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Is battery longevity a legitimate concern? You bet it is.

With plug-in vehicles, their unproven battery technology could be the cause for constant worry among individuals, first among them the owners. Sure, lengthy warranties are attached to most plug-ins, but are there simple techniques to ensure that your electric ride doesn't run low on go-power anytime soon? Well, our buds over at Plugin Cars came up with eight simple tips that should go a long way to extend battery life. They are:
  • Avoid full charging when you can.
  • For pure electric vehicles, avoid deep discharging your battery pack.
  • For plug-in hybrids, consider "mountain-mode" or exiting EV-mode at key times.
  • Use timers to minimize the time spent at a high state of charge.
  • On a hot day, try to park in the shade. During the winter, park in a garage, rather than on the street.
  • If your electric vehicle has thermal management and the weather is extreme, plug in whenever you can.
  • Plan ahead for periods of extended storage.
  • To maximize battery life, minimize use of DC quick-charge.
Check out Plugin Cars for a detailed discussion on why these techniques should make for a battery that keeps going and going and... Of course, it's recommended that you always refer to your owner's manual before following any of the suggestions listed above.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 4 Months Ago
      These are actually high quality tips. I know i talk some crap about you Eric, but high five for this one. Lithium batteries are happiest at mid-levels of charge. They also don't like you to charge them at really high rates. An electric car should be designed to lop off the top 5-10% of the battery capacity to keep the fully charged voltage per cell low ( 4.10-4.15v versus 4.2v for non-lifepo4 chemistries ) An electric car should also be designed to not accept a quick DC charge above what it's batteries' comfortable charging C rate is. So these tips are helpful for the first batch of electric cars, or some that are designed poorly. But in the future it should be mindless plug and play.. especially if lithium Titanate batteries take off.. with their bazillion cycle life..
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 4 Months Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        These tips are fine and dandy but I do real world soccer mom mentality if such a thing exists. Brain less is how I run my pack. Don't care about taking care of the pack. My controller will only discharge at 280 amps so no big discharge amps there. Usually the car is never run to the end of the pack except for checking range. I plug in all the time so I am on the top of the pack, so if I am hurting the pack by having a full charge, then I am hurting the pack. Hell with babying the pack. The folks in the OEVA say you always go through your first pack quickly but they were referring to acid lead. We will see how it works for lithium. Since I don't have fast charging capabilities yet, no problems there. They way the car is set up I think it will go 2,500 cycles and still have 80 capacity. Consider I go 145 miles on one charge in summer and 120 in winter, that equals more than 300,000 miles so who cares.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 4 Months Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          That's cool. You have lifepo4 batteries so they're definitely a different ball of wax than what comes with these cars you see from major manufacturers. Yeah, lifepo4 will actually take a good amount of abuse and still deliver the cycles. Soccer mom it all day :)
      Smith Jim
      • 4 Months Ago
      From the Plugincars.com article, "...With modern plug-in vehicles, you can simply plug them in anytime and drive it any way that you see fit and you should still have batteries that perform well in 10 years. The manufacturers already build in precautions so you cannot overcharge, over-discharge, or over heat. These are the biggest impacts to lifespan..." Most of us who read ABG already know this. I worry about the average person reading only the headlines and concluding that EVs are not well engineered to maximize battery life.
        JakeY
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Even with those built in precautions (which prevent disastrous mistakes and things that might cut your battery life in half for example), most EVs give you enough flexibility in terms of charge state (esp. BEVs) that your charging habits can still have a significant impact on your battery life. It may mean the difference between having 60% capacity left after 10 years or 70% left after 10 years under the exact same driving usage (just different charging habits). The car will still perform the same in terms of power (that's what the 8 or 10 year battery warranty for pretty much all manufacturers actually guarantees) but there's usually no written guarantee for capacity (like how many percent capacity left after x years).
      • 4 Months Ago
      Just makes life more complicated and expensive
      • 4 Months Ago
      I only charge my leaf to 80% as it recommends in my service manual, to optomize the long life scenario for the batteries. Nissan built in a buffer at both ends to help take out the guess work for most people. You just plug in and never worry about it, except the timers are set to only charge to 80%. The middle SOC is what everyone should shoot for, but then again after 8 years the batteries should be replaced for new ones that will at least double the range. So, I'm not too worried about "optimizing" the battery SOC....even though I charge to 80% daily.
      EZEE
      • 4 Months Ago
      Don't charge it fully and don't discharge it fully either? Wtf?
        Chris M
        • 4 Months Ago
        @EZEE
        It depends on the battery chemistry, of course. For most LiIon batteries, that means keeping it between 85% and 35% of maximum State of Charge. For lead acid, best to keep it near maximum charge.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 4 Months Ago
      that seems more or less true but it's too simple information in that people might conclude that 'normal' use is really hurting batteries. that's not the case. and I'm not sure that avoiding the cold is necessary for longevity but I don't really know. it might get a bit sluggish if cold and a car like the Leaf might use battery power to stay warm so that might be what they mean. that car itself should limit the charge to around 95% for longevity, other than that it should not be a concern although it seems to be true that the closer you stay to middle charge the longer it lives but that quickly becomes too restrictive and shouldn't be worried about. similarly it shouldn't be run totally flat but again the car has to restrict that as well so not a concern. avoiding quick charge seems like bad advice. you may not want to use it exclusively but whenever you need it is fine. from the data I have seen the occasional quick charge makes no difference in life. same with discharge. you would have to be drifting to work every day for high discharge to reduce life noticably
        EZEE
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        See? More flies with sugar... :D
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 4 Months Ago
          @EZEE
          that's bs but feel free to do better than me. show me how it's done
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        That's all fair enough, and those who seem to habitually downrate Dan should perhaps exercise more care and only do so for those of his comments which are ill-advised or overly repetitive and uninformative.
      HVH20
      • 4 Months Ago
      I disagree with "dont keep batteries full." What it should read is "don't overcharge your batteries."
      leong
      • 4 Months Ago
      the first two are more like the tips to the engineers who design the battery management system rather than to the end users. batteries have to be occasionally fully charged and fully discharged to calibrate the soc computation algorithms. here fully charged means 4.0v for non lifepo4, at 4.0v, the soc is read as 100%. similar situation for the 0%, it's already counted in.
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