Electric Vehicle Charging: Should You Stop at 90% or Go All the Way to 100% Every Night?

Electric Vehicle Charging: Should You Stop at 90% or Go All the Way to 100% Every Night?
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Title: Is Charging Your Electric Vehicle to 100% Every Night Really That Bad?

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Understanding Battery Degradation and Optimal Charging

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Battery degradation is a common concern among electric vehicle (EV) owners, especially when it comes to charging habits. Many EV manufacturers recommend charging the battery to around 90% instead of 100%, which may leave some drivers feeling like they are missing out on potential range. However, there's a good reason for this recommendation – lithium-ion batteries prefer to remain at a 50% state of charge (SOC). When the SOC is too high or too low, a film can develop on the anode and cathode, limiting their usable capacity and contributing to battery degradation.

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Charging your EV to 100% every night might not be as detrimental as leaving it in that state for extended periods. If you need extra range, consider timing the last bit of charging to reach 100% just before you're about to leave. This will help minimize the time your battery spends at full charge and reduce the risk of developing that harmful film on the anodes and cathodes. Remember that discharging close to 0% should also be avoided if possible, as it poses similar risks for your battery's health.

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Balancing Range Needs and Battery Health

Global EV Outlook 2020 – Analysis - IEA

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While it's true that charging to 100% provides more available range, most drivers don't require that additional distance daily. The recommended practice of charging to around 90% ensures that you have enough power for typical daily driving while preserving your battery's longevity. By following this guideline, you'll still have access to the remaining 10% when needed for longer trips or days with heavier driving demands. It's easy to adjust your charging rate accordingly based on your upcoming travel plans.

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Another factor to consider when deciding how much to charge your EV is the impact on regenerative braking. Charging to 100% can limit this feature, which could be a significant downside for some drivers. By keeping your battery at around 90%, you'll maintain optimal regenerative braking capabilities while still preserving its overall health.

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Tips for Maintaining Your Electric Vehicle's Battery Health

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Experts in battery science recommend charging your EV to around 70% for daily use and only going up to 100% when needed for longer trips. Elon Musk has also suggested maintaining a daily charge between 30-80%. The key takeaway here is that it's essential to find a balance that works best for your specific driving needs while still prioritizing battery health.

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To ensure your electric vehicle's battery remains in top condition, follow these tips:

1. Keep your charge oscillating around the 50% level – consider charging to 65%-70% overnight and higher as needed for trips.

2. Time your departure properly if charging to 100% – avoid leaving the car sitting at full charge for more than a few hours.

3. Set a daily charging rate based on your typical driving habits and adjust it as necessary before any long trips or days with heavier driving demands.

4. Regularly consult your EV's manual for guidance on proper battery care and maintenance.

By following these guidelines and being mindful of how you charge your electric vehicle, you can help prolong its battery life and enjoy many years of worry-free driving.