5 Problems With Lithium-Ion Batteries In Electric Cars (Known Issues)

The lithium-ion batteries used in many electric cars are undoubtedly an immense improvement, but they aren’t perfect!

Before making the move to purchase an electric vehicle, it’s important to know what kinds of issues you may face.

Take these 5 known issues into account, and you’ll be prepared to handle any issues an electric car with a lithium-ion battery might throw at you!

1. Charging The Battery Is Tricky

These days, most people are familiar with recharging batteries. Cell phones, video game controllers, flashlights, and more can come with batteries that need to be plugged in from time to time to freshen up.

Because they’re so common, they are often treated quite casually. Leaving items plugged in overnight is the norm.

However, that can’t be done with lithium-ion car batteries. At least not without a price.

Most electric vehicle batteries can begin to experience problems if they are over-charged. Stopping these batteries at 80%-90% is typically what is recommended in order to maintain the battery life.

Allowing the battery to recharge fully can actually cause the life of the battery to shorten more quickly.

Alternatively, batteries that drain completely can cause more serious issues. In some cases, they may cease working altogether, resulting in the need to purchase a new battery.

The good news is that all you have to do is get into the habit of keeping the battery within a range between 10% and 90%. With that under control, you’ll stand a good chance of getting the most from your car battery.

This is a general battery problem for electric cars.

2. Extreme Weather Can Be Hard On Your Battery

Due to the design of lithium-ion car batteries, they are best kept in mild climates. The less the temperature shifts in extreme directions, the shorter the lifespan of the battery will be.

In short, extreme temperatures will cause issues with charging the battery properly. Over time, you may end up having to replace the battery in your electric vehicle more often than you might have in a milder climate.

The good news is that there are ways to protect your battery even if you live in an area that is prone to excessive heat or cold.

Here are a few tips to keep your lithium-ion battery safe in extreme temperatures:

  • Opt for a vehicle that comes equipped with the ability to control the battery temperature.
  • When parking your car for longer periods of time, aim for areas out of direct sunlight or inside a building or garage.
  • Choose an electric vehicle with a battery that is easier to remove and keep the battery stored at mild temperatures when not in use.
  • Keep the battery charged within a suitable range between 20% and 80%.
  • In cold weather, allow the inside of the car to warm up before driving.

We have a full article here on how electric cars perform in rain and also whether EVs are safe in thunderstorms.

3. Lithium-Ion Batteries May Present A Fire Risk

Fire is a possibility in any type of car. When combining flammable substances and high heat, careful design is needed to ensure the safety of anyone inside.

Electric vehicles are no different. When it comes to those with lithium-ion batteries, liquid electrolytes are often the culprit.

Certain situations can result in these electrolytes leaking out and creating a fire risk. Some of those situations include:

  • Issues with software
  • Damage to the battery
  • Manufacturing defects

While these situations are rare, they’re important to keep in mind. Accidents happen on the road, and it’s entirely possible to miss damage caused to the battery until it’s too late.

If your electric vehicle gets into a fender-bender, always make sure to have the battery checked out in order to minimize the risk of a vehicle fire.

That said, fires in electric vehicles are quite rare. 

According to the Bureau of Transportation, only 25 electric vehicles caught fire in 2021. This number is compared to 1,530 gas-powered vehicles and 3,475 hybrid vehicles.

There’s no need to expect the lithium-ion battery in your car to cause a fire. Just check on the battery from time to time, especially after purchasing the vehicle or in the wake of any vehicular accidents and you’re likely to be safe.

4. Batteries Aren’t Always As Environmentally Friendly As Expected

The ability to recharge a battery using a renewable resource makes it a promising solution when it comes to cutting back on environmental impacts.

There’s no denying that batteries are more appealing than gasoline simply because they aren’t running on a limited resource.

That said, batteries don’t last forever. After a decade or so, they can degrade to the point of needing to be replaced.

What happens to the old battery once the replacement is installed?

