Electric vehicles and hybrids are continuing to grow in popularity. There is no doubt that owning an EV is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and drastically reduce the cost of your daily commute. Still, like any other vehicle, it is important that you focus on maintenance and take steps to protect the life span of your EV.
One question many EV owners have is whether or not they should charge their vehicles every night, and the answer to this is no. Charging your EV every night is not good for the battery and can cause it to degrade and wear out more quickly. Charging the battery every night is also simply not necessary in most cases. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the reasons you shouldn’t charge your EV every night and what you need to know about home EV charging stations.
The Battery Degradation Problem
Huge advancements have been made in battery technology in recent years, and this is part of the reason why new EVs are so much better and more efficient than models produced a few years ago. In many older EVs, the batteries tended to degrade extremely quickly and sometimes would need replacement within a few years.
The batteries used in newer EVs are less prone to degradation. Some newer models have shown zero battery degradation after the first year while others showed only a 1% capacity decrease within the same period. However, it is important to understand that the more charging cycles the battery goes through, the faster it degrades and loses capacity. This is one of the main reasons why most experts recommend that you only charge your battery a few times a week at most.
Reducing the number of times you charge your battery can go a long way toward protecting its life span and reducing the rate at which it degrades. Every single time you plug in your EV to charge, it puts stress on the battery. This is true whether you fully charge it to capacity or only charge the battery partially.
Why State of Charge Is Also Important
State of charge (SOC) is a battery’s charge level compared to its capacity. Studies focusing on how SOC impacts battery life have shown that charge levels at or near 0% cause degradation. On the other hand, the research indicates that charging to 100% also negatively impacts the life span of a battery.
Most experts recommend that you always try to keep your battery charged to between 30% and 80% capacity. If you plan on taking a longer trip, there is nothing wrong with charging the battery to 100% occasionally. However, this is not something you should often do, and definitely not every night.
Why Charging Every Night Is Unnecessary
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the average EV owner drives approximately 14,300 miles each year. This equates to roughly 275 miles each week or 39 miles a day.
Even if your commute is greater than the average of 39 miles a day, there is still no reason that you would typically need to charge your EV every night. The battery capacity of most newer EVs allows you to go between 200 and 300 miles on a single charge, and some models can even go over 400 miles on one charge.
You will usually only need to charge your EV a few times each week to get wherever you need to go. In many cases, you may easily get away with charging the vehicle only once a week. By only charging your vehicle when it actually needs it, you can reduce the number of charging cycles and thus slow the rate at which the battery degrades.
How Home EV Charging Stations Protect Your Battery Life
Most commercial and public EV charging stations are Level 3 DC fast-charge stations. This type of station is extremely powerful and can usually bring a battery from 0 to 80% charge within 30 minutes to an hour. These stations are great in terms of convenience and enable you to take long road trips in your EV.
However, studies have shown that using DC fast-charging stations can cause the battery’s capacity to decrease much faster than charging it more slowly with a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station. Installing a home EV charging station, instead of always going to a public one, is a great choice to increase your vehicle’s battery life.
The charging cord on your EV can be plugged into any 120-volt outlet at your house for Level 1 charging. While Level 1 charging isn’t necessarily bad, it does take a long time. If your EV can go for 200 miles on a single charge, it will typically take close to 20 hours for the battery to go from 0 to 100% capacity. For vehicles that can go 400 miles on one charge, it will often take well over 40 hours for the battery to charge fully. These long charge times make Level 1 charging impractical unless you only very rarely use your EV.
More and more EV owners are opting to have Level 2 charging stations installed in their homes because of the convenience factor. Level 2 charging stations use 240-volt outlets, and this increased power means they can charge much faster. Level 2 stations are anywhere from three to seven times faster than Level 1 charging, and they should allow you to fully charge your battery in four to 10 hours.
In addition to the convenience, another advantage of charging your vehicle at home is that it will save you quite a bit of money compared to using Level 3 public charging stations. The average cost for using a public charging station typically ranges between $0.30 and $0.60 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). On the other hand, the average electricity rate in Atlanta is approximately $0.12 per kWh, and the average across the U.S. is just over $0.10 per kWh.
Whether you use Level 1 or Level 2 charging at home, you will end up paying far less than you would if you used public charging stations. The savings can even be greater if your electricity provider charges different rates for peak and off-peak times. In this situation, if you plug your vehicle in before you go to bed, you will pay even less since you’ll be charging it at an off-peak time.
Residential and Commercial EV Charging Experts
If you want an EV charging station installed at your home or business, Arc Angel Electric is ready to help. Not only are our electricians fully licensed to handle all kinds of electrical projects, but they are also Tesla-certified. We also install charging stations from Siemens, GE and APC. From our location in Cumming, we serve customers throughout the Greater Atlanta area. We also have additional locations in Greensboro, Mount Pleasant and Bluffton. For more information on EV charging or to schedule a consultation for any other electrical issue, give us a call today.