Battery Life In Tesla Roadster Is Likely Better Than Predicted

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2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5

2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5

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Battery life is the subject of lingering doubt for many electric vehicle owners, but doom and gloom degradation projections don't always come true.

Not for the Tesla Roadster at any rate, which is confounding Tesla's own battery life expectations for the car.

According to data recorded by Plug In America (PIA), Roadster battery packs are retaining around 80 to 85 percent capacity after 100,000 miles of driving--greater capacity after far greater distance than Tesla was expecting. It equates to a loss of only around 0.15 percent on average every thousand miles.

Tesla's own 2006 predictions were for 70 percent retention after just five years and 50,000 miles, according to Plug In America's chief science officer, Tom Saxton.

Better still, climate doesn't seem to have much of an effect on battery life.

"Roadster owners in hot climates are not seeing noticeably different battery capacity profiles than owners in moderate climates," said Saxton at the Teslive Tesla users conference where the findings were released.

Those contrast with the findings of Plug In America's last battery life survey, on the Nissan Leaf.

Nissan's problems surrounding the battery capacity loss of Arizona Leaf owners were backed up by PIA's findings--showing that cars experiencing regular temperatures of 95 degrees or more were more likely to lose capacity.

While capacity loss isn't significant for Roadster owners in hotter climates, there's still a positive correlation between very hot climates and reduced capacity.

The survey is relatively limited in its scope, with data from only around 4 percent of Roadsters worldwide, 126 cars, but still totals over 3 million miles of data--so other Roadster owners can be reasonably sure their vehicles will last to the same degree as those surveyed.

You can read the full survey data here (pdf file), which breaks down the results into several categories.

With PIA recently launching another survey--this time into the new Tesla Model S--it'll be interesting to see how Tesla's next electric vehicle fares as owners pile on the miles...


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Comments (6)
  1. Good news for Roadster owners. For Tesla there is some less good news, apparently: "A considerable number of owners reported that some or all of their battery pack had been replaced: 23 out of 122, or 18.9%."

    Presumably covered by warranty so at Tesla's expense. If they are correct (18% sounds pretty dramatic...) those numbers are probably meaningless for Model S though since Tesla no doubt has learned a lot from doing the Roadster and sorted out the problems they encountered. Also if the problems were related to the type of cells that were used they may no longer be relevant since Model S uses different cell chemistry.

    If anything with its new automotive grade battery cells Model S should perform even better.

  2. Perhaps the high replacement rate is indicative of a battery pack issue reported early on.

  3. The internal combustion engine (ICE)/fossil-fuel industrial complex is really worried about Elon Musk and Tesla. I bet a lot of CEO's are having nightmares and/or sleepless nights about what Elon hath wrought.

  4. I think you give ICE CEOs too much credit.

  5. That is good to know.

    With this data, I don't understand why that Telsa is NOT confident enough to offer capacity warranty on its battery.

  6. Stand-by for Tesla's next stock enhancing announcement!

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