Contrary to common belief, the battery of electric vehicles does not simply wear out with time, they are also impacted by many other factors. The battery life of an EV largely depends upon how much it has been charged to full before being depleted, how it has been treated while on the go and how much exposure it has had to rough or unfriendly weather conditions. Rushing your EV while charging and exposing it to extreme weather conditions is known to adversely affect the battery performance in your EV.
The good news is that you are not entirely powerless when it comes to handling your EV battery. Electric Vehicle News India has put together all the information you need to understand and effectively use your EV batteries. Before we get to the part of maximizing your battery potential, let’s take a look at the role that batteries play in electric vehicles.
EV battery life explained
Where conventional vehicles are powered from burning petrol or diesel, electric vehicles are powered by a pack of batteries that need to be recharged from time to time. EV batteries consist of “charging cycles” that are the number of times the vehicle can be charged and discharged by use. Over time, this process can affect the amount of charge a battery can hold. It also begins to affect the performance of the vehicle in terms of the distance you can cover and the time needed to charge the vehicle.
While most manufacturers offer an 8 to 10-year warrantee in their batteries, the present understanding is that an EV battery will last between 10-20 years before needing replacement.
Recharging an EV battery
Most EVs come with a fast-charging option that charges the vehicle from 0-80% charge in about 6-12 hours. Some of the fastest public charging points can power an EV to 80% charge in less than an hour, the last 20% takes more time to prevent damaging the batteries. Admittedly, India is yet to develop public charging stations and other EV-friendly infrastructure.
Charge times vary largely depending on how fast the vehicle can pick upcharge, the kind of charger, and the size of the battery. For more regular use, charging your EV at home overnight is the most convenient option.
Recycling an EV battery
Another thing about EV batteries is that once it loses the capacity to power a vehicle, it can be recycled by being used in contributing to a battery storage system that can help power a building or home. Pairing your EV battery with a renewable energy source like wind or solar power can help you save a lot on your electricity bill.
When batteries reach an inevitable end, they go through a process that involves separating valuable materials like stainless steel, plastic, and cobalt, and lithium salts. Certain reputed manufacturers are considering plans that aim to recycle about 97% of battery components, and used them to make new batteries.
Designing an EV battery
Batteries are one of the most attractive features of EVs and this technology is likely to last for many years. Acknowledging that this is an important part of the system, EV manufacturers have gone to great lengths to better the battery quality and ensure that it lasts longer.
The process of “buffering” is vital to EV batteries, where they are designed in a way that drivers won’t be able to use up the entire battery power, thus reducing the number of cycles the battery goes through. This, along with well-planned cooling systems that use liquid coolant to ensure that the battery doesn’t get too heated is the reason why EV batteries are longer lasting and maintained easily.
To preserve battery life, EV manufacturers also provide for additional spare capacity that takes care of batteries aging over time. As the EV and its batteries age, this spare capacity is used to maintain the performance for a while longer. As the battery capacity falls below 80%, you might begin to notice a drop in the range and battery performance
How can I extend the battery life of my EV?
All said and done, there are some things you can do to ensure that the batteries of your EV do not wear out before their time. These simple practices can also help you make the most of your batteries by optimizing their potential.
Avoid extreme temperatures
Both extremely hot and cold temperatures can affect your battery’s performance. EVs are fitted with automated cooling systems meant for maintaining safe operating systems when your vehicle is in use. These systems end up needlessly draining your batteries if they sense the setup getting heated.
Make sure you park your EV in a shade or plug-in so that it uses grid power to manage temperatures.
Avoid regularly charging and depleting the batteries to 100%
Though a full charge might give you maximum operating time, it is not very good for the life of your battery in the long run. Charging and running out an EV to its full capacity can harm its batteries and that’s why most manufacturers limit the capacity of the battery to charge to 100%.
Avoid using fast chargers regularly
Fast chargers are surely a convenient option for when you’re out of time or your EV is soon going to die out. The point of fast charging is that it forces so much more power into the batteries in a lesser amount of time. Doing this to your EV regularly can eat into as much as 10% of battery life when charged using a regular charger. The signs of strained batteries are subtle but surer than you’d think.
Maintaining battery during long storage
If you do not use your EV regularly or have parked it for a long time on a full charge, the battery struggles to maintain this charge eventually affecting battery life. One way to deal with this is to charge your vehicle just above the minimal mark, but not to full capacity (somewhere between 25%-75% charge), and of course, make sure you use your EV regularly even if it means taking it out for a brief spin.
With a little upkeep and intelligent use, you can make the most of your EV batteries- even long after they stop working for your vehicle. These batteries are designed to be thoughtful and sustainable, with less maintenance compared to conventional vehicles.