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Battery guarantee rules – How to avoid the pitfalls of electric car manufacturers

Eight years or 160,000 kilometers driven: there is hardly a manufacturer's promise that should be valid longer than the guarantee for the drive battery in electric cars.

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Battery guarantee rules – How to avoid the pitfalls of electric car manufacturers

Eight years or 160,000 kilometers driven: there is hardly a manufacturer's promise that should be valid longer than the guarantee for the drive battery in electric cars. But will the promise be kept if the battery goes on strike? Not in every case. You should be familiar with the regulations, because they specifically affect everyday driving – for example when charging the battery.

“In contrast to the statutory warranty, which is two years for new products, a guarantee is a contract for a fixed period of time. The fine print applies here,” says Arndt Kempgens, specialist lawyer for traffic law at the Auto Club Europa (ACE).

In the case of new vehicles, customers should therefore have all documents relating to the guarantee handed out for them to read. Statements in advertising brochures or screenshots of advertisements are also part of the right to purchase and should be saved.

"Assurances, statements and agreements from sellers are better recorded in writing by prospective buyers and have them confirmed," advises Kempgens. This makes it easier to prove in the event of later discrepancies.

Most manufacturers of electric vehicles, including domestic ones like Audi, BMW, Porsche and VW or foreign ones like Citroën, Polestar, Mazda or Nissan, offer a battery guarantee of eight years or 160,000 kilometers – whichever comes first. At Hyundai, the limit is even up to 200,000 kilometers.

For individual models, the promises are even more comprehensive: Mercedes-Benz offers up to 250,000 kilometers or ten years for the memory in the EQS, Tesla for the Model S and Model X up to 240,000, Lexus for the UX 300e even up to one million kilometers. Confidence in the technology seems to be there.

But the promises are not kept as generally as the numbers read. At Porsche, for example, the battery is not covered by the warranty if the instructions in the operating instructions are not followed.

With the Taycan model, for example, the guarantee is already void after three years or 60,000 kilometers if the relevant information on the service life is ignored. The same happens with BMW, Fiat, Nissan and Opel if the battery is deeply discharged or, as with Tesla, a service update has not been carried out.

One basis for determining whether a battery is covered by the guarantee or not is, among other things, the remaining minimum capacity – i.e. how much energy the fully charged battery still provides compared to the time of delivery. If it falls below 70 percent within the specified time frame, a warranty claim can be made with most car manufacturers.

Jens Dralle, Head of Test and Technology at the trade journal "Auto, Motor und Sport", therefore recommends owners to meticulously follow the respective charging instructions in the operating instructions - as far as possible. Because the manufacturers often remained vague with their information about charging.

“You recommend only charging the battery up to 80 percent at the quick-charging station. They don’t say from what number of quick charges up to 100 percent the battery can really be damaged.”

Nevertheless, the operating instructions contain other important information, for example on the prescribed maintenance and possible software updates for the battery, says Matthias Vogt, an expert for e-mobility at the ADAC technical center. Modifications to the vehicle can also invalidate the guarantee - such as trailer hitches not approved by the manufacturer: Batteries are heavily loaded when towing a trailer. The warranty also expires with chip tuning for more performance.

As with cars with combustion engines, it is up to the driver to protect his vehicle, says Jens Dralle. Filling up a cold battery with a charge level of 75 percent on a fast charger is stressful.

Constant full charging to 100 percent at such direct current charging stations also affects the energy bar, up to a maximum of 80 percent protects it. Full charges are only recommended with alternating current on wall boxes - preferably with a low current.

But then e-car owners should start driving again soon: “It is better for the battery if it is completely full or completely empty as rarely as possible and only for a short time. The longer this condition lasts, the more damaging it is for the cells,” says Vogt. For example, Volkswagen recommends charging batteries with 30 to 80 percent energy beforehand if they are going to be idle for more than twelve hours.

After all, a buffer was built into the technology for its own protection: The 100 percent according to the display does not quite correspond to the real, slightly lower charge level.

In the case of used e-vehicles, interested parties should ensure that the guarantee is still valid and that the battery is healthy. Because if the remaining capacity is below a certain limit, the manufacturer must replace the battery or individual cells, depending on the warranty contract.

"Therefore, I strongly advise that a professional checks the capacity before buying," says ACE attorney Kempgens. Such battery checks are carried out by some manufacturers in their authorized workshops, but also by service providers.

Costs of around 100 euros for this are not small money - on the other hand, it is a good investment, because the battery is one of the most expensive components in an electric car. Because if a complete replacement is necessary, depending on the model, up to five-digit amounts are due.

"Everything on shares" is the daily stock exchange shot from the WELT business editorial team. Every morning from 7 a.m. with the financial journalists from WELT. For stock market experts and beginners. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer. Or directly via RSS feed.

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