Understand how your electric car‘s battery works to maximize its life and efficiency — and whether taken care of by manufacturer warranty.
Electric vehicles contain rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries made to produce high-energy outputs. They continue to weigh greatly less than their energy density would imply and lower the overall emissions poured out by vehicles. Plug-in hybrids have charging abilities as well as gasoline compatibility for fueling. Many non-hybrid electric vehicles advertise their “zero-emissions” capabilities.
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Electric cars (Evs) earn their name from running off electricity instead of gasoline. “Fueling up” translates into “charging” the vehicle’s battery. The mileage you get off a full charge varies depending on the EV’s manufacturer. A vehicle with a 100-mile range driven 50 miles each day would have a so-called “deep discharge” of its battery, which drains 50% every day — a difficult number to make up with most home charging stations. For driving the same distance, a vehicle with a higher full-charge range would be more ideal because it gives off a “shallow discharge.” Shallower discharges lowers the overall degradation to the electric battery and assist it last longer.
Even with the smartest of buying intentions, eventually, an EV will need its battery replaced just like an SLI (starting, lighting, and ignition) battery-operated vehicle. Regular vehicles batteries are nearly 100 percent recyclable, and electric batteries are on their way to matching that with a 96 percent re-usability score. However, when it comes time to change your electric car’s battery, if it’s outside the car warranty, it may be the steepest price you pay in vehicle maintenance.
Changing Electric Car Batteries
Because of the high price of an electric battery to start with (it takes up the bulk of your payment for the EV itself), Purchasing a replacement can be costly. To counteract this situation, most electric car manufacturers provide a warranty for repair or change of the battery. Within a number of miles or years, and if the battery no longer charges above a certain percentage (typically 60-70%), it is eligible for manufacturer-backed change. Make sure to read the fine print when receiving services — not all manufacturers will reimburse work done on a battery carried out by a technician outside the company. Some popular electric car warranties include:
- BMW i3:8 years or 100,000 miles.
- Ford Focus:8 years or 100,000 – 150,000 miles depending on the state.
- Chevy Bolt EV:8 years or 100,000 miles.
- Nissan Leaf (30 kilowatts):8 years or 100,000 miles (24kW covers only 60,000 miles).
- Tesla Model S (60 kilowatts):8 years or 125,000 miles (85 kW includes unlimited miles).
Should it seem your electric vehicle no longer holds a full charge or seems to deplete faster than anticipated, battery pack or battery servicing may be needed. A qualified mechanic can often do the job and may even give you reimbursement for your old battery. The majority of its parts can be recycled and repurposed for future use. Make sure your car’s warranty covers work done outside the manufacturer to save on service payments.
Factors Affecting Battery Life
Lithium-based EV batteries run in cycles. A charge and ensuing discharge counts as one cycle. As the number of cycles adds up, the battery’s ability to keep a full charge will decrease. Fully charged batteries contain the highest voltage possible, with battery management systems built in to stop voltage from going beyond its operating range and temperature. On top of cycles, which the battery is made to endure for a significant amount of time, factors detrimental to long battery life include:
- Extreme high or low temperatures.
- Overcharging or high voltage.
- Deep discharges (battery drains) or low voltage.
- Frequent high charge current or discharges, meaning too many fast charges.
How to Increase Battery Life
To prolong electric vehicle battery life, follow these 7 best practices:
- Don’t allow battery at full charge.Leaving it at full charge too often stresses the battery and degrades it faster.
- Store in a garage.Keep your EV in a garage or temperature-controlled space whenever possible to prevent temperature extremes.
- Plan for outings.Pre-heat or pre-cool the EV before going out if you haven’t unplugged the vehicle from your home charging station. This practice helps you prevent using battery power while driving.
- Make Use of Economy Mode if available.EVs with “eco mode” will turn off the vehicle battery while stopped. It acts as a battery power-saver and helps minimize your car’s overall energy consumption.
- Avoid speeding.Battery efficiency tends to go donw when you exceed 50 miles-per-hour. When applicable, keep your driving speed down.
- Avoid braking hard.Hard braking uses the vehicle’s conventional brakes. Regenerative brakes activated with gentle braking save battery energy, while friction-based brakes do not.
- Always plan vacation settings.Set the charge level to 50% and leave the EV plugged in while away on long trips, where possible.
Electric car batteries are constantly improving with each new vehicle model. They grow increasingly efficient and cost-effective with further developments. Innovation in battery life and design adds to the popularity of EVs as they gets more affordable. Charging stations pop up in new places across the country to provide services to the vehicle of the future. Understanding how electric vehicle batteries work maximizes the efficiency an EV owner can have.