All You Need To Know About EV Batteries

authorBy Avinaba

We've Created A Quick Guide For All Your Questions

There are many aspects to the subject of electric car batteries, including the different cell types and chemistries as well as the potential for future advancements, but it's unlikely that any consumer would choose an electric vehicle based on whether or not its battery pack uses, for example, cylindrical as opposed to pouch-style cells. So we'll focus on what current buyers and owners care about right now, as we usually try to do at Carweek.com.

Speaking of focus, consumers should have concerns regarding EV batteries, but these issues frequently center on the incorrect thing. Let us point you in the direction of the important topics.

Premature Death And Replacement

Customers rightly infer that electric cars battery packs are expensive components that are prohibitively expensive to replace, yet there is a misperception that they will eventually break down. There is little doubt that their price would force the normal owner to abandon the vehicle entirely rather than change a battery pack. The used-car market will gladly restore such components and resale the cars if their owners give them up, but most people won't bother having a conventional vehicle's engine or transmission rebuilt, even though it's a cheaper endeavor than battery replacement. 

Complete battery pack failure is uncommon though. After hearing the same worries about gas-electric hybrids for 20 years, we discovered the same issue. Additionally, as mandated by law, electric vehicles must come with powertrain warranties covering at least 100,000 miles or eight years; therefore, in the case of a failure, the battery should be covered for the first owner (used-EV buyers should always make sure the warranty transfers to them before buying). For this reason, as well as the ones following, battery death is not something you need to be concerned about unless you're buying a secondhand EV or are someone who insists on owning a car for decades.

Getting Older Ensures Range Loss

The fact that all rechargeable batteries lose capacity with time and with use, even if you use them properly, is something that all EV buyers and owners should be aware of and even concerned about. For what it's worth, the majority of contemporary EVs are built to function properly so that your car never acts like a two-year-old smartphone, and there are even more things a driver can do (more on that below). However, a battery's capacity, which determines the car's range, will inevitably decrease over time.

Extreme Temperatures Destroy Range... in Various Ways

It's no accident that warmer climates have seen the greatest uptake of EVs. In colder climates, their range temporarily decreases. That includes all-electric vehicles.

The benefit of typical winter cold is that it has only transient effects on battery capacity. On the other hand, high temperatures may hasten the loss of capacity. The fact that there are so many factors at play makes the degree of this phenomenon, despite its widespread knowledge, less well understood. The battery depreciation of an EV in a temperate region is less than a quarter of a percent less after four years, according to Geotab statistics. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Geotab divides hot and temperate climates based on the number of days that average 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above. 

Or perhaps it's because practically all EVs on the market now features active thermal management, which keeps the battery pack healthy and effective, especially while plugged in to charge. This involves liquid cooling (and frequently heating) of the battery pack. 

Fast DC Charging Shortens Battery Life

Almost without exception, EV manufacturers offer public DC rapid charging (also known as Level 3), however, they advise against using it excessively to avoid premature capacity loss. Once more, the term "sparingly" is ill-defined, and precise figures for the potential degradation are hard to come by. The most conclusive data critics have seen came from Kia, which linked DC rapid charging to 10% degradation over eight years.

If true, 10% might not seem like much, but keep in mind that it would be added to any range reductions brought on by bad weather or other circumstances, in addition to typical capacity loss. Your EV's range will soon, at least briefly, be 30% less than it was when you bought it eight years earlier if you add 10% to 20% and some cold weather. 

People Also Read - Are Electric Cars More Environment Friendly?

How to Maintain Your EV's Range and Battery Capacity?

Fortunately, modern EVs are built to do some of these tasks automatically and to make others easier, so owners can take steps to assist preserve an EV's battery capacity.

1. Don't Charge Or Discharge Fully

The key to long battery life is not to use its full capacity, at least not all the time. Vehicles already do some of this themselves, which is why you might find two capacity specifications, in kilowatt-hours, for the same battery pack — such as gross and net or nominal and usable, where the first number is higher. The automaker maintains a buffer to ensure longer life and as a hedge against range loss. What you can do as an owner is not run your battery below a 10% state of charge unless you have to and not charge above 80 or 90% on a regular basis. Most EVs let you set a level at which the car will stop charging for this reason. For longer trips, you simply override the limit and charge fully.

What you can do as the owner is avoid running your battery below a 10% state of charge unless absolutely necessary and avoid regularly charging it above 80 or 90%. For this reason, most EVs allow you to customize the level at which the vehicle will stop charging. You just override the cap and charge fully for longer journeys.

Also Check: The Cost Of Charging An Electric Car

2. Keep It Cool

Although you may not be able to pick where you live or drive, you can choose where you park, and it is preferable to leave an electric vehicle (EV) in the shade or in a cool garage if one is available. No matter where you park, by leaving the car plugged in, you can be confident that (for the majority of models), even in the worst weather, it will be able to cool itself using grid electricity.

