When people hear about how inexpensive electric vehicles are to operate, they usually come back with the rebuttal that after about 10-12 years the battery replacement cost will void your savings.
When I hear this I like to compare this to a cell phone or laptop computer. When they were introduced in the early 1990′s they were very expensive to purchase, they were not the norm, and many people thought they would eventually fade away. That time was the infancy of cell phones and Laptop computers, much like the infancy of electric vehicles today. Although those devices were initially expensive and rare fifteen years ago, now almost everyone owns a cell phone and a computer, because the cost of technology was reduced by demand and production it allowed the common public to afford the advanced technology.
To help put this in perspective, in 2007 the iphone 2G was $600, now in 2010 the iphone 4G is available for $100 (16% of the original price!). So the cost of our expensive electric vehicle batteries today will be much less, and more powerful 10 years from now.
The Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries that are in my E*Speed motorcycle are estimated to last 9-11 years depending on how they are maintained, the cost in 2009 was $2,160 for the entire battery pack. I am going to calculate a “worst case” cost scenario. If we consider after 9 years the battery replacement cost is 40% of what it is now, then the battery will cost $864 in by then, lets also calculate a $250 labor fee to install them for a total of $1,114
Now we can spread the $1,114 for batteries and installation over a 9 year period. Nine years comes out to be 108 months, if we divide $1,114 over 108 months to comes out to be $10.30 per month for a worst case scenario battery replacement cost, This is the same price as 2 beverages at starbucks. This cost can be reduced by properly maintaining the batteries to achieve the full 11 year life, it can also be reduced by installing your batteries yourself (you should be a properly trained EV specialist). Again like the iphone, it was much improved after years of refinement, so in 9-11 years your new battery may be much improved. Meaning that your 10 year old EV may now have a greatly improved range and acceleration!
This is usually when people say “those batteries are going to fill our landfills with toxic chemicals”. This statement is completely false, Most all batteries are 95%-99% recyclable. The chemicals can be removed, separated, and cleaned. The plastic cases can be washed and re-melted into new plastic, the metal terminals and cell plates can be acid washed and re-used. Many new companies, including 2 right here in Michigan are accelerating there recycling process to meet the future needs of EV batteries.
So when someone tells you that electric vehicle batteries too expensive to replace. Just let them know its the same cost as 2-3 gallons of gas a month, and its almost completely recyclable!