Understanding your cars battery
An EVs or PHEVs battery lives can be affected by many things, which is why it is important to understand what can harm it. EV Manufactures do provide warranties against excessive charge capacity loss, however some of these warranties are better than others, as some cover batteries to a certain level of lost over a set period of time and some only cover complete failure.
Please note driving a full EV is a dramatic learning experience and the power consumption is determined by many things; outside temperature, driver behaviour, weight, load on the battery from ancillary items such as, but not limited to, Electric motor management, cabin heating, seat heating, interior lighting, exterior lighting, wipers, braking, external device charging and ICE. There are therefore many contributory factors that affect electric vehicle power consumption, most controlled by the driver. The EV range stated is a guide only and is wholly dependent on operating conditions and like fuel consumption in a petrol or diesel model will vary dramatically from driver to driver. The manufacturer published stated ranges are performed under test conditions and may not reflect real world driving.
What affects battery life?
The battery reaching high temperatures - this could be from excess heat from charging or the temperature outside the vehicle causing it to over heat.
Overcharging - this is combated by the vehicles and chargers, as they will not keep sending power the vehicle once its reached its max charge.
Allowing the battery to reach empty and fully recharging - it is best to charge your vehicle as often as possible for shorter periods of time to reduce damage to battery.
Tips for maintaining your vehicles battery
Avoid extreme hot or cold temperatures.
If leaving your vehicle for a long period of time, set a charge level to 50% and leave it plugged in.
Don't leave you battery sitting at 100% state of charge as it is stressful for the battery, unplug it as soon as possible once it reaches 100% (some cars and charges will cut out power when it reaches this point).
Set pre engine heating/air conditioning, this is a setting some vehicles have, where you can set your vehicle to turn the heating on while it is still plugged in for set periods of time. This is better for the battery and you will get more range out of it, compared to running the car with the hearing or air conditioning on at the same time.
Charging Your Vehicle
At home and work
You can charge your electric vehicle through plugging into a standard 3 pin 230V wall outlet, this will take a long time to fully charge a vehicle, however another option is to have a Wall Box Charger installed at your house or workplace. These can provide power from 3.6kW up to 22kW depending on the charger you have installed.
In public charging stations such as motorway service station, you can find rapid chargers that can provide from 50kW to 150kW of power, through networks such as Polar and Charge You Car. Rapid chargers can charge most EVs, in 30 to 60 minutes.*
*Rapid chargers speeds are reduced once the battery reaches 80% to reduce damaging the battery.
One Speed Transmissions
One of the big differences is that most EVs only operate in drive mode (one speed) and instead of changing gear, more torque is provided to the motors. However drivers can adjust the amount of power available when accelerating using different pre-set modes.
EVs and some PHEVs make use of regenerative breaking. This is when the kinetic energy created by stopping the vehicle, is converted back to electric and stored back in the battery to be used to power the vehicle. This means the more smoothly you drive, the more range you will get out of the battery, this is especially useful in city centre driving.
In a standard ICE vehicle, it can take many revs to get to maximum power/torque, however an electric vehicle has access to almost all of its torque from stand still. This mean EVs have superior acceleration compared to an equivalent ICE vehicle.
No Engine Noise
The most notable difference compared to a ICE, is that electric vehicle do not output any natural noise in the running of the vehicle. The only natural noise that a EV emits is the very quite spinning of the motor. This was deemed dangerous to other road users by the NHTSA in America and the EU in Europe, thus from 2019 all EVs are required to emit warning noises when the car is in motion.
Advisory Fuel Rates
For Advisory Fuel Rates from 1st September 2019 hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are at the same rate of ICEs and electric vehicles at 4 pence per mile. However electricity is not a fuel for car fuel benefit purposes.