Electric cars have gained popularity in recent years due to their eco-friendliness, but the cost is still a significant barrier. Many people prefer EVs over gasoline cars because they are quieter and have lower emissions than traditional vehicles. However, many drivers wonder whether electric cars use energy while idling. In this blog, I am going to explain different factors that affect energy consumption when parked.

What is Idling in Electric Cars?

Idling is when a vehicle’s engine is running, but the car is not in motion. In traditional cars, the engine runs continuously when the car is idling, and it consumes fuel/battery.

However, in electric cars, the motor consumes battery power even when your favorite EV is idling.

Do Electric Cars Use Energy While Idling?

The short answer is yes, electric cars do use energy while idling, but the amount of energy consumed is relatively lower compared to gas-powered cars. When an electric car is idling, it still needs to power its accessories, such as air conditioning, heating, and entertainment systems. It means that the car’s battery will continue to discharge at a slower rate!

Is there any solution? Yes, I’ll give you some suggestions too.

Do Electric Cars Use Energy While Idling

How to Minimize Battery Power Usage While Car Idling

While electric cars use relatively lower energy while idling, you can reduce that amount too! It is a good idea to minimize idling time whenever possible. Here are some tips to help you reduce energy consumption while idling:

Turn off Accessories

If you are idling for more than a minute, consider turning off the car’s accessories, such as air conditioning or heating. It will definitely help reduce the car’s energy consumption.

Use Eco-mode

Many electric cars come with an eco-mode feature that reduces energy use while idling. Do you know this feature automatically turns off accessories when the car is stopped? Consider this mode when you are keeping your car idle.

Park under a Shade

I understand it is not possible to find shade when you park a car around a shopping mall. However, a parked car often consumes power at a lower rate, but parking your favorite electric car under a shade helps to reduce the power consumption.

Please remember that such a change does not significantly impact the overall performance.

Use a Timer

Some electric cars come with a timer feature that allows you to preheat or pre-cool the car’s interior before you get in. It reduces the battery usage to cool down or heat up the car while idling.

Factors Affecting Electric Car Power Consumption While Idling

Several factors affect the energy consumption of an electric car while idling. These include:

HVAC Systems

The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is one of the biggest energy consumers in electric cars. When an electric car is idling, the HVAC system continues to operate and uses energy to maintain the interior temperature.

Battery Management Systems

The battery management system (BMS) in an electric car continuously monitors the battery’s state of charge and temperature. It also maintains the battery’s health and performance by ensuring that each cell is charged and discharged correctly. The BMS uses a small amount of power even when the car is idling.


Accessories such as radios, speakers, and lights consume power even when the car is idling. Some of these accessories may also consume more power than others, and it affects the car’s overall energy consumption while idling.

How Much Energy Do Electric Cars Use While Idling?

The amount of energy consumed by an electric car while idling depends on several factors, including the ones mentioned above.

Electric cars may consume slightly more energy while idling than when parked because the car’s electronics are active. However, the energy consumed by an electric car while idling is generally negligible compared to the energy consumed while driving.

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 6 kWh to 9 kWh of power per month. However, please note that all these are only an estimate, and the actual 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 research by 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.”



Want to Reduce Energy Consumption While Car Idling?

It is a good idea to reduce energy consumption while idling in an electric car. Some of these include:

Turning off HVAC Systems

If you are idling your electric car and do not need to use the HVAC system, turning it off reduces energy consumption.

Turning off Accessories

Turning off accessories such as radios and lights when they are not needed also helps reduce energy consumption.

Using Smart Charging

Some electric cars have smart charging systems that allow you to control the car’s charging schedule. By using these systems, you can schedule your car’s charging when energy is cheaper, and it reduces your overall energy consumption ‘cost.’

I hope you understand how the system works during the idling. You cannot avoid car idling, but you can control the overall energy consumption during that time. Please remember the above things next time when you park your electric car.

Do you want to learn more about it? Please read my other blogs:

Does an Electric Car Lose Charge when Parked?

Is It Better to Buy Petrol or Electric Car?

Are Electric Cars Better than Normal Cars?

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