How to extend your EV's battery life

Certain driving habits can extend an EVs battery life

Like all lithium-ion batteries, your electric vehicle (EV) battery will degrade over time. Despite this inevitability, it’s better for the vehicle – and ultimately the environment – if the battery is preserved as best as possible. This is the case whether you’re a driving instructor or a regular electric car driver.

The following are our top tips for preserving the longevity of your EV battery.

Tip #1: Avoid extreme temperatures

Exposure to extreme heat and extreme cold affect many materials adversely, and the EV’s battery is no exception.

Extreme heat is best avoided in storage and in use. But in particular, it’s better to keep the vehicle out of direct heat when parked. The battery’s thermal management system will cause the batteries to be drained, as the system keeps the temperature down for optimum efficiency. For this reason, on hot days, it’s advisable to park your EV in the shade. Alternatively, make sure it’s plugged in, so you’re using the grid rather than the battery.

Equally, the thermal management system will attempt to keep the battery at a comfortable temperature during cold snaps. When it’s especially cold, park it in a garage if you can, or keep it plugged in while not in use.

Tip #2: Don’t let the battery run flat

It probably comes as no surprise that letting your charge drain to 0% can be damaging to the battery. In fact, it’s best not to let the battery discharge below 20% really (known as deep discharging). But also…

Tip #3: Don’t overcharge your battery

While this may seem counter-intuitive, it’s actually better for the battery not to be charged to 100% frequently. While a full charge gives you the longest operating time, it can be detrimental to the battery’s overall lifespan. This is true of all lithium-ion batteries. Their capacity will reduce slightly each time you charge them over roughly 80%, or allow them to drop below 20%.

As such, it’s advisable not to leave it charging all night, every night. It’s best to keep it in the mid-ranges – for example, letting it drain to 25%, and then charging it to 75%.

This issue could ultimately be short-lived. By using smart chargers, for example, you will be able to tailor the right amount of charge according to your needs. In addition, manufacturers recognise this problem, and so now numerous EV models have a built-in buffer to stop the battery from getting to either 100% or 0% charge.

You can find out more about battery capacity (gross vs net) here.

Tip #4: Avoid rapid charging

If you’re in a hurry, there are obviously times when rapid charging is invaluable – especially if you’ve got a lot of miles to cover. However, it’s best to use rapid charging sparingly. High-voltage DC charging over a short period puts a strain on your EV battery.

This may not be apparent immediately, but extending battery life is a long game. Over time, it’s estimated that using standard charging gives you 10% greater battery life than the same amount of fast charging. As such, it’s worth slow charging your EV if possible – particularly in cold weather.

Tip #5: Let your battery cool before charging

If you’ve given your EV a good run, it’s best not to charge it the moment you stop. It’s better for the battery to let it cool down before plugging in.

Tip #6: Ease off the accelerator

Finally, driving at slower speeds will ultimately help your battery’s longevity. The quicker you drive, the faster the battery drains – which isn’t good for its lifespan. Over time, keeping it slow and steady will help to increase your battery life.

Are you a driving instructor with range anxiety? Find out here if your EV’s charge will last a whole day.