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A somewhat younger JB Straubel.


Tesla Founder, ex-CTO Says EV Batteries Will Last 15 Years

Why is EV longevity key to this Tesla co-founder’s new business? Because it’s all about batteries!

Tesla co-founder and longtime Chief Technical Officer, JB Straubel, has offered his views on how long he expects electric car batteries to last: about 15 years. And, for what it’s worth, getting that number right is critical for Straubel’s new business.

One of the most frequently asked questions about electric cars is, “How long do the battery last?” That’s not a question about range, either — but about the expected lifespan of the vehicles. The question behind the question is, really, “How many years/miles will I get out of my EV?”

JB Straubel & Tesla Roadster

Image courtesy LA Times.

While it may seem like we don’t have a lot of history to back up any answers we might give, the truth is that modern electric vehicle batteries have been around since 1998, when the first Toyota Prius was launched. In the nearly twenty-five years since, we’ve seen several hybrids and EVs deliver hundreds of thousands of miles of service.

Notably, JB Straubel’s viewpoint on how long a Tesla vehicle battery is expected to last has been consistent for a long time. In 2016, he was asked about this and said they would easily last 10 years and probably even 15 on average, as we reported at the time (6 years ago).

For EV owners who put their cars through more average duty cycles, battery degradation is fairly minimal. Some cars (specifically the Chevy Bolt EV) show 0% loss after a full year of driving, and just about 8% after 100,000 of driving.

“It’s a subjective thing depending on what people’s goal is for the car,” says Straubel. “… but I think it’s going to easily be 15 years in most cases. I think battery life will probably track the life of the vehicle life. Personally, I think it’s less likely that people will place a new battery in an old car.”

Why should Strubel care? Because tracking end-of-life of EV batteries is critical to his new company, Redwood Materials, which is focused on developing a new process to recycle electric car batteries.

The company is currently recycling 8-10GWh year which it says is, “enough for hundreds of thousands of cars,” and, the materials keep getting better the more times they are recycled. (!)

You can find out more about Straubel’s new plans to recycle electric car batteries in this interview, below, then scroll on down to the comments section and let us know what you think of Redwood’s potential impact on slow adopters’ views on EVs. Enjoy!

Tesla Co-founder JB Straubel Talks Redwood

Source | Images: Redwood Materials.

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Written By

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


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