OCTOBER 6, 2022
Are you worried about the battery in your plug-in hybrid? Or are you considering a used PHEV and want to know what kind of maintenance costs you’ll face? Luckily, you can use a simple formula to ballpark what replacing any electric vehicle’s battery will cost you.
How much does a replacement PHEV battery cost?
The average replacement battery for any electric vehicle costs $137/kWh. That said, the price of a very small battery could be more per kWh. This price estimate does not include the labor required to actually swap out your old battery.
Building batteries costs money, and building bigger batteries costs more money. Automakers use kilowatt hours (kWh) to measure battery size. The higher the kWh, the more lithium and other materials are required, so the more expensive a battery will be.
The batteries used in larger EVs, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning, must have a higher kWh because these vehicles draw more power. Likewise, the batteries in ultra long-range EVs often have a higher kWh rating.
How much does it cost to have your plug-in hybrid’s battery swapped?
This cost varies greatly by make and model because it depends on where your battery is located and how long it takes a technician to swap it.
Here’s an example: the Toyota Tundra i-FORCE MAX hybrid pickup has a relatively small nickel battery mounted beneath its back seat. But the otherwise similar Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid pickup has a huge lithium-ion battery mounted beneath its truck bed. The latter will likely take much more time to swap. Even worse is the plug-in hybrid Jeep 4xe’s battery, mounted between its frame rails, waterproofed, and armored with skid plates.
For some fully electric vehicles, the labor to swap out a battery costs less than $1,000. But service costs alone for replacing a Tesla’s battery can add up to $2,500.
If you are considering buying a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle–either new or used–it would be worth researching the labor cost of swapping out its battery. The service department at your local dealership should be able to quote you an estimate.
Will you need to replace your plug-in hybrid’s battery?
The batteries in plug-in hybrid vehicles will wear out over time. But this process usually takes years, so swapping out your battery will not be a regular maintenance event. The industry standard battery warranty is currently eight years or 100,000 miles.
If your plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’s battery does wear out, it may well be covered by warranty, depending on the car’s manufacturer.
Even if you do need to replace your plug-in hybrid vehicle’s battery out of pocket, there is a good chance this procedure will get cheaper every year. This is because aftermarket suppliers may increasingly compete with OEMs and drive the cost of replacement batteries down. In addition, the price of lithium has decreased and may continue to do so.
Green Cars reports that increased lithium production is projected to drop replacement battery costs from $137/kWh now to $89/kWh by 2025 and $56/kWh by 2030. So let’s hope any projected lithium shortage never comes to pass.