Got An Electric Car? How About Pre-Paying For Its Next Battery Pack?

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Tesla Motors - Model S lithium-ion battery pack

Tesla Motors - Model S lithium-ion battery pack

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We’ve all heard the shock stories -- generally from media outlets which haven’t fully researched the topic -- saying that the battery pack in your electric car will only last a few years and then cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars to replace.  

We think its unlikely that most electric cars on the market today will need an entire replacement battery pack for the first ten years or more, if ever. But are there any ways you can safeguard your purchase to make sure you’ve got a replacement battery lined up for if or when something goes wrong? 

That’s the question that Tesla Motors is trying to answer as its Australian sales team adopts a policy already in other Roadster markets to safeguard against being stuck with a poorly performing battery pack in the blisteringly fast Roadster .

Just like the scheme already in place in the U.S., owners can pay an additional $12,000 at the time of purchase in what is essentially, an insurance policy. Heavily discounted from the actual cost of a new battery pack, it helps Tesla owners know that their investment remains sexy and fast for years to come. 

And if your Roadster’s battery pack continues to perform well past the expected 7 year lifespan of its 52 kilowatt-hour battery pack, Tesla will pay back $1000 for every year you continue to drive on your car’s original battery pack. 

What about the used battery pack? Tesla has a plan for that too.  

2011 Chevrolet Volt battery system

2011 Chevrolet Volt battery system

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After 7 years, Tesla estimates the massive Roadster lithium ion battery pack will still have at least 70 percent of its capacity remaining. That’s enough to run an entire home -- complete with all of the usual high-power demand appliances -- for two days. 

If the battery pack is beyond use in backup power duties, it will be recycled at one of Tesla’s battery recycling facilities

While some electric automakers say their car’s battery pack will last as long as the car, Tesla are the first automaker selling a car with the option to pre-pay for a replacement.  

Others -- like the French automaker Renault -- are tackling the issue another way by selling the 2012 Fluence Z.E. to customers but leasing the battery packs under a monthly maintenance plan. When the battery pack needs replacing, Renault replaces the pack at no extra charge. 

Lithium-ion battery pack of 2011 Nissan Leaf, showing cells assembled into modules

Lithium-ion battery pack of 2011 Nissan Leaf, showing cells assembled into modules

Would you pre-buy a replacement battery pack for your electric car? Could you afford to? Or are we about to see specialist extended warranty policies develop from insurance companies to safeguard against a failing battery?

Let us know in the Comments below. 

[GoAuto.com, Tesla]

 

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