Lithium ion batteries are a larger version of the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery in your mobile phone
EVs don’t use a single battery like a phone, they use instead a group of them which are comprised of thousands of individual Li-ion cells working together.
When the car’s charging up, electricity is used to make chemical changes inside its batteries. When it’s on the road, these changes are reversed to produce electricity.
If you analyze the Li-ion battery charging process. The charging process can be divided into four different stages: trickle charge, pre-charge, constant-current charge, and constant-voltage charge. Below shows the charging curve of a typical lithium-ion battery.
Many studies have investigated the effects of fast charging on lithium ion batteries.The main advantage of is their good tolerance to the higher current rate.
So here are 5 tips on how to look after you EV battery:
1: Do not leave your battery to sit at 100% for any length of time.
Most EVs have an option for a “Standard” charge or a “Range” or “Max” charge.
Use the maximum charge when you need to.
Most EVs have charge timers to help you plan for this.
Leaving a battery pack at maximum charge for any periods of time can affect its life.
You may be able to time your maximum charge and departure times well, daily charging to 100% is stressful to your battery.
This is why most makers offer “standard” or “normal” charge levels which wont help you achieve the maximum EPA range rated for your vehicle.
If you don’t need the max charge, then don’t use it.
Generally lithium-ion batteries do best when they operate in the 30% to 80% range for state of charge. Although a bit extreme, prolonging the time spent above or below that range will lead to a shorter pack life
2: Do not leave your battery to sit at 0% for any length of time.
Leaving your battery in a discharged state for an extended period will also impact its life.
Most car manufacturers protect batteries from becoming completely discharged as that can make the battery completely useless.
Plug your car in nightly to maintain a good charge level.
Always keep it over 30% charge for an extended period.
3: Avoid extremes of temperatures.
A few manufacturers have their own built in thermal management system that pre-conditions the battery (ie. warms the pack when too cold and vice versa),
For Lithium-ion composition is to keep the battery pack between -5 ºC – 30 ºC
Heat is not good for lithium ion and will increase battery degradation when consistently exposed to high temperatures.
4: Plan for time away to condition your car
If you’re going away on holiday or for a work trip the best thing for your car is to set the charge level to 50% and leave it plugged in.
If you’re leaving your EV at the airport or somewhere where you can’t leave it plugged in beware that you’re going to lose some charge per day. Charge to a level where you can get to the airport, let it sit for the trip and then still have enough charge with buffer to get home.
Don’t let it sit unplugged at an airport for days on end at a 90% charge state if possible. Still, leaving it at 90% is better for the battery (and you) than leaving it at 10% and coming back to find the battery completely discharged.
5: Once every 3 months charge to 100%
Lithium-ion batteries are designed to minimize the “memory” issues often found in older battery technologies, however the battery packs in EVs are more complex and often comprised of multiple individual batteries packed together into removable modules.
Battery balancing is about maximising your battery capacity and evening out the charge distribution. Modern EV battery packs include an automatic battery balancing component, but there are steps that you can take to help the process along.
While you may never need the maximum range that your battery can provide and you may never take long trips, a periodic range or max charge is helpful to your battery management system.
Consider doing this every 3 months or so and keep in mind that after you fully charge you should not let it sit,