Electric cars seem to be the new go-to when people choose to hand in their old vehicle and replace it with a newer model.
While they come along with a variety of benefits, you do have to do your research into how to get the most out of them – including how to charge it.
Today we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about charging your new electric car and answer the question ‘should I charge my electric car to 100%?’
The optimum state of charge for an electric vehicle
In normal use, electric vehicles (EVs) should only be charged to between 20-80%- otherwise known as the optimum State of Charge (SOC).
Keeping batteries within this optimum state of charge will:
- Keep your batteries in the best condition possible
- Prolonging battery lifespans for up to 10-20 years
Routinely charging to 100%, or letting the battery drop to 20% or less, can contribute to an increased likelihood of damage due to the stress that an extremely high or low SOC places on the battery system.
These stressful high or low SOCs only bring minor levels of damage to the battery, but the accumulated damage can contribute to decreased battery capabilities.
As a result of this decreased battery life, your EV will need to be recharged more frequently, creating further problems.
How to optimise your electric car’s battery life
To keep your electric car battery in tip-top condition, there are a few things you should do.
Maintain the optimum state of charge
Keeping your battery charged between 20- 80% will help the battery last as long as possible and will keep it in the best of health.
Stay away from extreme temperatures
Very high temperatures will force the automated temperature control system to function, draining the battery unnecessarily.
This decreases the charge of the lithium-ion batteries.
To counteract this, try to park your car in cool, shaded spaces.
Minimise fast charging
Although very convenient for the driver, fast charging pushes more current into the battery in a shorter period of time, which strains the battery and causes them to wane faster.
Kia estimates that eight years of standard charging will give 10% more battery life versus eight years of fast charging.
Control charge levels during storage
Charging the battery to 100% before taking it off the road will lead to a battery struggle as the car tries to maintain a full charge while stationary.
Car manufacturers will have a minimum charge level that they recommend charging up to prior to storage. This information can be found in the vehicle handbook.
If unsure, you are much better leaving the car between 25-75% which will allow the main battery to regularly recharge the 12-volt battery that controls the car’s accessories. This will ensure it starts quickly when used again while also stopping potential damage to the battery.
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To charge your electric car properly, you will need a safe, reliable, and high-quality charging cable.