With rising gas prices and climate change in mind, electric cars have recently become a hot topic in the automotive industry. But have you ever observed the battery in your electric car draining after a certain amount of time?
This may have you worrying about the state of your electric vehicle’s battery when it’s not in use. There is a great deal of interest in this matter.
So, here’s a rundown of the components and operation of electric car batteries. We will also discuss methods for maintaining a fully charged and functional battery.
Does your electric car’s battery drain when not in use?
If your car uses a lead-acid battery, the answer is no; the battery will not discharge while the car is parked. However, lithium-ion batteries deplete gradually when not in use.
Your car’s battery will discharge even while it’s not being driven because of the lithium-ion technology used in most EVs.
Lead-acid batteries are constructed with a chemical reaction that only occurs when there is a load on the system, thus they do not discharge while not in use.
Simply said, the battery only generates energy when it is being utilized to power something else. When there is no demand placed on the battery, the chemical process halts and the battery enters a dormant state.
Batteries that use lithium ions function differently. They are made to keep the chemical reaction going even when there is no strain on the system. Therefore, when not in use, lithium-ion batteries gradually lose their charge.
However, the output is usually quite modest. A monthly decrease of just a few percent of the overall price is barely noticeable. Just two days later, when you go to start your automobile, the battery probably won’t be dead.
However, if you’re looking for a precise figure, it’s unlikely to be defined, as every automobile brand and model has a different capacity battery, and the features installed in each vehicle also vary. Thus, the batteries in all EVs discharge in accordance with their design parameters.
Factors Affecting an EV’s Battery When Not in Use
With the rise in popularity of electric cars (EVs), knowledge of battery maintenance is becoming increasingly important. Because the battery is the heart of an EV.
There are a few things that can have an effect on an electric vehicle’s battery when it’s not being used, including the battery’s temperature and the BMS. Let’s examine each of these in more detail to learn what causes your EV’s battery to discharge so quickly.
1. Battery Monitoring System
It’s common knowledge that batteries provide the juice for EVs on American roads. And like with any battery-operated gadget, monitoring the battery’s condition is paramount. For this reason, there are battery management systems available.
BMSs aid electric vehicle (EV) owners in monitoring the battery’s charge, voltage, and other critical characteristics. But what happens to an EV if it sits idle for long stretches of time? What effect does the BMS have on the battery’s condition at these times?
It’s true that the BMS can have an effect on the battery even when the EV is not in operation. This is how it operates in more detail.
2. Other components that are powered by a battery
It may sound obvious, but keep in mind that anything utilizing your car’s battery can reduce the battery’s lifespan. When it comes to electric cars (EVs), which get their power purely from batteries, this is very crucial to keep in mind.
The battery’s life and performance will suffer if you leave anything in the car sucking electricity from it even when it’s switched off.
This is typically caused by aftermarket devices that are hooked into the car’s electrical system. Over time, a battery’s capacity can be depleted by devices such as alarm systems, GPS receivers, and phone chargers.
If your EV has any of these kinds of accessories installed, it is crucial that you remember to turn them off every time you park the car.
If there is a problem with one of the car’s onboard computers, it can drain the batteries even while the car is turned off.
An improperly functioning computer can drain the battery even when the vehicle is not in use, has stopped moving, and is parked. It is recommended to have your automobile checked out by a professional mechanic or dealership if you detect a problem with one of the car’s computers.
The electric vehicle’s battery will deplete gradually when it is not in use. Self-discharge (which occurs with all batteries when they are stored) and parasitic drains from accessories like the alarm system or the radio are to blame for this.
The battery’s voltage and current are constantly monitored by the BMS to ensure they remain within acceptable parameters. A charging cycle will be automatically started by the BMS if the battery voltage falls below a predetermined threshold.
Unfortunately, your EV’s battery will have to power the BMS so that it can do its job properly. The BMS protects the battery as a whole, but it uses a little amount of power to maintain itself.
EV batteries, like those of any other battery-powered gadget, can suffer in the wintertime. In truth, a vehicle’s electric battery’s performance can be negatively affected by extremely high or low temperatures.
An electric vehicle’s battery will have a harder time maintaining a charge when the temperature drops. In colder temperatures, the chemical reaction that makes the battery possible slows down. That’s why an electric vehicle’s battery discharges more quickly in the winter than in the summer.
Also, keep in mind that an EV’s battery might be harmed by extremely cold or hot temperatures. An electric vehicle’s battery can be damaged by extreme temperatures and lose its ability to store energy if left in either one for too long. This is why it is crucial to take special care of your EV battery during severe weather.
