Just like a smartphone battery, your electric vehicle’s battery can go downhill fast if you aren’t careful. If you want to keep battery performance up to scratch, you must take on board the right charging and driving habits. Chargemap has pinpointed 6 mistakes that are easy to avoid so that you can go the distance with your electric vehicle battery.
Mistake #1: Keeping a low battery level for too long
This is the first step towards good charging practice for your electric vehicle’s battery. Ideally for everyday usage, you should keep your battery at a level of between 20 and 80%.
If you allow your battery to slip down to a very low level on a regular basis (under 5%) and do not charge it up straight away, then you are snipping away at your battery’s lifetime.
There will always be situations where you have to turn a blind eye to this rule. For example, no great harm will be done if you charge your EV to 95% before a long journey and plug it in when you arrive at your destination with less than 10% to go. As long as this only happens occasionally and especially if the battery does not stay at these extreme levels, there’s nothing to worry about.
Mistake #2: Leaving your electric vehicle unused for too long
During the first lockdown, we shared an article about how to look after your EV battery when it is immobilised. The main advice is always the same: an electric vehicle must run on a very regular basis to avoid wearing down the battery prematurely.
If you do not drive around much, make sure your car does not stay immobilised for more than one month. To go back to the previous item, make sure you keep within the 20 to 80% bracket when your car is parked for a long time, the best window being between 50 and 75%.
Mistake #3: Opting for rapid charging too often
When you can charge in no time at all thanks to rapid DC charging, like we have on the Tesla Model 3, you want to profit from this advantage as much as possible. However, frequently opting for rapid or ultra-rapid charging is not the best idea to make an electric vehicle battery last.
The main issue here is temperature. A significant amount of heat is released to reach such a powerful level of charging. This can be harmful for the battery cells. If you drive a lot and tend to mainly charge at rapid charging stations, the battery will often be overheated. This can lead to premature damage.
The best solution is to plump for slow or fast charging on an everyday basis and to keep rapid and ultra-rapid charging for long journeys or emergencies. To find charging stations adapted to your needs, use the power rating filter available on the Chargemap app.
Mistake #4: Adopting a sporty driving style
An electric vehicle battery is designed to last for a certain number of charging cycles. 1 cycle equals a complete charging and discharging cycle. On average, a lithium-ion battery lasts for 1000 to 1500 cycles. The more you drive as if you were competing in a rally, the sooner you will need to charge your EV. And your battery’s lifetime will be shortened accordingly.
Modern electric vehicles are equipped with devices that foster a more economical attitude to driving. Driving in eco mode is not just beneficial for your battery, but is also a great way to cut down on costs as you won’t need to top up your car so often.
If you still like to zip about, why not let your hair down occasionally. However, you should try to apply eco-driving principles as often as you can.
Mistake #5: Charging a battery that is already heated up
Battery temperature is one of the factors that impact the charging time and charging power of your vehicle. An electric vehicle battery’s maximum charging performance lies between 20 and 40°C.
Extreme heat (50-70°C) can be damaging to lithium-ion batteries. As with rapid charging, driving in a sporty fashion over long distances generates a lot of heat in the battery. If you then immediately plug in your car (especially rapid charging), the battery could clock up critical temperatures.
While this tip is valid for models like the Nissan Leaf, other brands have equipped their electric cars with efficient thermal regulation systems for the battery. This is true for the Tesla models, for instance, which cope with temperature variations very well. Find out about the performance of your electric car in terms of the cooling (or heating) capacity of its batteries.
Mistake #6: Parking your electric vehicle outside
This last point is not exactly a “mistake”. However, if you do have the choice, you should park your electric car in a sheltered environment such as a garage or underground car park.
In very hot weather, it is best not to keep your EV outside in the sun, if only for the wear and tear on the car itself. If your car tends to heat up quickly, you can also wait until the battery temperature falls before charging it.
On the other hand, while the winter cold does not lead to premature wear and tear on the battery, it does stop the cells from functioning at their optimum level. This is why we see a fall in EV range during the winter months. However, this does not exacerbate battery deterioration.
We hope you find these few tips helpful. One thing you should know – there is no magic formula that halts wear and tear in your electric car’s battery. As technology advances in the field of batteries, their lifespan is being optimised. However, adopting good charging and driving practices remains the key to going the distance on board your EV.
And what do you do to take care of your electric vehicle battery on an everyday basis?