There's an old saying about health: if you have to get sick, be sure you have a good health insurance plan. So, what does this have to do with the world of vehicles and, more specifically, the world of Ford? It's pretty simple: if you have to replace the battery system on any of the major brands of vehicles, be sure you do it while the vehicle is under warranty.
Some Battery Replacement Examples
For example, replacing the battery system for the Mustang Mach-E, Ford's popular electric crossover, will cost you about $18,514 for the standard-range battery pack. If you have an extended-range battery pack installed, the cost will jump to $23,648. It's not much better for one of the lower-cost electric vehicles on the market, the Chevy Bolt. Replacing the battery pack for the Bolt will set you back $16,250, which is quite a jolt.
The raw cost of replacing an electric vehicle's battery pack has been generating controversy in the last couple of months as there has been some suggestion that the actual cost of replacing an electric vehicle's battery is outrageous, which it is.
The initial report was generated by the online site Breitbart.com, primarily a political commentary site that sometimes reports on its view of the news. The site quoted the plight of a Florida family whose teenage driver was gifted a 2014 Ford Focus EV (they were made from 2011 until 2018). After about half-a-year's driving, the battery went flat, and the vehicle stopped (it's not that Focus EV ever had great range at about 78 miles).
Something About The Story Doesn’t Compute
The family checked with a local dealer. They said replacing the liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack would cost about $14,000. (Something doesn't compute about this particular story. It is that the teen driver was supposedly given the car by her parents, and it was later stated that they paid $11,000 for the Escape, which doesn't make much sense, though you have to take many of the statements made by this site with a large grain of salt).
On finding the cost of the replacement battery pack would be more than they had invested in the vehicle in the first place, the kid's granddad issued a "warning" about the cost of electric vehicle battery replacement EVs, in general. However, after checking things further, Torque News has found apparent holes in the story that include:
- Why did the vehicle, owned by the teen driver's parents and given to her, suddenly cost $11,000?
- Why did the story, which appeared last summer, eight years after the Focus and still covered by the warranty terms (8/100,000), not mention this?
- Why did the site need to issue a "warning" about EVs and battery packs?
Battery Warranty Figure Doesn’t Jibe
The battery replacement warranty for the 2022 Mustang Mach-E and the 2014 Focus EV remains the same (8 years/100,000 miles)
Given the oncoming election season, when this story first appeared, the final couple of paragraphs of the story made sense. Breitbart.com is a political site, not an automotive one whose politics are decidedly anti-EV. To quote the article:
"Despite the reliability and financial problems electric vehicles may pose for owners, such as what the … family faced, the Biden administration is heavily pushing American families to ditch their gas-powered cars for electric ones."
Given the apparent political agenda driving Breitbart.com, you do have to take the article's intent with a grain of salt. It isn't that replacing battery packs has gotten any cheaper because it hasn't, which is obvious. Indeed, if you look at the battery pack replacement warranty on the Mustang Mach-E (2022), you will find that it is eight years of 100,000 miles. This is the same warranty that was in place on the 2014 Ford Focus EV that they were complaining about.
What Is The Truth?
So, what is the truth of this article? Aside from the fact that it is a prominent hit piece about EVs – the site is anti-EV – it is true that once you get out from under warranty coverage, it does cost a fortune to replace an EV's battery pack. Torque News isn't afraid to tell you the raw battery replacement price. Indeed, that's why Ford extended the battery pack component of the warranty that covers by two years and 40,000 miles.
And, if you know you are coming up on the end of the warranty, it might be a good idea to check in with the dealer to see if you can get a swap-out or arrange an extended warranty to cover additional miles. It should be noted that drivers of original Teslas are finding they have been able to run up to 200,000 miles on the original batteries. And drivers of other vehicles will likely be able to run similar distances over time. We don't know yet because EVs are still a new feature on the vehicular landscape.
One funny issue about EVs is their cost. At one time, it was expected that as EVs become more plentiful in the vehicular market, the laws of supply and demand would kick in and drive down the cost of battery-powered vehicles. Unfortunately, given the massive supply chain issues that continue to roil the vehicular market and continue to drive up EV pricing, the dream of an "affordable" EV is not viable at the moment. Who is to say that in a couple of years, as more and more EVs are out there, pricing won't dip? This is something only a soothsayer is privy to.
Various Electric Vehicle Costs
If you are still looking for a reasonably priced EV, you might look at the Chevy Bolt. The Bolt still costs a relatively reasonable $31,500 for the base model. A higher-level model is about $34,000. The Bolt is still a relatively affordable electrics on the market, while a Mustang Mach-E can easily cost in the upper-$40s or low-$50s, if not more. Similarly, a Tesla Model 3 will cost you about $55,000, while the other models (X, Y, S) are much more expensive.
If there is a moral to this piece, it is this: check the site where a story appears, and don't depend on the general media or political media for accuracy. At sites like Torque News, we do our best to debunk stories based on innuendo and rumor and try to bring you the facts.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.