Like a cell phone, an electric vehicle (EV) battery changes over time. Its overall health is a critical component to the longevity of that car or truck. Over time, it is affected by weather, charging patterns, driving patterns, and manufacturing defects — all of which can have a major impact on how long it lasts.
Currently, there is no way for EV buyers to know if they are getting a bad or good battery. With their popularity potentially linked to how long one will last, many companies are exploring the best ways to track and make this health information public. These facts are particularly critical due to the cost of repairing and replacing a battery.
Recurrent is one data-science firm specializing in tracking EV battery health. The company pulls data from 45 different cars and organizes the information into an analytics engine, including a vehicle’s age, mileage, and the climate of where it’s housed.
The tech then predicts and estimates battery performance compared to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Although make, model, mileage, and climate don’t tell the whole story, they are each critical components in understanding how long one will last.
“Everyone’s had an iPhone long enough to know that the battery wears down over time,” said Recurrent CEO Scott Case. “They’re bringing that experience to their auto buying.”
Recurrent isn’t the only one on the case. Cox Automotive, the owner of the Kelley Blue Book, has acquired Spiers New Technologies to provide battery analytics and assessments.
Likewise, the AAA Washington drivers’ club has partnered with Black Book, which publishes used-vehicle data, to ensure the information is readily accessible.
“As an innovator and thought leader for more than 75 years, we don’t wait for things to change, we cause the change,” said Steve Rowley, Cox Automotive president. “Taking charge of the EV battery lifecycle and creating sustainable solutions for our planet is no exception.”
Batteries are essentially the heart of an EV, keeping it running. With a pack responsible for as much as 40% of a car’s cost, each is a valuable asset that truly needs servicing, inspection, and a fair valuation for the used marketplace. This information is crucial for rental car companies, auction houses, and used car dealerships, where the potential remaining life of a car is used to determine its value either for the organization or for purchase.
California is now proposing that battery health be tracked and publicly available for all EVs. In a burgeoning industry where consumers worry over value and remaining life, such information must be readily available so the value of a car or truck can be adjusted fairly. This type of transparency may raise used EV values by as much as 2.4%.
“By leveraging engineering, technology, and data, we are creating significant value and opportunity for those embracing the electric future,” said Dirk Spiers, Spiers New Technology founder.