV running long-term? I’d be curious what the PHEV crowd has to say here too.
Battery replacement costs are no joke. That will get better over time as battery production scales and chemistry and materials improve, not to mention as our circular economy develops better ways to recycle batteries. (Lithium-ion ones, anyway.) Over time, this is expected to be less onerous for EV drivers. For now, however, it can be a real headache when it becomes necessary.
Do you have a high-mileage EV story, or know someone who does? Tell us all about it in the comments below or on our social channels.
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