Maximizing Your Electric Vehicle's Battery Life and Navigating Supercharger Etiquette
Title: Long Term Battery Health and Ethics
Subtitle: Maximizing the Life of Your Electric Vehicle's Battery
When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), one of the primary concerns for owners is how to maintain the long-term health of their vehicle's battery. With daily driving routines, charging habits, and even Supercharger etiquette playing a role in battery life, it can be difficult to know the best practices for maximizing your EV's performance.
One common question that arises is whether there is a difference in the long-term health of an EV battery if you were to top off every night (to the recommended 80-85%) or drive for three or four days and then top it off overnight. The answer lies in understanding lithium-ion (LiON) batteries, which are most happy at a 50% state of charge (SOC). If you charged a LiON battery to 50% and left it there, that would be the best way to prolong its life. However, this isn't very practical for everyday use. It's generally best not to fully charge or discharge a LiON battery; keeping it between 20% and 80% will help extend its lifespan. If you do need to fully charge or discharge your EV battery, try not to leave it in that state for too long.
In terms of daily charging habits, topping off your EV battery every night to around 80-85% should not cause any significant harm. In fact, Tesla recommends leaving your car plugged in overnight for conditioning and to help mitigate "vampire drain," which refers to capacity loss due to the car charging its 12-volt battery from the main pack. Having a topped-up battery every day also provides flexibility for unexpected long-distance trips.
Subtitle: Navigating Supercharger Etiquette
Superchargers have been designed primarily for facilitating long-distance travel between cities. While they provide convenience and fast-charging capabilities, there have been instances where some EV owners have abused the system by using Superchargers as their sole charging source, thus deferring all of their energy costs to Tesla. This has led to discussions around proper Supercharger etiquette.
For the most part, EV drivers have been considerate and not hogged Supercharger stations. However, during long charging sessions, some people may run off to do errands or grab a meal without checking their mobile app for completion, leaving others waiting for an available station. To help alleviate this issue, some drivers have taken to using hang tags on the charging wands with contact information for those waiting.
Another challenge faced at Supercharger stations is "ICEing," which occurs when a gas-powered vehicle parks in a designated EV charging spot. Some individuals may be unaware of what the Superchargers are for, while others intentionally block access out of spite. To combat this behavior, proper signage and even painting the spots in distinct colors (similar to handicapped parking spaces) could help raise awareness. Additionally, making it illegal to park non-EV vehicles in these spots and enforcing penalties through tickets could further deter such actions.
In conclusion, maintaining your electric vehicle's battery health and navigating Supercharger etiquette can be straightforward with a few simple practices. By keeping your battery charge between 20% and 80%, topping off regularly without overcharging, and being considerate of other EV drivers at Supercharger stations, you can ensure that both your battery and the broader EV community remain healthy and thriving.