How can I care for my electric car battery?
Happily, there are ways you can help preserve the power and efficiency of your battery over time. One of the major ways of protecting the cells is by carefully managing the charging and discharging of the cells, which in an ideal world means trying to avoid capacity dropping below 20 percent and not adding more than 80 percent when charging – above the latter figure is when batteries tend to get hottest, which takes a toll on the cells’ delicate chemistry.
Happily, most EVs now give you the option to programme your car’s charging schedule, allowing you to decide when the electricity flows and, crucially, letting you set a cap on exactly how much pours into the cells. By the same token, it’s best not to completely drain the battery. Most EVs will always make sure there’s a bare minimum of energy left even if it won’t allow the car to move, but storing your car for long periods and allowing electricity to leech away is to be avoided.
Speaking of charging, it’s best to only use (Direct Current) DC rapid chargers sparingly. Although fine for topping up on longer journeys, or in emergencies when you need a quick burst of energy, a by-product of rapid chargers’ speed is the increased, lithium-ion damaging temperatures in the battery as it copes with the electrical onslaught.
If the car is to be used in extremes of hot or cold weather, then always make sure the car is plugged in to charge (with a maximum 80 percent charge, of course) when stationary. This allows the battery’s thermal management system to continue working and keep the cells at the optimum temperature for longevity.
Finally, the way you drive your EV can affect its battery life. Much like rapid charging, quick depletion of the cells can cause damage that over time will lead to reduced efficiency and range. Ultimately, the faster you drive and the more you make use of an EV’s trademark instant torque for lightning getaways, the more you cause damaging heat build-up in the battery. So it’s best to take it steady if you want longevity.
Electric car battery warranties
Manufacturers are acutely aware that potential EV buyers could be put off by the possibility of premature and expensive battery failure. The truth is that when treated correctly most modern lithium-ion units are likely to last the lifetime of the car. Even so, most firms cover the battery with a separate, extended warranty.