Currently, recycling programs for electric car batteries are limited. That means many of them end up in a landfill. Unfortunately, the hazardous materials used to create those batteries end up seeping into the ground.

While that may not have caused many problems so far, the increase in electric vehicles may result in greater environmental impacts. Over time, we may begin to see that the effect of these batteries on the environment is equal to or even greater than the effects of gas-powered vehicles.

It’s worth noting that not only is the technology in electric vehicles advancing at a fantastic rate, the technology surrounding them is as well. That means there are a growing number of methods and programs out there designed to recycle EV batteries.

In time, that’s likely to mean that recycling an EV battery could become an incredibly simple and routine habit.

5. The Cost Of Lithium-Ion Batteries Could Rise

While lithium-ion batteries are undoubtedly a more sustainable solution than gasoline, they aren’t without faults. Though EV batteries are slowly becoming better.

Made up of materials like cobalt and lithium, these batteries are subject to the kinds of manufacturing issues that many materials experience.

The process of obtaining lithium brings concerns about environmental impact. Meanwhile, cobalt mining generates concerns over labor laws. Additionally, neither material is infinite.

Progress often brings about issues like these. When materials from the earth are used to create something new, other things can be thrown out of balance.

When it comes to lithium-ion batteries, there are certainly issues. However, growing advancements also allow for those problems to be solved. Although electric vehicles are still relatively new to the market, solutions are already being created to ensure the health of the planet.

General Pros And Cons Of Lithium-Ion Batteries In Cars

Let’s start with the pros.


There are many good things to say about lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicles in general.

Most notable among these is the potential for efficiency. Electric vehicles are capable of reaching up to 520 miles on a single charge, whereas the most efficient gas-powered vehicles may only reach 39 miles per gallon.

Because of this mileage, recharging is also a lot less frequent. Overall, that will save money over having to stop every 40 miles or so for gasoline.

On top of that, electric vehicles using lithium-ion batteries fight back against air pollution and climate change. Dead batteries can even be recycled to avoid adding to landfills.

Electric motors are also known to require a lot less maintenance than their gas-powered siblings. That fact alone will result in much fewer headaches for drivers.


  • Charging the battery is tricky.
  • Cold weather can be hard on your battery.
  • Lithium-ion batteries may present a fire risk.
  • Batteries aren’t always as environmentally friendly as expected.
  • The cost of lithium-ion batteries is rising.

What Do The Reviews Say?

“Few technologies evolve at the rapid pace of batteries. That’s why today’s electric cars nearly all top 200 miles of range on a full charge, while batteries a decade ago were good for only 75 or so miles.”

[Source: Autotrader.com]

Electric vehicle batteries – like the lithium-ion battery – have already surpassed the capabilities of gas-powered vehicles. Considering how quickly the technology for these vehicles is advancing, it’s likely they will render gas-powered vehicles obsolete.

“Therefore, we see that the lithium-ion battery is in the midst of a transition from something that’s niche to something that’s absolutely mainstream for technology in the 21st century.”

[Source: Time.com]

There is an immense potential for growth for lithium-ion batteries and the vehicles they fuel. In just a matter of years, electric vehicles may become the norm for modern people.

What’s The Resale Value Of Cars With Lithium-Ion Batteries?

Typically, it’s the car rather than the battery that is resold.

There are numerous electric vehicles out there that use lithium-ion batteries, and they come in a wide variety of price ranges. It’s important to consider the resale value of any electric vehicle you may be interested in purchasing.

For the purpose of providing an example of what resale values can look like, let’s take a look at the Tesla Model 3. In new condition, this vehicle can be purchased for around $46,990.

Resale Value Of The Tesla Model 3
Year Mileage Price
2022 6,705 $62,995
2021 6,254 $53,995
2020 32,681 $49,999
2019 24,811 $45,995
2018 50,457 $42,600



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EV Battery Maintenance Guide

No, Millions of Cars Are Not Catching Fire Every Year

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