3. Keep It Connected

As previously said, charging an EV to 100% does not necessarily entail leaving it plugged in. Depending on the model, it does enable preconditioning the cabin for comfort without reducing range, protecting the battery from extreme heat or cold. Additionally, it stops deep draining from inactivity, which can be more harmful to battery life than regularly using the battery until it is completely empty before recharging. Usually, sitting discharged for extended periods of time, sometimes repeatedly, is linked to the mysteriously disproportionate loss of range in electric vehicles (EVs) that appear to be relatively new and/or have low odometer readings.

The EV revolution has turned used-car-buying on its head because what looks like a peach on paper (a few years old with very low miles) could be one if it’s a conventional vehicle, but if it’s an EV, it might be a dud.

4. Use It

It appears there's no downside to running an EV hard, extending earlier cautions about not letting the battery deplete. As long as you're not engaging in harmful practices to achieve this, like frequently DC fast charging, Geotab reports that using an electric car to the fullest extent possible on a daily basis hasn't led to accelerated battery deterioration. Yes, the miles, charging and discharging all count, but frequent use does not carry any additional costs.

5. Avoid Shopping By Kilowatt-Hours

We advise against comparing battery kilowatt-hour specifications between models for the same reason we would advise against purchasing one SUV simply because it has a little bit more horsepower or a bigger petrol tank than another model. These parameters by themselves don't signify what they might seem to because there are so many other factors to consider, including weight, efficiency, and aerodynamics. If the first SUV is heavier, it might not accelerate as quickly, and if the second SUV has a bigger tank, it might not travel further between fill-ups. 

The battery specification example is the same, with perhaps one possible variation: when contrasting various models of the same vehicle rather than a Ford and a Tesla.

The differences should matter if a company offers a battery pack with a smaller and bigger capacity for the same EV. It's fairly probable that the "bigger" battery weighs more, but you can guarantee the carmaker took that into consideration else the upgrade wouldn't be very useful.

Always use bottom-line parameters when picking an EV, especially when contrasting various models. For acceleration, pay attention to the 0–60 mph timings rather than the motors' kilowatt (or horsepower) ratings. In order to avoid drawing assumptions based on the kWh ratings of two vehicles' batteries, always start with EPA-estimated range data.

Editor’s Note

Be sure to evaluate your alternatives based on the following criteria before shopping for EVs, we'll focus on what current buyers and owners care about right now, as we usually try to do at Carweek.com.

1. Incentives and Price

Which car to choose will be determined in large part by the car's pricing. The cost of electric vehicles is now fairly high, however, incentives may help defray the expense. Make sure to research the available incentives to see if you're eligible for any of them.

2. Performance

Never forget that electric vehicles behave differently than vehicles powered by gasoline. Thus, comparing them side by side may not provide the most accurate picture of how they function. Instead, go for a test drive to experience the vehicle. Electric vehicles have immediate torque that makes them feel quite powerful, in contrast to gasoline vehicles which take some time to accelerate. Pick the option that performs well while staying within your budget.

3. Size And Space

Consider how much room you'll need in a car. A family can require a larger vehicle than a single person. There is a perfect electric vehicle for you because they come in a wide variety of styles and dimensions.

4. The Battery

The most expensive component of an electric vehicle is the battery. The range of the car is also significantly impacted by it. Therefore, be sure to inquire about the battery while purchasing an electric vehicle. 

Learn how long it will last and what a replacement will cost. It's a smart idea to explore EV batteries to choose the one that best suits your requirements and your tastes while also being the greatest option currently available.

FAQS

Q. Do EV batteries lose range over time?

Ans: Lithium-ion battery packs lose a little portion of their overall capacity with each charge cycle. These incremental reductions in the battery pack's maximum capacity gradually reduce an EV's overall driving range.

Q. How do you preserve EV batteries?

Ans: Here are ways how you can extend EV battery life:

  • When parked, reduce exposure to very hot temperatures.
  • Reduce battery usage while it is fully charged.
  • Steer clear of quick charging.
  • Control the ideal battery charge level during extended storage.

Q. What makes an EV battery degrade the quickest?

Ans: Temperature, cycles, and time are the main causes of EV battery degradation. The lifespan of an EV battery is greatly influenced by storage and operation temperatures; generally speaking, warmer climes have a negative impact.

Q. How much range does an EV lose per year?

Ans: Early indications suggest that EVs generally lose range by roughly 2% to 3% annually, with some Teslas and Chevy Bolts having well over 100,000 miles (or perhaps 200,000 to 300,000 miles) on them. Or, if drivers frequently use fast charging, the loss can be more dramatic, according to some experts.

Q. What is the life expectancy of a battery in an electric car?

Ans: Batteries for electric vehicles typically last 10 to 20 years, however, some variables may shorten that time. For example, since heat does not work well with EVs, batteries may deteriorate more quickly in hotter climes.