Optimal Charging Practices for Extending Your EV Battery’s Life

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Optimal Charging Practices for Extending Your EV Battery's Life

Navigating the world of electric vehicle (EV) charging might seem daunting as a new EV owner, but here’s what you need to know. Surprisingly, the majority of EV charging—around 80-90%—happens at home. Yet, it’s common for drivers to also charge their vehicles at various places like work, restaurants, or gyms to keep their battery levels topped up.

Contrary to what one might assume, it’s not advisable to charge your EV to 100% or let it deplete to 0%. Doing so can harm the battery’s longevity. EVs operate optimally when their battery charge is maintained between 15% and 85%, a range usually managed by the vehicle’s software. The duration and extent of charging also depend on the charger type you use.

Level 1 Chargers

If you’ve got a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), you’re likely to find the Level 1 charger cord that comes with your EV sufficient for your needs. Both PHEVs and fully electric vehicles (EVs) can use Level 1 (1.1kW) or Level 2 (6.6kW) chargers. Touchstone Energy Cooperatives notes that charging an EV to full capacity with a Level 1 charger can take up to 20 hours, typically providing 4-5 miles of range per hour. The appeal of Level 1 chargers lies in their ease of installation; simply plug them into a standard 110-volt, 15-amp wall outlet and you’re set. Given the lengthy charging time, most drivers use this option overnight.

However, the slow pace of Level 1 charging leads many EV owners, especially those with fully electric vehicles, to prefer the faster Level 2 home charging solution.

Maintaining your battery’s charge between 85%-90% is the optimal range to ensure its longevity.

Level 2 Chargers

Level 2 Chargers, needing 208/240 volts and 40-85 amps, can replenish your EV with 20-65 miles of range per hour. For home installation, a 32-50amp Level 2 charger can be set up in your garage, either using a NEMA 14-50 plug or by having it hardwired by an electrician. If you’re not in a single-family home or can’t install a Level 2 charger yourself, there’s no need to worry. Commercial Level 2 chargers are widely available in various public locations like parking garages, workplaces, healthcare facilities, gyms, shopping centers, restaurants, and more. To find the nearest EV charging station, apps like Blink Mobile are incredibly handy.

Just like visiting a gas station, EV owners often use public chargers to “top off” their battery a few times a week, ensuring they never run too low. This habit can be likened to keeping a prepaid phone charged: you add more charge (or minutes) whenever possible, rather than waiting for it to completely deplete.

Living the Electric Vehicle Life

Embracing the EV ownership means getting into the habit of charging your car in short bursts. Got some time while shopping at the mall? Plug it in for thirty minutes. Dining out? Do the same.

Worried about harming your battery by overcharging? Follow these simple guidelines to maximize its lifespan: keep the charge between 85-90%, avoid letting the battery completely deplete, steer clear of parking in extreme heat for prolonged periods, and use Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) sparingly.

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