When not in use, EV batteries can be negatively impacted by humidity. High relative humidity might hasten a battery’s deterioration because of the battery’s sensitivity to the environment.
In addition, condensation on the battery from high humidity can cause corrosion and other issues.
It’s important to reduce the impacts of humidity when storing an electric vehicle battery by keeping it in a dry, well-ventilated place.
5. Discharge/Recharge Cycles
There may have been a decrease in the battery’s ability to keep a charge. The reason for this is that as time passes, the battery’s ability to store and release energy will decrease. It is “discharge/recharge cycles” that are responsible for this wear and tear.
Chemical reactions inside the battery cells generate electrons, which travel through the circuits to supply power when the battery is discharged (for example, when you use it to power your automobile).
The chemical reactions that release electrons from the battery cells are the same ones that allow them to flow back into the battery cells during a recharge.
However, the battery cells degrade and become less effective over time, making it harder for the battery to keep a charge and resulting in a progressive decline in the battery’s ability to store energy.
Discharge/recharge cycles accelerate capacity decay because they place additional strain on the battery.
How to Prevent the Discharge of EV Batteries During Storage
While the popularity of electric vehicles continues to rise, one of its major drawbacks is the need for a place to keep the batteries charged when they’re not in use.
Allowing the battery to discharge to a dangerous level during storage can cause it to get damaged and possibly require replacement.
There are certain measures you can take to forestall this:
1. Avoid being exposed to extreme temperatures.
To keep your electric vehicle’s battery in good working order, you should keep it out of direct sunlight and high temperatures. The battery’s lifespan may be shortened as a result of this.
To avoid this, keep your EV battery in a cold, dry place. If you reside in a region where the temperatures tend to be either high or very low, you might want to think about renting a storage unit that has climate control. You should also make sure the battery is not being subjected to high temperatures by checking on it frequently.
Protect your electric vehicle’s battery from severe temperatures by wrapping it in insulation. This will help protect the battery from extreme temperatures.
2. Keep the battery from being fully charged.
It’s common knowledge that EV batteries age and eventually die. However, did you know that keeping a fully charged battery in your EV while storing it will speed up this process?
Keeping a fully charged battery in an EV causes the battery to be in a “constant state of charge” (CSC), which can hasten the battery’s deterioration.
In fact, research has shown that maintaining an electric vehicle battery at 100% charge might reduce its useful life expectancy by as much as 50%.
So, how should you best keep your electric vehicle? Make sure the battery is at least half charged before putting it away. The battery will be protected from discharge while being stored, extending its life.
Second, you should think about employing a battery storage device to help keep the battery charged when it’s not in use.
3. Maintain the Best Battery State of Charge During Long Storage
Long-term storage requires careful management, including ensuring the batteries are in their optimal state of charge (SOC) to prevent discharge.
The state of charge (SOC) measures how much power is left in a battery. A completely charged battery, for instance, would have a SOC of 100%. The percentage of remaining charge in a partially exhausted battery is 50%.
If you keep a battery at an extreme state of charge (SOC), it will degrade faster and lose power faster than if you kept it at a more reasonable SOC. The battery’s internal temperature may rise to a point where it “runs away,” catching fire.
Long-term storage efficiency maximizes SOC between 20% and 80%. As a result, the battery is protected from the damaging effects of being overcharged or undercharged.
Your electric vehicle’s state of charge (SOC) should be managed by a battery management system before you store it for an extended period of time. The state-of-charge (SOC) of the battery will be monitored by this system, and charging or discharging will be performed as necessary.
4. Reduce the use of fast chargers.
Standard (Level 1) 120-volt chargers are included with most EVs in the US and can fully charge the battery in about six to eight hours.
Despite the fact that this is plenty for regular needs, many people choose to use a 240-volt charger, which can accomplish the same task in half the time.
While fast chargers might be a lifesaver in a pinch, they are not always the most efficient way to charge a device.
Since rapid chargers put extra stress on your battery, it may drain while you’re not using it. Because of this, fast chargers should be used sparingly.
There are few things you can do to protect your battery from a fast charger. Check the charger’s specifications to make sure it can handle the current of your EV.
Second, to keep the load on your electric vehicle’s battery to a minimal, charge it for shorter periods of time rather than longer ones. Finally, monitor your battery life, and disconnect from power when it hits 80%.
So, it’s safe to say that the batteries in electric cars lose some charge when they’re not in use, but that this loss amounts to only a small fraction of the overall storage over the course of a month. However, by adhering to the aforementioned recommendations, you can further lessen drainage.