It's one of the most common questions among electric-car buyers: what happens if the battery fails?
The answer is that all electric-car batteries are warranted against failure for either 8 years/100,000 miles or 10 years/150,000 miles, depending on which state you live in.
The followup is often: OK, then, what does a battery cost once my car's out of warranty? Isn't it going to be really expensive?
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We've known the answer to that question for the original 2011-2014 Nissan Leaf electric car with its 24-kilowatt-hour battery pack: $5,500.
But now there's a new kid in town. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the first affordable, long-range electric car, with a 238-mile EPA combined range rating from its 60-kwh battery pack.
So what does one of those cost to replace?
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV added to Maven car- and ride-sharing fleet in Los Angeles, CaliforniaEnlarge Photo
We reached out to Chevy, and got the following response from Fred Ligouri of Chevrolet Communications.
The current list price of a Bolt EV HV battery pack is $15,734.29 and the part number is 24285978.
Ligouri went on, however, to provide some additional context around the sometimes worrisome topic of battery replacements.
The Bolt EV battery is covered by the electric-car propulsion warranty (see specifics below) and Bolt EV customers shouldn’t expect to pay parts costs for warrantied repairs.
In [almost seven] years of Volt sales we have yet to replace a single battery pack under warranty for general capacity degradation, and many owners are still reporting they enjoy the same range capability they had when they purchased the car.
Whole battery-pack replacement is also largely mitigated by the design, manufacturing technique, dealer diagnostic, and repair tools included to support the manufacture, sale, and service needs of the Bolt EV, meaning individual modules can be replaced should it be required.
In addition to the 3-year/36,000-mile Bumper-to-Bumper Coverage, Chevrolet warrants certain components for each Bolt EV for 8 years or 100,000 miles (160, 000 kilometers), whichever comes first, from the original in-service date of the vehicle ... for repairs to the specific electric propulsion components of the vehicle.
In other words, even if some component in a Bolt EV battery degrades or fails, the whole pack doesn't necessarily need to be replaced.
Thus far, based on first-generation Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric cars now in service for more than six years, degradation in the capacity of GM battery packs has yet to prove a significant issue.
That's demonstrated, among other examples, by the case of Erick Belmer's 2012 Chevrolet Volt. That car crossed 300,000 miles in March 2016, with no discernible change to its battery range.
Only time will tell how well the Bolt EV battery packs hold out, and of course the Volt's gasoline engine provides backup to mitigate any concerns over range anxiety in that car.
Still, now we know the cost of a replacement Bolt EV battery—whether or not any of them end up being sold.