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Worried about EV battery degradation?

All electric vehicles batteries degrade, how concerned should you be? And what can you do about it!

Model S Centre Console Chargin - concerns of Battery Degradation

What Range Does An Electric Car Lose A Year

Electric car batteries degrade over time, a phenomenon referred to as “battery degradation.” This is a well-known issue with electric cars, and one that many people are curious about. Namely, how much range does an electric car lose a year?

The amount of range lost depends on a number of factors, including the make and model of the car, the age and condition of the battery, it’s climate and the way the car is driven.

Most electric car batteries lose between 3 and 5 percent of their range each year. So, if your electric car has a range of 100 miles, you can expect it to lose 3 to 5 miles of range each year, therefore…

Purchase a longer range EV car

This degradation is something to keep in mind when considering a used or even new electric car. If you plan to keep your car for a long time, you should consider a model with a longer range, so you won’t lose as much range over time. Conversely, if you plan to trade in your electric car within a few years, you may not need to worry as much about battery degradation.

What is the best EV car for battery long life

EV brand fans debate this a lot, but the answer is the make and model (so far) are running similar battery technologies – and they charge the same too, so realistically they degrade very much like the each other – this is a battle we are sure that one car company will claim in the years to come but there is nothing decisive to date.

One of the most important factors is the type of battery that is used in the electric vehicle. Some batteries are able to last longer than others. For example, lithium ion batteries are known for having a longer lifespan than other types of batteries.

Tesla Model S Charging at Home with Go Zero 7.4kw Optimus EV Charger

Mostly short trips or epic journeys?

If you are looking at buying an EV car then try to find out (if you can) how the electric car has been used. If the car has been used for for short trips, the battery will not last as long as it would if you use it for longer trips.

The batteries climate matters a lot

The climate of your electric vehicle (EV) car will have the most impact on the long-term battery life. Obviously, extreme temperatures will take their toll on the battery, but even moderate variations can have some impact.

In cold weather, the battery will have to work harder to generate heat for the car, and this can reduce its lifespan. In hot weather, the battery will discharge more quickly and may overheat.

In order to maximise the battery life, it is important to keep your car in the optimum temperature range. This will vary depending on the make and model of your EV, however in general, you should aim to keep your car’s temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C. You should also avoid leaving your car in direct sunlight or in a hot garage for long periods of time.

Even with our more turbulent extreme temperature moments, really in the UK, EV cars are very well suited, it’s rarely too hot for too long and more often than not snow is only around for a few weeks, so long term EV battery life in the UK is good; so perhaps avoid imports from Antarctica or Brazil.

How your EV is driven (little old lady or speed demon!)

How your electric car has been driven to date matters a lot! Especially when it comes to how much range it loses each year. If you drive your car in a very efficient way, you can reduce the amount of range that it loses. 

But, and it is a very big BUT, if you drive your car hard and fast (then it is certainly true of most batteries to date) you will lose MUCH more range each year.

Model S Tesla at Rapid Charger
Fast, Rapid & Superchargers are shown to have a negative impact on the long term health of the EV battery.

Does fast charging impact on EV Battery life

Most experts agree that fast charging does have some impact, but the extent of that impact is still unknown.

One thing that is known is that fast charging puts more stress on the battery than standard charging. This is because fast charging forces more current into the battery, which can heat it up and damage the cells.

So far, most studies have shown that fast charging does have a negative impact on battery life. One study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that fast charging reduced battery life by up to 40 percent. Another study by the Electric Power Research Institute found that fast charging can shorten battery life by as much as five years.

More research is needed to determine the full impact of fast charging on EV battery life. Until then, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid fast charging where possible and buy a home charger like the Optimus EV Smart Charger and ensure you’re always topped up and support your batteries life whilst your saving money.

Does Car Age Effect EV Battery life more than milage?

Once again (and we’re sorry, but we are collating the data here) there is no definitive answer to this question since there are so many variables that can affect battery life, from the type of battery to the way it’s used and maintained. However, many experts believe that the age of a car is a more significant factor in battery life than the number of miles it’s driven.

That’s because the more a battery is used, the more it wears out. And while a battery’s lifespan will also depend on the climate in which it’s used, older batteries will generally have a shorter lifespan than newer batteries, even in the same climate.

This is due, in part, to the fact that car makers are always looking for ways to improve battery technology. So newer batteries have more advanced features – and longer lifespans – than older batteries.

So if you’re thinking about buying an electric car, it’s important to consider the age of the vehicle as well as the number of miles it’s been driven. And if you already own an electric car, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the age of its battery and replace it when it starts to show signs of wear.

EV car battery degradation research

A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) offers some reassuring news for EV drivers: Over the typical lifetime of an electric vehicle, its battery will degrade by only about 20 percent (overall). There are a range of factors that can impact this (see above).

The NREL study, “Life-Cycle Assessment of Plug-In Electric Vehicles,” is one of the most comprehensive to date on the environmental impacts of electric vehicles. It examines all aspects of electric vehicle life cycles, from extracting and refining raw materials to manufacturing and operating the vehicles and recycling their batteries.

The study found that electric vehicles have lower environmental impacts than gasoline vehicles in all cases. They produce less global warming emissions, less air pollution, and less toxic waste.

The battery degradation issue is one of the few areas where electric vehicles have a higher environmental impact than gasoline vehicles. But even this impact is modest in comparison to the benefits of electric vehicles overall.

The 20 percent battery degradation figure is based on the assumption that a driver will keep an electric vehicle for 10 years. In reality, most drivers will keep their electric vehicles for longer than 10 years. So in reality, the battery degradation will be even less.

The bottom line is that electric vehicles offer significant environmental benefits, and their batteries degrade very slowly over time.

In conclusion – stay cool, drive smooth & keep it topped up!

In general, batteries degrade faster when they are exposed too high temperatures, so we are generally fine on that one the UK. 

They are impacted greatly by being discharged more deeply (below 20%) and charging and discharging also cause wear and tear on the battery cells, which can accelerate the rate of degradation, so realistically it is best to get a home charger and try to ensure you keep it topped up, did we mention our exceptional Optimus Home EV Car Charger yet? Well if we didn’t you really should consider getting one and make sure you top up your battery regularly – here are some of the other great benefits of the Optimus EV Charger here

Lastly drive it smoothly (rather than like you stole it). Now as a former petrol head (BMW M4) and motorbike rider (Yamaha R6) the idea of driving “smoothly” has never really been overly appealing. That is until I got my Tesla Model S. Now I don’t know if it’s because I know I can beat just about anything on the road in it, but I do drive more safely and calmly than before. Actually now I think about it, I suspect that the autopilot has quite a bit of input on my more sedate driving stance – that said if it helps the battery life then it’s more of a win-win.

Peter O'Brien
Author
Peter O'Brien

A former petrol head turned EV lover, "it's not all about the power but it helps"

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