For consumers to build confidence in electric vehicles — especially used ones — the industry needs a common standard for measuring battery health.
Automakers promise to increase EV production and sales over the next decade. More than 50 EV models will be on sale in the U.S. this year, and an increase in used EV volume will inevitably follow.
Today, used-EV shoppers and dealership managers lack essential battery health information. The auto industry lacks a set of metrics for reporting battery health to shoppers, Automotive News reported last week.
Acquiring a vehicle's history has long been a challenge — EV or not. But the industry has a set of guidelines for measuring the health and value of combustion vehicles.
Measuring EV battery health has become more pressing because the Inflation Reduction Act includes a used-EV purchase credit of up to $4,000 or 30 percent of the transaction price, whichever is lower. Battery packs are the most expensive part of EVs. Replacement costs can reach five figures.
EVs made up 5.6 percent of light-vehicle registrations last year, a share that continues to rise. Still, only 1 in 10 shoppers will buy a new EV by the end of this year, according to J.D. Power, despite growing affordability and an increase in inventory. Dealers need information to discuss the health and range of used batteries with tepid shoppers and to make informed acquisition decisions at auctions.
Vehicle data, analytics and shopping companies Recurrent, Edmunds, Motorq and J.D. Power are working on ways to track battery health. Edmunds will use Recurrent's database of 12,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids to inform its shopping website. Shoppers can search by VIN to see aggregated data on the health and range of the batteries in used EVs with similar mileage. J.D. Power and Motorq will work with automakers to take measurements from a vehicle over time to track how its battery is performing.
Automakers apply various vehicle inspections and data collection on battery condition, but there is no uniform procedure. Many automakers also offer battery warranties against total failure for eight years or 100,000 miles. Warranties are helpful retroactive tools for battery security, but the industry should be proactive before EV sales proliferate.
Data firms and automakers are on the right track, but more coordination to create a standard is needed to ensure trust.