Why You Should Not Charge Your Electric Vehicle Battery to 100%
Most drivers are not happy about having to replace their car’s battery. A traditional battery can cost between $60 to $300, depending on the type of battery your car needs. Now imagine if you need a new battery for your electric vehicle. When it comes to battery costs, EVs take the cake. Depending on the type of electric vehicle you are driving, a new electric vehicle battery can cost between $4,000 and $20,000. That is almost the price of a new car. With this high cost of EV batteries in mind, you want to do everything you can to protect your EV battery from an early demise.
Overcharging your EV battery is one of the leading causes of battery degradation. Properly using your EV battery charging station helps your EV battery live its full life.
As the leading installer of charging stations and electrical contractors in the Santa Clara Valley, Watson’s Charging Stations & Electric wants you to get the most out of your electric vehicle. That is why we put together this quick guide on safely using your electric battery charging station at home. Whether you have questions about EV charging or need an electrician in Gilroy, give us a call for your free consultation today.
Read on to learn why you should stop fully charging your electric vehicle at home.
Electric Vehicle Battery Charging
Have you ever wondered how EV batteries work? These marvels of engineering use thousands of cells filled with lithium-ion and electrons. Every cell has its own graphite anode and lithium cathode that act as positive and negative electrodes. Graphite and lithium molecules constantly exchange electrics that travel through a liquid medium used to facilitate electron exchanges.
When you plug your EV into your home charging station, electrons leave the cathode and travel to the anode to store electric potential. That is what we call “charging” the battery. Electrons move in the opposite direction when you drive, thus creating electric power.
The most common concern among electric vehicle drivers has enough juice to complete their trips. Since there are not electric vehicle charging stations as readily available as gas stations, EV drivers do not want to get stranded, so it is common to want to leave the house with a fully charged battery.
While keeping your electric vehicle at 100% may relieve range anxiety, it can shorten the lifespan of your electric vehicle battery. When you overcharge your EV’s battery, it can lose active material in the anode and cathode. This material loss reduces the total surface area that can attract and store electrons. The number of electrolytes can also lessen, reducing the ability of electrons to move.
To put it in more straightforward terms, charging an EV to 100% can reduce the total usable capacity of the battery. This process does not happen overnight, but you will notice a reduced range as the battery degrades over time.
How Often Should I Charge My Electric Vehicle Battery?
How often you should charge your electric vehicle battery depends a great deal on how much you use your car and how far you drive each day. Since modern electric cars have an average electric range of 217 miles, most commuters can wait to charge their car every few days.
The general rule of thumb is not to charge your vehicle above 80% or let it fall below 20%. This rule is what experts call the “sweet spot,” which is the charging range that will maximize the life of your electric vehicle battery. Of course, you should check your EV’s owner’s manual for charging information and recommendations.
If you are hiring a Gilroy electrician to install an EV home charging station, get one with smart capabilities. Many modern electric battery charging stations come with advanced capabilities. For example, you can set your charging station to only charge 80%.
Imagine having an EV with a driving range of 250 miles on a full charge. Using the 80/20 rule means you will have 150 miles of range when charged at 80% before you reach 20%. You will have to decide if this range meets your needs or how to manage your electric vehicle battery’s life properly.
When Should I Charge My Electric Vehicle Battery to 100%
While you should not need to charge your EV fully every day, there are some circumstances when getting a full charge is a good idea. For example, Tesla recommends fully charging its rear-wheel-drive vehicles to 100%
You may also want a full charge if there is cold weather coming your way to ensure you have all of the available power to keep your car moving. You may also want to use your EV to power your home (with the proper setup) during an emergency.
How to Maximize the Life of Your Electric Vehicle Battery
Improving your EV’s range and getting more from your battery is similar to enhancing a gas-powered vehicle’s fuel efficiency: remove excess weight, keep your tires properly inflated, and stick with your EV’s regularly scheduled maintenance.
Another tip is to look for an EV with heated/ventilated seats. Heat is drawn from the engine compartment in a gas-powered vehicle and spread throughout the cabin. Since EVs do not produce the same kinds of heat as a combustion engine, your car has to use additional power to produce heat. Use your heating and cooling system moderately, and you will get more life out of your battery.
If you are driving in colder weather, consider using remote start to power your EV while it is still plugged in. You will benefit from a warm vehicle that still has its desired charge. When possible, park in a garage to reduce the power needed to create a comfortable temperature.
Let Watson’s Charging Stations & Electric Be Your Electricians in Santa Clara County
Whether you are looking to install a new EV home charging station or need help updating your breaker box to handle the modern demands of electric devices, give Watson’s Charging Stations & Electric a call. We can address all your electrical needs in Gilroy, CA, and the Santa Clara Valley.
Contact us today to start talking about your next residential or commercial project.