December 3, 2008 One of the key points critics have leveled at the electric car movement is that any money saved by switching gas stations for the power point will be lost when the battery fades and needs replacing. With battery costs currently still high, this is a valid concern - but how long can a battery pack last? Battery provider Southern California Edison have been testing a lithium-ion battery subpack for two and a half hears now and have demonstrated a life of more than 180,000 miles without significant performance deterioration. Considering that the average American family car does less than 15,000 miles a year, you're looking at well over ten years' service from a battery pack before it needs replacing. Factor in your gas guzzler's scheduled servicing costs (negligible on an electric) and a fuel bill of more than USD$10,000 at today's low gas prices even if you drive a 29mpg small car, and it appears the cost equation is becoming more convincing for electrics.

As automakers work toward putting plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road, Southern California Edison (SCE) recently announced a major milestone in advanced battery performance.

Through ongoing evaluation and tests at its Pomona, Calif.-based Electric Vehicle Technical Center, SCE has demonstrated battery life performance equivalent to more than 180,000 miles in a commercial delivery van with minimal battery deterioration. These batteries could power tomorrow’s plug-in vehicles.

The battery test, conducted in a laboratory setting, uses a Johnson Control-Saft lithium-ion battery subpack that is one-sixth of the actual battery size used in a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The subpack has been tested continuously for two and a half years, and testing continues to monitor the battery’s remarkable performance.

Based on the results achieved with the battery pack, the U.S. Department of Energy has provided SCE with a full-size lithium ion battery and has asked SCE to test and evaluate the battery’s viability for passenger car application.

SCE is conducting the battery test in support of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) evaluation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The center evaluates all forms of electrodrive technologies for energy use, operating costs, efficiency, reliability, power quality, battery life, system impacts and safety.