- Avoid letting battery SOC drop to 0%
- Always charge up to between 80 – 90%
- Given the option, choose a level 2 charger
Given its cost, the battery in your EV is the most crucial component to keep your vehicle running for a long time. There are 2 primary forms of battery degradation: capacity and power fade. Capacity fade affects the electric vehicles’ range and charge consumption, while a power fade impacts the vehicle’s driving performance.
Here are a few recommendations on how to keep the battery in good condition and avoid unnecessary degradation:
Don’t charge your EV to 100% every time
It is best to charge your battery up to 80% - 90%.
Aim to keep the battery level between 20% and 80% whenever possible. This is because the charge level corresponds to the number of moveable lithium ions in the graphite and lithium cobalt oxide layers of the cell. Having too many ions in either layer later can cause additional stress, and over time, create an impact on the battery health.
While EV charging systems are equipped to cut the charge once the batteries reach 100%, there is still a small amount of trickle charge that causes strain to the battery. A useful tip would be to change the settings on your car so it limits the charge to a maximum of 80%.
However, there are times when a full charge is needed, such as going on a long road trip, so if you have one planned, do remember to change the maximum charge allowed.
Using the right charger for your vehicle
Different EVs have different charging capabilities, and charging stations also have different capacities. The maximum rate of your charging session is determined by whichever is lower, the capability of the car or the charger.
Using the wrong charger can deteriorate your battery’s state of health. Check the EV owner’s manual for automaker’s recommendations on optimal charging and operating instructions.
Avoid fast charging if you can
Rapid charging means high currents which affects the battery because during the charging process, changes occur within the battery’s internal chemistry at which high current worsen these effects. It also causes high temperatures which puts a lot of stress on the battery and can shorten its lifespan.
The more frequent the use of DC fast charging, the higher the battery degradation.
However, it is perfectly fine to use a DC Fast Charger when you are on a trip and want to recharge your EV in a half hour or less. But automakers suggest it is best not to use Level 3 charging on a daily basis.
Avoid charging in a hot environment
When an EV battery is being charged, it produces heat. If the battery gets too hot, it can damage the cells and shorten the lifespan of the battery. This is because high temperatures causes cathode electrolyte oxidation, which can result in sudden loss of capacity. That is why it is important to keep your car cool while charging, either by using a cooling system or by keeping the car in a cool place.
Do not leave your EV plugged in after complete charge
Leaving your EV plugged in after it is done charging can lead to voltage depression. Voltage depression is when the voltage of your battery drops below a certain threshold which impedes the cells of the battery from operating optimally, and it can happen with repeated over-charging of your EV.
Although a voltage depression is not permanent, it can shorten the lifespan of your battery, so it is best to avoid it if possible. The best way to avoid voltage depression is to simply unplug your EV as soon as it is done charging.
Drive with measured acceleration
Like ICE vehicles, driving at high speeds in an EV depletes the battery more quickly, which means more charging cycles. And that shortens your EV’s battery lifespan. Being a lead foot can add stress to the components and reduce the life of your battery. It is therefore a good idea to accelerate moderately.
Avoid charging everyday
Charging cycles degrade batteries. In general, you would not need to charge your electric vehicle every night, it is not necessary in most cases. The practice of charging an EV every day can shorten the lifespan of the car's battery pack therefore deducing the number of charging cycles can help reduce the degradation of battery capacity