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How to maximize the life of an electric vehicle battery

Electric vehicles may have been in production for the first time more than a century, but EV battery technology in particular has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years.

Late EVs have seen significant advances in range and fast charging capabilities, often at comparable prices.

Unlike an internal combustion engine car where it doesn’t matter whether the car is refueled from empty to full, charging your EV from 0 to 100% is generally not a good idea. Although dependent on specific chemistry, the batteries in many electric vehicles can be sensitive to how and how often they are charged.

General tips

The vast majority of electric vehicles available for sale today continue to use NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) lithium-ion battery chemistry, and these batteries have a ‘good point’ regarding the state of charge of the battery to minimize battery life. Depression.

Generally, this range is from 20% to 80%, so that during daily driving, the battery charge state should not exceed 80% of its total capacity, nor should it drop below 20%.

In terms of efficiency, this means that in day-to-day use, it’s safe to assume that the EV’s usable range could equate to 60% of its total battery capacity. Of course, charging the battery to 100% for occasional long-distance trips or other long-distance trips is perfectly reasonable and won’t significantly affect battery life.

Some electric vehicles, especially electric vehicles originating from China, such as entry-level vehicles (single engine) Tesla Model 3uses a different type of lithium-ion battery chemistry, namely LFP, also known as lithium-iron-phosphate.

THAN: Electric car battery chemistry: What’s the difference?

In this particular case, Tesla suggests that regularly fully charging the vehicle will not affect the life of the battery. Other electric vehicles that also use LFP batteries may or may not offer similar advice to their owners.

Another factor that can affect battery life is the frequent use of DC fast charging, as is common in public EV fast charging stations (also commonly referred to as level 3 charging).

DC fast charging results in high current being generated in the battery thus increasing the temperature of the battery, burdening it with additional strain that can shorten the life of the battery.

Arguably the key point here is that charging your EV at a DC fast charging station should be done sparingly and used to quickly ‘recharge’ the battery, rather than relying solely on Charge the battery from empty to full.

Instead, charging your vehicle overnight with slower AC charging (Level 1 and Level 2 charging, if available at your home) should be the primary way to charge your electric vehicle. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to leave the house every morning on a full charge.

Some newer EVs come with an advanced form of battery pre-conditioning, which can further reduce any long-term effects associated with frequent use of DC fast charging stations.

If the driver uses the car’s built-in GPS to navigate directly to the fast charging station, the car will automatically start cooling or heating the battery depending on the surrounding temperature and other environmental conditions. to make sure it’s at the optimum temperature by the time it gets to the charger.

This can not only reduce stress on the battery and thus maximize its life, but it can also reduce charging time as the battery temperature does not have to rise or fall significantly after the vehicle is plugged into the mains. .

EV battery warranty

Regardless of how you charge your electric vehicle, most car manufacturers offer a battery-specific warranty, separate from the one that covers the rest of the vehicle’s components.

The current industry standard for EV battery warranties is eight years or 160,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. In most cases, the manufacturer will guarantee that the battery will retain at least 70% of its original charge capacity during this time.

Of course, some manufacturers make slight variations from this norm. For example, BMW warrants its electric vehicle batteries for up to 8 years or 100,000 km, while Nissan mentions maintaining a minimum of ‘9 bars per 12’ (or 75%) for Leaf.

Meanwhile, Tesla exceeds the threshold in the industry with the Model 3 in Performance and Long Range guise, with each of these variants covered by an eight-year or 192,000-km warranty.

Perhaps an important development in this space are electric vehicles developed on Toyota’s new dedicated electric vehicle platform, e-TNGA, namely Toyota bZ4XSubaru Solterra and Lexus RZ coming soon.

For the bZ4X in particular (but potentially for other e-TNGA vehicles), Toyota has stated that it is aiming for the battery to retain 90% of its original charge even after 10 years or 240,000 km of use. application, a significant improvement on the battery warranty of most electric vehicles today.

The Japanese brand claims this is made possible by monitoring the temperatures of individual cells including the battery pack, to detect any local abnormal heat and then adjust the system. cooling of the battery to compensate for this.

Toyota will further support this through other innovations such as minimizing material degradation on the anode surface and improving the quality of the manufacturing process to reduce instances of metallic foreign matter joining between positive and negative poles of the battery.

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