Electric cars have entered our daily life confidently and, apparently, for a long time. Despite all the difficulties of this year, the number of operated electric vehicles exceeded 10 million units. The main source of energy for such vehicles is the battery. The capacity of the battery along with the engine power is one of the most important characteristics of an electric car. Consequently, the issue of how you can prolong the battery life of an electric vehicle is becoming more and more important.
Before answering this question, you need to understand the features of the electric vehicle battery.
The principle of battery maintenance
The battery is the most expensive part of an electric car. It consists of many thousands of small cells that can be combined into packs (modules) with a serial connection.
Most electric cars are equipped with lithium-ion batteries. When charging is in progress, lithium ions from the cathode, through a conductor (electrolyte), move to the anode made of carbon. In the process of discharging (when the battery begins to work), the reverse process occurs. However, the cathode is not completely restored and cannot accept the entire volume of ions. As a result, fewer ions enter the cathode, and the battery itself loses its capacity. With a loss of approximately 30% of its capacity, the battery is considered inoperative. This can take 5-10 years depending on the battery design.
The energy generated by the battery is supplied to the controller, from where it is transmitted to the engine.
A faulty battery: how the breakdown manifests itself
The battery of an electric vehicle itself is a reliable element. Except in cases of physical damage and failure of individual parts of the battery, the main problem of an electric vehicle battery is degradation, i.e. natural destruction of electrodes, which leads to a loss of battery capacity. The main sign of battery degradation is reduced mileage per charge. A manifestation of a malfunction can also be expressed in an accelerated discharge of the battery when using additional systems of the car (music, air conditioning, etc.).
The operation of any electric vehicle invariably entails a loss of battery capacity. Its intensity depends on the design features of the battery (liquid or air cooling), operating conditions, as well as the owner's compliance with the recommendations for maintaining the battery's performance.
Some of the most common tips offered by experts and electrical car manufacturers include:
- Do not allow the battery charge level to fall below 20% of the maximum capacity.
- Do not get carried away with frequent use of fast charging (once a day and no more). This will reduce battery life.
- Use your home (low power) AC outlet to charge the vehicle more often - this allows you to “calibrate” the battery after using fast charging.
When using a charger, it is important to use good and high-quality ones, with a power of 6.6 kW or more. High-quality charging stations are always available online.
Avoid long-term sharp increases in speed (this leads to overheating of the battery cells), and also do not abuse off-road driving.
- In summer, it is worth parking the electric car in the shade (this also eliminates excessive heating of the battery).
- Do not charge the battery 100%, as this will reduce its resource over time. Optimally - 80-90% capacity. If you need to ensure the maximum duration of the trip, then the battery should be charged to 100% immediately before the trip. And never leave a 100% charged battery unused for more than 8 hours.
- Do not leave an electric car idle with a low (30% and below) battery charge for a long time.
If the car will not be used for a long time, it is best to leave it connected to the network. However, the charge should not exceed 50% of the maximum capacity. If the amount of charge cannot be controlled, it is recommended to leave the electric vehicle with a charge of 80-90%.
An urgent issue is the performance of the electric car battery in the winter. The cold weather is the reason lithium-ion batteries lose charge and capacity. Losses can reduce the range by up to 40%. Therefore, you should not leave the electric car outside at low temperatures, and you only need to charge the battery in a warm room.
Going on a long trip is worth planning the route. This will allow you not only to choose the optimal travel mode but also to plan a stop for recharging. To feel comfortable on the road, you should familiarize yourself with the map of charging stations in advance.
Each of the recommendations above will help extend the battery life. However, even if you follow the entire list of these recommendations, this does not exclude a natural decrease in battery capacity. Even a new battery has an average loss of 2.3% per year.