I just read your view on the gas expenses of electric cars. I was told that the expense of replacing the battery was over the edge! What does it cost to do that, and how long does the battery last? I've always wondered. Any feedback would be nice.
— Susan, Talent
Susan, before we drop the electric bomb on you, reread the Since You Asked column you referenced above (published Thursday, May 30) and remind yourself just how much you would be saving in gas by driving an electric vehicle.
Now, here it comes. Batteries for electric cars can cost between $10,000 and $15,000, according to various online sources.
Ouch. This price tag explains why EVs cost so much more than their gas or diesel equivalents.
An article published by the American Chemical Society listed three factors that help determine the life span — generally, five to 20 years — of these spendy lithium-ion batteries — the temperature the battery is exposed to, the degree to which the battery is fully charged on a regular basis and the frequency of the charging. Of these, the temperature has the biggest impact.
"The higher the temperature, the lower the battery service life," said Mikael G. Cugnet in the article. "A temperature above 86 degrees (Fahrenheit) affects the battery pack performance instantly and even permanently if it lasts many months like in Middle East countries."
In other words, Susan, you can extend the life of your EV by moving to Canada or shorten it by moving to Arizona. If your battery lasts 20 years, you've probably got a good deal going; if it lasts five years, you've got a big expense on your hands.
Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.