This is good news, Chuck. Many of us keep cars well beyond eight years. Stats show that the way to get the most out of a car economically is to run it till it falls apart. That can mean 15 to 20 years. If EVs and hybrids can't make it that long, it's a mark against them. So a long-life battery is good news.
It's especially good news, Rob, when you consider the price of replacement batteries. A year ago, when a Tesla customer fried his Roadster battery, Tesla gave him a "friends and family" price of $40,000 for a new one. Most batteries are smaller than the Roadster's, but a few are even larger, so cost is a big consideration.
Chuck, With possible replacement costs potentially that high, it makes sense that buyers would be concerned to get some kind of long term service agreement to protects against catastrophe. Do you have any idea if this is common? I have heard with some hybrids that these agreements are available.
I note that getting 15 to 20 years is contingent on power and cooling management systems, which adds to the cost of the battery subsystem. New chemistries may reduce or eliminate the need for these systems; the cost reduction this will make possible is needed to penetrate the burgeoning stop-start market.
Full disclosure: I'm affiliated with Leyden Energy, which is developing such a chemistry.
If it can be done, it certainly makes sense, davtrowbridge. Right now, the cells make up only about half of the pack costs, according to most of the estimates that I hear. If you can cut the cost of the cooling system, that pack cost could drop significantly.
Most of the warranties that I hear about are like the Volt's, which is eight years/100,000 miles on its 16-kWh battery. That's less important for a conventional hybrid, which will typically have a 1-kWh or 2-kWh battery that may use a less costly nickel-metal hydride chemistry.
I'd be suprised if Lithium ion batteries made today will last that long. They have made giant leaps forward - particularly in terms of weight to power ratio when compared to lead-acid or nickel-cadmium. Eight years sounds more realistic if they are maintained and kept cool...
There was speculation that accelerated life testing increases temperature which artificially shortens battery lifespan. Would it be possible to incorporate cooling during accelerated testing to determine life span data at more reasonable temperatures? I'm thinking that life testing has already been performed at cooler temperatures (which would prove/disprove this hypothesis).
@Charles – yes replacing a battery costs a lot, you feel better when you hear that a battery could be used for 15 – 20 years. I wonder if this is the same for all the brands in the market. I am sure the cheaper ones are low in quality and would not last this long.
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