Insights / 5 ways to maximise your EV battery’s lifespan

5 ways to maximise your EV battery’s lifespan

29th November 2021

As drivers switch from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) to electric vehicles (EVs), we’re seeing steady progress on the decarbonisation of the automotive sector.

EVs made up 15% of all new vehicle registrations in October 2021; up from just 6.6% of all new vehicle sales in 2020. And manufacturers are striving to produce an experience that matches or betters that of a traditional ICE vehicle.

EV batteries are a long-term investment, with most guaranteed for up to 100,000 miles and a predicted lifespan of up to ten years - more than an average ICE. And while some drivers have been concerned about range, the average EV range is around 190 miles on a full charge, which exceeds the needs of the majority of Fleet Managers.

With that in mind, there are some differences between maximising your mileage with an EV compared to an ICE.

Plan for the weather

Just like ICEs, EVs can be affected by the weather. Some climate conditions are better than others for maintaining efficient performance.

Cold weather causes the batteries to expend more power. This is due to the battery warming both itself and the passenger cabin up. This won’t hamper your journey, but extreme conditions may see you notice range reduction.

The ideal temperature for EVs is around 21.5C. According to one study, this would offer an expected range of 115%. More extreme conditions could impact range more severely; at temperatures above 40c and -5c, efficiency would drop by around 25%. These temperatures are extremely rare now but could become more regular if the climate crisis worsens.

To maximise efficiency, drivers can pre-condition their battery before driving on a cold morning. Running the engine briefly before setting off ensures the battery’s able to achieve better efficiency despite the temperature. Manufacturers are looking to standardise automatic pre-conditioning based on programmable departure times.

If possible, opt for heated seats and steering wheels for passenger warmth. This directly heats the passengers instead of heating fans which circulate around the cabin.

Aim for 20-80% charge

Like any battery, over or undercharging is detrimental to its efficiency over time. By keeping it in the sweet spot that is 20-80%, you can ensure that the charge remains at its most efficient over time. Only if you’re embarking on a long trip should you consider charging to 100%.

Faster doesn’t mean better

While charging at the fastest speed sounds appealing, rapid chargers (50-350 kW) can place extra demand on the battery, reducing its lifetime.

Some fleet operators require their drivers to use rapid chargers to meet business needs and use their infrastructure but, in many cases, these chargers are faster than actually needed. Explore your options; a ‘fast’ charger running between 7-22 kW is often more than adequate, and less likely to cause battery issues over time.

Know the route before you set off

Much like an ICE, higher speeds deplete your ‘tank’ at a faster rate. This is something to consider for A roads and motorway driving to ensure operational efficiency isn’t compromised. Faster speeds mean more regular charging which in turn leads to a depreciated lifespan for your EV battery.

Try to keep your speed constant

A key feature of EVs is regenerative braking. This takes the vehicle’s energy from its motion and converts it into electricity. Letting your foot off the accelerator’s more efficient than braking. The electric motor becomes a generator, sending reverse torque to the front wheels, which slows the car down much like engine braking in an ICE would.

This returns up to 10% back to the battery, or as much as 30 % if downhill, but also preserves your vehicle’s battery life.

EV batteries keep going longer than you think

The lifespan of a well-maintained and managed battery already exceeds that of an ICE equivalent and, as technology progresses, this will only extend the ten years that manufacturers will guarantee.

After the battery is no longer efficient for a vehicle it can be broken down into smaller cells and have a second life, potentially as power storage in domestic or commercial buildings.

Taking care of your fleet and maintaining the batteries in your vehicles can lead to rewards you can reap over the years. This means that making the switch from a fleet of ICE to EV financially, not just environmentally, the right decision.

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Whether you’re a fleet, facilities, or energy manager, we can support your journey to a more electric future. To learn more about our end-to-end electrification offering - including My Electric Vehicles - get in touch.

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