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EV Warranty Guide

By: Andrew Lambrecht

Updated: Sep 2023

Time to read: 4 min

How reliable are electric cars? And how can you leverage EV warranties to protect yourself from unexpected costs? Learn the basics here.

EV Warranty Guide

Are electric cars reliable?

Generally, electric cars require little maintenance and tend to be very reliable. Unlike internal combustion engine cars, there is no need for regular engine maintenance, such as oil changes. Moreover, an electric car’s powertrain houses only about a dozen moving parts. This makes breakdowns less likely and electric powertrains more reliable than traditional gasoline or diesel engines with their thousands of moving parts.


However, this does not mean that electric cars aren’t susceptible to any issues. Electric cars also have air conditioning systems, power seats, sunroofs, and many other onboard amenities that may incur issues at some point. While unlikely, issues with electric cars’ battery management systems, electric control modules, and other advanced technology can also turn out very expensive for an unlucky EV owner. Here are some example EV repair costs our friends at Xcelerate have witnessed:


Luckily, there is an easy way to control and mitigate risks: understanding and leveraging electric car warranties.

Prospective electric car owners should spend a moment to learn the basics about manufacturer, dealer, and extended warranties as well as the differences between basic vehicle, powertrain, and battery warranties. When these warranties are about to expire, it is time to consider purchasing an extension.


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What is the difference between manufacturer, dealer, and extended warranties?

Manufacturer warranties’ or ‘new vehicle warranties’ cover all new cars and provide quality assurance on behalf of the manufacturer. Manufacturer warranties for electric vehicles typically come in the form of a basic vehicle warranty, powertrain warranty, and battery warranty – protecting the owner of a new electric car against any non-wear-related quality issues. The length and coverage of these manufacturer warranties vary but generally last between 3 and 10 years. More on warranty period length and terms below.


Dealer warranties’ is a generic term that refers to any dealer-provided warranties that complement or extend manufacturer warranties.


Extended warranties’ or ‘vehicle service contracts’ are discretionary protection plans an electric car buyer or owner can purchase to extend default manufacturer or dealer warranties. The lengths and prices of these protection plans can vary significantly but the typical coverage mimics basic vehicle or powertrain warranties.


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What is a basic vehicle warranty?

All new electric cars come with a ‘basic vehicle warranty’, also known as a ‘bumper-to-bumper warranty’. As the latter wording implies, a basic vehicle warranty covers almost everything onboard the vehicle. Whether it’s a faulty window switch or a malfunctioning infotainment display, the basic vehicle warranty will almost surely cover any defects. This allows the electric car owner to take the vehicle to a service shop and have the issue fixed, free of charge.


The main limitation of basic vehicle warranties is wear-and-tear-related items. Windshield wipers, tires, and brake pads are a few examples of items that are meant to wear out over time and not covered by basic vehicle warranty. A basic vehicle warranty also does not replace traditional auto insurance. Simply put, warranties do not cover damage caused by normal wear, accidents or abuse – instead, warranties protect an electric car’s owner against any issues with the car’s basic quality or durability.


Most basic vehicle warranties provided by manufacturers are valid for 3 years or 36,000 miles, 4 years or 50,000 miles, or 5 years or 60,000 miles – beginning on the delivery or pickup date of the vehicle. This means that when the vehicle exceeds either the time or the mileage limit, the warranty expires and any further issues and related costs will fall on the owner.


Here’s a quick overview of basic vehicle warranty periods provided by some leading manufacturers:


While basic vehicle warranties typically refer to the ‘new vehicle warranties’ provided by manufacturers, some premium dealers also provide similar ‘dealer warranties’ on their certified pre-owned inventory. For more information on Ever-provided electric car warranties, please visit Ever Quality Standards.


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What is an EV powertrain warranty?

An electric car’s powertrain warranty, sometimes called a ‘battery and drive unit warranty', covers the car’s high-voltage battery, electric motor or motors, and anything related to the vehicle’s propulsion. Typically, these powertrain warranties exceed the length of the basic vehicle warranties, providing electric car owners with even more assurance on the most expensive parts of the vehicles.


For example, Tesla’s Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty covers “the repair or replacement of any malfunctioning or defective Battery or Drive Unit” and guarantees a “minimum 70% retention of battery capacity over the warranty period”, typically 8 years and 100,000-150,000 miles.


Globally, different manufacturers’ EV powertrain warranty periods vary significantly. Many European automakers, such as Polestar, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz, offer 4-year or 50,000-mile powertrain warranties. Some US and Asian automakers go beyond this, providing powertrain warranties for up to 8 or 10 years:


Generally, electric powertrains are very reliable and relatively inexpensive. So why do EV manufacturers provide such extensive powertrain warranties? The answer is simple: EV powertrain warranties are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to provide consumers with some added level of assurance and peace of mind. In the US, there is also a federally-mandated battery warranty requirement that adds even more trust and assurance in electric vehicles.


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What is an EV battery warranty?

In the US, all new electric cars are federally mandated to have at least 8-year or 100,000-mile battery warranties. This warranty is transferable and overlaps with the above-described EV powertrain warranties.


If someone buys a 5-year-old Tesla Model 3, the buyer will have 3 more years of battery warranty at his or her disposal. If someone buys a Volkswagen ID.4, which would normally come with only 4 years or 50,000 miles of powertrain warranty, they would also be protected with an overlapping 8-year or 100,000 battery warranty.

What is California’s EV battery warranty?

While the federally-mandated 8-year or 100,000-mile battery warranty provides solid protection for all US consumers, the State of California has gone even further, requiring all automakers to warrant their EV batteries for a minimum of 10 years or 150,000 miles.


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Where to get an extended warranty for an electric car?

Discretionary ‘extended warranties’ or ‘vehicle service contracts’ are available at:


There can be significant differences between the warranty period and coverage provided by different service providers. For example, some vehicle service contracts cover all non-drivetrain-related parts whereas some will include elements of the above-described EV battery and drive-unit warranties. Some EV retailers and warranty providers also offer protection plans that focus on the most expensive tech onboard a vehicle, leaving out coverage for less expensive parts and issues.


Recently, Tesla reinstated its own extended vehicle service contract offering, available via the Tesla App. With the Tesla ‘Extended Service Agreement’ (ESA), Tesla owners whose manufacturer-provided warranty has not yet expired can extend the basic vehicle warranty by additional 2 years or 25,000 miles.


If the manufacturer warranty has already expired or a Tesla owner wants more extensive coverage than the standard ESA, they can contact EV retailers, such as Ever, or EV warranty providers, such as Xcelerate.

How much does an extended EV warranty cost?

Extended EV warranty prices are naturally dependent on the vehicle and the selected warranty period, mileage limit, and warranty coverage. For example, typical extended warranty prices for a 2019 Tesla Model 3 with 50,000 miles vary between $1,800 (for 2 years) and $4,000 (for 6+ years).


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By Ever Experts

Andrew Lambrecht

EV Contributor

Andrew Lambrecht is an automotive journalist focusing on Electric Vehicles and the Future of Transportation. Before joining the Ever team, Andrew created an EV blog called "The Current Review" and co-hosted a science and technology podcast called "The Plugged-in Podcast". Andrew has contributed to various news outlets covering the transportation sector, including InsideEVs, Forbes Wheels, and Business Insider. In his daily life, Andrew has driven both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles and, in his own words, "enjoys testing new EV models whenever possible!"

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