The battery of an electric car is a complex element, which constitutes one third of the value of an Electric Vehicle (EV). It is therefore important to take care of it. But before doing so, it is essential to understand how and why the battery loses its range.
What factors contribute to the ageing of an electric car battery?
First of all, some factors are specific to the vehicle itself, the make and model. These include the chemical composition of the battery, the cooling system used and the way the SOC (State Of Charge) is controlled. Please see our article Electric Cars: How long do batteries last? for more information.
External factors can also contribute to battery degradation, including weather conditions. Indeed, electric car batteries tend to age more quickly when they are operated in an environment where the climate is extreme. It is therefore strongly advised not to drive for more than 5 days a year at more than 27°C or less than -5°C.
Finally, the ageing of the batteries can be explained by the conditions of use and storage of electric cars. Thus, cyclic ageing indicates the degradation of the battery when the electric vehicle is used. Conversely, calendar ageing refers to the degradation of the battery when the car is at rest. We have written a comprehensive article on the aging of traction batteries, which we invite you to read.
Best practices to adopt with your electric car to optimize battery life
The first reflexes to adopt quickly concern recharging your electric vehicle.
Using rapid charging, when your electric car allows it, is tempting. Your vehicle recharges faster, and you can be back on the road in no time. Nevertheless, many studies show that repeated use of quick charging reduces the life of traction batteries. We therefore advise you to limit this type of recharging as much as possible.
In addition, other good practices should be taken into account. We advise not to let the battery discharge completely, you can start charging at 20%. Nor should you charge your vehicle to 100% (except for a long journey). Instead, the manufacturers recommend a partial charge, i.e. up to 80%.
To counter the cyclical ageing of the battery as much as possible, you must be vigilant about the conditions of use of your electric vehicle. This applies in particular to sporty driving, which should be avoided, as well as high speeds on motorways. We recommend that you do not exceed 110 km/h.
Concerning calendar ageing, it is important that your electric car is stored in good conditions. Make sure to park your vehicle in the shade when the climate is hot, and do not leave the car at rest for too long when the charge level is high. If you do not use your electric vehicle for a long period of time, park it in a cool place with a charge level of about 60%.
Maintenance and servicing costs of an electric car
Electric cars contain 60% fewer parts than their thermal counterparts. As a result, maintenance is simplified. It is also cheaper: 30 to 40% less than a thermal car.
There are some common elements between electric and combustion engine vehicles that need to be maintained: shock absorbers, transmission, tyres and brakes. What is different, however, concerns the electric motor as well as the battery of the electric car.
The battery does not require daily maintenance, but where possible, you can request a reprogramming of the BMS (Battery Management System). This will allow the software to control and protect the battery in an optimal way.
When the battery of an electric car deteriorates, there are several signs that can alert you to the problem.
First of all, a longer recharging time indicates premature ageing of the traction battery. Second, a maximum full charge autonomy that is lower than the original autonomy is also a sign of degradation. Finally, the SOH (State Of Health) provides information on the state of health of the traction battery. It is estimated that the battery is at the end of its life when the SOH is between 70 and 80%.
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