How can I extend the life of my EV battery?
EVs store their energy in batteries, usually lithium-ion batteries like those in our cellphones and laptops. These high-tech batteries have a very long life, and are often warrantied for 100,000 miles. EV manufacturers build in a variety of controls and protections to ensure battery health and longevity. For the most part, you can charge and drive as you like, and do not need to worry about battery management.
However, if you own an EV, the following simple tips can help you maximize the life of your batteries, and ensure years of smooth electric driving.
1. Don't overcharge, or over discharge
EV batteries like to be between 20-80% charge. You can use your onboard controls to set the "max charge" at 80%, and ensure your batteries don't get stressed out. If you know you will need extra range, you can always override the controls and charge your batteries to the max, just try not to do that every day.
Similarly, it also stresses out the batteries to be fully (or nearly fully) depleted. Try to avoid running your batteries all the way down, if at all possible.
2. Only charge when you need to charge
It is tempting to plug the car in every time you come home, for a "top off." By all means if you know you will need a full charge in the morning, go ahead and do so. But the batteries will be happier in the long run if you plug in less often. So if you know you won't need a full battery the next day, resist the temptation to top off you battery, and let the charge drop below 50% before you recharge. That will help your battery last longer.
3. Use DC Fast Charging when you need it, but only when you need it
DC fast charging can be extremely convenient if you are on a road trip, and by all means use DC fast charging when you need it. But as you may imagine, jamming all that power into your batteries quickly can stress out the system. So only use DC fast charging when you really need it.
4. Store with care
If you are going on an extended trip, or are otherwise planning on storing your car for 30 days or more, it is best to leave it at about 50-60% charge.
5. On hot days, try to park in the shade
Extreme heat will cause your car's battery thermal management system to run, which will sap range. The high heat is also less than ideal for batteries. Parking in the shade will also mean you have a cooler car when you return to it.