Find out how your EV battery can degrade, and discover ways to extend the battery life instead.
If you think about it, our lives these days are increasingly reliant on batteries. We find these things on our smartphones, and everyone seems to have a smartphone all the time. We also find batteries on our laptops and our cordless power tools and household appliances. Nowadays, an increasing number of people even have huge-capacity batteries to power their vehicles instead of gasoline.
However, the problem with these electric vehicle batteries is that over time, their capacity and power efficiency can change for the worse. You may find that as time goes on, your EV may not go as fast or have as much range as before. It’s as if you have a regular car that runs on gasoline, but somehow your gas tank gets smaller and less efficient as the years pass.
How Can Your EV Battery Degrade?
Like with most other things, regular wear and tear over time can eventually damage your EV battery. There are 2 types of “aging”, however. The regular type of aging is what we usually think of—the passage of time.
The other type of aging is about cycle aging when you use the battery. The more frequently you use up the battery power and recharge, the more quickly your battery ages.
There are also other dangers out there that can cause problems more quickly.
- Mechanical issues. If you crash your EV and damage the battery, obviously you’ll end up with a problem with your battery.
- Extreme temperatures. Your battery may come off the worse for wear if you constantly expose it to temperatures that are either too hot or too cold.
- A high or low state of charge. A high or low state of charge can cause mechanical stress and corrosion.
- High charging or discharging current. Regular charging and discharging already cause some damage, and the high current can make the damage worse.
How Does the Damage Affect the EV Battery?
There are 2 main ways you can tell that your battery isn’t performing as well as it ought to.
This means the battery reduces the number of amp-hours of energy it can store. You then end up with higher battery power consumption, so that you expend more energy to travel 20 miles on your EV. You then end up with a reduced range for your EV, and you’ll have to recharge more often.
This means a reduction in the rate of energy you can draw out of your EV battery. Your acceleration capabilities may become worse, so that you’ll have more problems merging into faster traffic. Your battery may also not be able to recharge as effectively through the charger or the brakes.
Helpful Tips for a Longer EV Battery Life
The good news is that there are ways you can avoid these types of damages and actually extend the lifespan of your EV battery. Here are some recommendations put forth by a study conducted by University of Michigan researchers:
Follow the EV Manual Instructions on Battery Care
Usually, the instructions will also include directions on how to calibrate the battery power-level meter. This usually involves completely discharging the battery at first.
Avoid High Temperature Exposure for the EV Battery
At the very least, you should park your electric vehicle away from spots where it’s exposed to direct sunlight. Park in the shade instead.
If possible, park in a covered spot where you can also plug in your EV. You can then use the electrical grid power to activate the thermal management system of your EV battery. This system can maintain the proper temperature for your EWV battery.
Avoid Low Temperature Exposure
This means avoid using and storing the EV in a spot where it’s too cold. The solution is again to plug in to power the battery’s built-in thermal management system.
There are actually some batteries that can activate the thermal management system even when you’re not plugged in. While that’s great, that also means it’ll use up the stored battery power instead.
Don’t Let the Charge Drop to Zero
Normally, the battery’s management system will shut off the EV before the charge goes completely zero. However, you may go in vacation and leave the EV unplugged for a very long time that it then self-discharges completely to zero.
Don’t Keep the Charge Maintained at 100% Either
Plugging in the EV all night, every night, actually damages your battery. It’s better to have a healthy power charge that covers your energy use each day.
If you tend to use 40% of your battery energy each day, you may want to maintain a charge level of 60% to 80% instead. You can use smart chargers for this, which can eventually customize the charging levels to meet your regular daily energy needs.
Avoid Quick High-Voltage DC Charging
While you can use this fast type of recharging every now and then (such as when you’re on a rare long trip across the state), you shouldn’t do this regularly.
Avoid Quick Launches
Sure, you may want to try the Tesla quick-launch for the thrill, but don’t do it too often. You damage the battery each time you discharge the battery too quickly.
Your electric vehicle can do a lot for your driving needs, but it’s only as good as its battery. Make sure your battery lasts as long as it can by taking care of it properly.
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