Here’s some things you should know about charging your electric car
“How often should I charge my electric car?”
This is a question we get asked a lot when we’re installing electric vehicle chargers.
Should you leave it charging overnight so it’s ready for the day ahead?
Or should you run it nearly empty and fully recharge it every time?
What about just topping up whenever you get the chance?
How long will it take to charge?
Something lots of electric vehicle manufacturers will do is tell you how long it takes to charge your battery from 0-80%.
Although it will mean you have to recharge more frequently, you don’t have to charge to 100% every time.
Here, we take a closer look at your electric vehicle battery, what can have an impact on it’s range, and how often you should be charging it.
What factors will impact my electric car’s battery?
There’s lots of factors that play a role in the capacity of your electric car’s battery and how much range you’ll get per charge:
The most obvious thing that will affect the range your EV battery gives is the size of the battery itself.
Smaller batteries have less charging capacity than bigger batteries – and therefore you won’t get as many miles out of smaller batteries.
The smallest batteries on the market today are around 30kWh, with bigger ones reaching around 100kWh.
As you can probably guess, the bigger batteries are more expensive and take longer to charge.
The time it takes to charge your car can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than 12 hours, but it all depends on the size of your car’s battery and the charging point you’re using.
A typical electric car with a 60kWh battery takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty to full when a 7kW charging point is used.
Freezing temperatures can have a detrimental effect on the capacity and efficiency of electric car batteries.
This is because, when the weather is cold, your electric car’s battery is using energy to heat itself up as well as power your car, so it will drain faster.
AAA tested the range effects of 20 degrees fahrenheit weather (about -6 celsius) on a few of the most popular electric vehicles.
They found the temperature alone reduced the battery’s range by about 10-12%.
Another determining factor in the range of an electric vehicle is the age and condition of the battery it’s fitted with.
You might have heard that EV batteries work and degrade in the same way your mobile phone does after a few years, but this simply isn’t true – for such an expensive long term investment, it wouldn’t be acceptable.
Recent progress in lithium-ion technology ensures that your car battery will have a long life, even after sustained use.
Car Magazine states that electric vehicle batteries are guaranteed to retain at least 70% of their capacity over a warranty period of eight years – but they’re usually designed to last for at least 12 years (1,500-2,000 charges).
This is a worst case scenario though, as it can take years for your battery to deteriorate by this much.
The weight of the car
The heavier the car, the more energy is required to move it.
This means the range is reduced when there are four passengers in your car, or if you have a heavy load in the trunk.
The impact on range is fairly moderate when using a smooth driving style, but it can become more noticeable if you’re frequently accelerating – especially at high speed.
Speed and driving style
Of course, the more driving you do, the more you’ll need to recharge your car.
Less obvious though is how the type of driving you do affects how often you need to recharge.
The faster you go, the more power you’ll use.
If you’re driving on a motorway consistently at 60mph, your range will be significantly lower than if you were consistently driving at 30mph.
If you’re fast on the accelerator and late on the brakes, this will also use up a lot more energy.
Condition of the tyres
If your tyres are in poor condition this will result in less efficiency.
Three factors that contribute to the quality of your tyres are tire quality, inflation and road conditions.
If you’re driving with tyres at the end of their life and the roads are wet for example, expect the range to slightly decrease.
Using under-inflated tyres will not only decrease performance, but it won’t be as efficient.
Poor tyre traction will not impact range as much as speed but it still plays a part in range loss.
Full charge or top-up charging?
This is a common question we get from customers when we’re installing their vehicle chargers.
The main concern is getting caught short when they’re driving if they’re not constantly charging their electric car to full overnight.
But if you charge to full capacity every time, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on your car’s battery and it will degrade much quicker than it normally would.
Most EV manufacturers actually recommend that you stick between 20-80% wherever you can, to help maximise your batteries longevity.
Can you ‘overcharge’ a battery?
Overcharging your EVs battery is possible – but it’s highly unlikely.
Just like your smartphone, your electric vehicle has technologies, like built-in battery management systems, that stop the car’s main battery pack from overcharging.
Even though today’s technology makes it safe to leave your car plugged in for long periods of time, if it happens repeatedly it can encourage battery degradation.
Problems come when you start leaving your car plugged in for extended periods of time frequently like overnight, every night, to make sure it’s fully charged for morning.
How do I choose the right EV charger for my car?
Selecting the right EV charger depends on a few things, including the vehicle itself, how fast you want (or need) it to charge, how much you’re willing to spend, where you want to put your charger, etc.
At Downtown Electrical we offer a selection of different electric vehicle chargers suitable for all sorts of models.
As experienced electricians in electric vehicle charging point installation, we always make sure to provide the highest quality services.
Request a quote from us and get started with your home EV charger installation today.