Electric cars are an excellent alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars because they offer several advantages, such as reduced emissions, lower operating costs, and a smooth driving experience. However, there are several myths and misconceptions about electric cars, and one of the most common is that they lose charge when parked. In this blog, I am going to explain the concept and factors that affect battery life.
Do Electric Cars Lose Charge When Parked?
Electric cars do not lose charge when parked. When an electric car is parked and turned off, its battery management system enters a sleep mode to conserve energy.
It is true that this battery management system uses a small amount of energy to maintain the battery’s charge level. Still, this amount is negligible and does not significantly impact the battery’s overall range.
However, if an electric car is parked for an extended period, such as several weeks or months, the battery may lose charge due to self-discharge.
Self-discharge is the natural process by which the battery loses charge over time, even when not in use. The rate of self-discharge depends on several factors, such as the battery’s age, chemistry, temperature, and state of charge. The good news is that modern electric car batteries have a low self-discharge rate, so their charge loss is minimal over short periods.
According to a study, an electric car’s parasitic loads, which include the car’s monitor, sensors, and other electronics, use about 0.2 kWh to 0.3 kWh of power per day when parked. It means about 6kWh to 9 kWh of power per month. However, please note that these are only estimates, and the amount of power used may vary depending on the car’s settings and how long it remains parked.
Now the question that comes to your mind is how much does it cost? According to the research of The AFDC, a resource of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office showed that.
“The fuel efficiency of an EV may be measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles. To calculate the cost per mile of an EV, the cost of electricity (in dollars per kWh) and the efficiency of the vehicle (how much electricity is used to travel 100 miles) must be known. If electricity costs ¢10.7 per kWh and the vehicle consumes 27 kWh to travel 100 miles, the cost per mile is about $0.03.”
Factors Affecting Electric Car Battery Life When Parked
While electric cars do not lose charge when parked, several factors may affect their battery life. These include:
Temperature is one of the most significant factors affecting electric car battery life when parked. High temperatures cause the battery to degrade faster, reducing its overall capacity. Similarly, low temperatures increase the battery’s internal resistance, decreasing its efficiency and reducing its range. Do you want to park your car for a few weeks? Please park the EV in a cool area to minimize the effects of temperature on the battery.
State of Charge
The state of charge is another critical factor that affects electric car battery life when parked. Storing the battery at a high state of charge for extended periods causes the battery to degrade faster, reducing its overall capacity. Therefore, experts suggest keeping the electric cars’ battery with a low state of charge, ideally between 40% and 60%.
Do you know that the battery’s capacity decreases over time? This capacity loss accelerates as the battery ages. If you find a degradation in battery performance after five years, you should replace it with a new one.
Parasitic load refers to the energy consumed by the car’s electronic systems and accessories. Electronic systems such as sound systems, LED screens, and air conditioners consume energy even when the car is parked. This energy consumption usually drains the battery over time, reducing its overall capacity.
How to Preserve Electric Car Battery Life When Parked?
I understand an electric car is a significant investment, and the battery is the crucial component that requires proper care and maintenance to ensure longevity and optimal performance. When electric cars are parked for an extended period, you should remember the following best practices to preserve battery life.
Park the Car in Shade
After reading the previous segment, you have understood that temperature is one of the most significant factors affecting electric car batteries and performance. I understand it is not possible to park the car in the shade. Please remember the suggestion that when you park your EV around a shopping mall, keep the car under a shade.
Maintain a Low State of Charge
Storing the battery at a high state of charge for a long time causes battery degradation. It is essential to store electric cars with a low state of charge (ideally between 40% and 60%). When you park a car in your residential premises for the next few weeks, you must find shade for it. Moreover, you should check the battery level. Experts also suggest charging the battery before using it again.
Switch off the Accessories that may Consume Energy
Parasitic load refers to the energy consumed by the car’s accessories, so you should avoid draining the batteries by switching off such accessories when parked.
Use a Battery Maintenance Device or Charger
Interestingly! Now you can use a battery maintenance device or charger to control the battery recharge level. Do you know this device is designed to keep the battery’s charge at a specific level? It also prevents self-discharge rate and fully charges the battery when the car is ready to use.
Drive the Car Regularly
If you are reading a few articles on EVs, you have come across some suggestions like ‘electric car batteries are designed to be used regularly.’ Indeed, I agree with it, so I request you to drive it for a short distance at least twice a week to optimize the battery’s health and performance.
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Meet Rohan, a writer who loves to inspire and motivate others. He’s all about those feel-good quotes that can light up your day! When he’s not crafting words of encouragement, Rohan dives into the world of the latest technologies, exploring what’s new and exciting. But that’s not all—his heart beats for solar products, the kind that harness the power of the sun for a greener future. And guess what? He’s a total pet lover too! When he’s not busy writing, you’ll find Rohan surrounded by his furry friends, spreading joy and cuddles all around. Follow Rohan on Twitter and Facebook