How Is the Battery Degradation of the Tesla Model S After 10 Years on the Roads?

2013 Tesla Model S is approaching its 10-year anniversary 6 photos
Photo: rogbmw via TMC forum
2013 Tesla Model S2013 Tesla Model S2013 Tesla Model S2013 Tesla Model S2013 Tesla Model S
We already know that Tesla Li-Ion batteries can hold a charge even after many years of abuse. This was also confirmed by a Tesla Motor Club user who is preparing to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Model S 85D.
For many people, Li-Ion batteries in electric vehicles are a big no because they know the same batteries in cellphones and laptops don’t last very much. The thing is, they’re not the same batteries. Despite the poor experience of early Nissan Leaf owners, Li-Ion batteries in most electric vehicles can power the car for many years before they run out of juice. In fact, EV owners are more likely to replace their vehicles by that time than the battery.

We know the perspective of replacing the high-voltage battery in an electric vehicle is terrifying for most people, regardless of their wealth, considering the high prices. But most EV makers offer an eight-year warranty on the battery, with 100,000 miles/150,000 km limits that most EV owners would never reach. Many battery-powered cars have passed these milestones without issues, so Li-ion batteries are usually much more robust than most people think.

The Tesla Model S is already past its 10th anniversary, and the first examples have traveled impressive distances. It’s a good moment to pause and look back, understanding how the car (especially the battery) is holding out after all this time. Thankfully, a Tesla Model S 85D owner shared their experience on the Tesla Motor Club forum, and other users chimed in to share their stories.

According to the post on the forum, the user rogbmw took delivery of the car in February 2013, so it’s not exactly a 10-year car, but it’s pretty close to being one. It’s an early Model S model with a 40xx VIN and an 85-kWh battery. Like many early examples, it had its fair share of problems, and Tesla had to replace the battery pack and the drive unit under warranty during the first year of ownership.

Rogbmw charged the Model S daily, even though they did not travel that much, having accumulated only 102,000 miles (164,000 km). All the charging was done at home using the 25-amp charger to 90% SoC, with rare road trips (around three times per year) that required a 100% charge. This usage is very close to the recommended charging habits for Tesla vehicles with a ternary battery, and rogbmw’s experience validates these recommendations.

According to their records, the car’s range dropped from the initial 264 miles (425 km) to 248-250 miles (around 400 km). This equals a battery degradation of 6% over nine years, which is impressive. Other forum users added to this experience with their own records of battery degradation. For a 5-year-old Model S owner who drove about 130,000 miles (209,000 km), the degradation reached 12%.

Another forum user with a 2012 Tesla Model S shared a different story. After crossing the 220,000-mile mark (354,000 km), his battery capacity has decreased to 217 miles (349 km). This represents a more significant 18% degradation, although this is not really an issue for them. After all, they kind of expected this to happen after so many miles. Their battery still has 82% capacity left, which is a good value after ten years. Most users mentioned battery degradations between 6% and 13% for similar use-case scenarios, so this must’ve been an exception.

The Tesla Model S has good prospects of enduring many miles and years without losing a significant battery capacity. This should give a little peace of mind to those considering buying an electric vehicle, especially as the battery tech has evolved over the years. We’d love to learn about your experience if you own an electric car.
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Editor's note: The pictures in the gallery are the official press photos of the 2013 Tesla Model S

About the author: Cristian Agatie
Cristian Agatie profile photo

After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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