How to help maximise the lifespan of your EV battery
Lithium batteries in cars, which are the type of batteries used in most Electric Vehicles (EV), and should generally perform well for at least eight to ten years. If you’re an EV driver, your electric car battery longevity will depend on the make and model of your EV – as well as how you drive, charge and use your EV.
What is your electric car battery lifespan?
EV battery lifespan refers to the overall life of the battery based on how many times it will be charged and discharged. The lifespan of an electric car battery is different to the battery charge level, which is the level of charge you need to drive around. You can monitor your battery charge level to know when it’s time to charge up.
How to help maximise your lithium-ion batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are the type generally used in most electric vehicles. Over recent years, battery charging for cars has become a focus for EV manufacturers. New tech has been introduced by some manufacturers to help reduce battery degradation and keep lithium-ion batteries as lightweight as possible.
There are three main reasons for battery degradation in lithium-ion batteries: over-charging, over-discharging and over-exposure to extreme temperatures. If you can avoid these as much as possible to help get as much life out of your EV battery as you can.
Here are three things you could try to help to extend your EV battery lifespan.
Battery longevity tip #1: Learn about your EV and driving habits
Getting the most from your EV battery lifespan starts with learning more about your chosen EV. This could be as simple as reading the manual, connecting with EV communities with the same type of electric vehicles or doing your own research on your EV make and model.
As you get used to your EV, you could also consider experimenting with the different driving modes available. For example, you might find your EV features different driving modes such as Battery Saver or ECO mode as part of its built-in battery management system. This could help you to reduce how much battery charge you use by reducing acceleration, compared to the same accelerator pedal position in normal driving mode.
Your driving habits can also impact the wear and tear of your electric car battery. Generally, the faster you drive, the faster you’ll drain your battery charge. You might get to your destination sooner – but you could also be contributing to faster battery degradation and will likely need to visit a charging station sooner.
Battery longevity tip #2: Consider your EV battery charging habits
One of the benefits of driving an EV is that you can replace trips to the petrol station with plugging in you EV at home or using your local EV charging stations.
To help make the most of your EV battery capacity, start by thinking about how you manage the battery charge level on your phone. Do you wait until your phone dies or reaches the critical ‘red zone’ level then charge it right up to 100% again, day after day?
Over-charging and fully discharging is one of the reasons our phone batteries generally don’t last longer than a few years. This might ok for mobile phones, because you want the most hours of use each day – but you probably don’t want to update your EV as often as you change phones.
The good news is that your EV is likely to have its own battery management system in place to help reduce the effects of being fully charged and discharged. Generally, your electric car battery will benefit from being kept at a charge of between 20 and 80% of your battery capacity. Being at 100% charge will take you the longest distance – but it’s not a good long-term strategy if you are trying to make the most of your electric car battery lifespan.
If you stop charging your EV when your battery charge level reaches around 80%, it could help to preserve the life of your lithium-ion battery. This might be more than enough charge to drive as far as you need to each day, or perhaps you could top up the charge during the day at EV charging stations along your route.
It’s also worth knowing that once your battery charge reaches 80%, the charging process significantly slows down as part of your EV’s battery management system. Because of this, it could be much more time-efficient for you to only charge your EV to 80%.
Fast EV charging stations are great if you need a quick boost of power but this type of charging involves a high level of current being directed into your battery. This can put strain on your EV battery and contribute to battery degradation. “Trickle charging” (charging your EV through a normal electricity socket) at home might take more time and planning, but could be better for your battery longevity in the long run.
Always follow your EV manufacturer's recommendations when deciding how to manage charging your EV battery.
Battery longevity tip #3: Consider your parking positions
EV batteries can be impacted by extreme temperatures. Below zero and above 27 degrees Celsius are considered extreme temperatures for lithium-ion batteries.
Here in WA, we don’t need to worry too much about the extreme cold temperatures and conditions, such as heavy snow and ice, which can impact battery longevity. We should, however, understand and consider battery degradation risks from extreme heat in summer.
Your EV’s battery management system will include a cooling system (or thermal management system) but this system might have to work harder if your EV sits in the hot summer sun all day. This could drain your battery faster and has the potential to lead to faster battery degradation. On hot days, try to park your EV in the shade.
Thinking about where – and when – you park could make a difference to your EV battery life. Charging up to 100% and then parking for a long time has the potential to degrade your battery. Check your EV manufacturer’s recommendations for the optimum recommended charge level for your EV. Generally, parking or storing your EV at 100% full charge or 100% empty charge is not good for the battery lifespan.
Take care of your electric car battery
If you feel like your EV battery capacity might be dropping, it could be worth getting a diagnostic check. Your EV dealership or specialised EV mechanic should be able to run the necessary checks and let you know the best course of action.
If you treat your EV battery with care, it could last for years. Take a close look at the features of your EV and how you drive it, try not to over-charge, and be mindful about how and where you park your EV for long periods.
By making a few simple changes to your behaviour, you could help to maximise your EV battery life. Discover more tips and tricks to make the most of your EV with our ultimate guide to charging your EV.