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Should you charge electric car to 100? Is it safe to do that? How will this affect my battery in the long run?
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no need to charge electric car to 100% all the time. In fact, 60% to 80% is enough depending on your daily needs. The most important thing to consider is, will you be able to get to work and come home on that single charge?
That’s where proper planning comes into effect. You need to know your range and the amount of charge you need to cover it without feeling anxious.
Most people drive, on average, 37 miles. This is the daily average.
Most EVs are rated to complete a range of 200 miles on a single charge.
That’s more than enough to give you five days of worry-free driving as long as you stick to your regular trip itinerary and the weather cooperates. The type of terrain you drive on will also affect this.
Don’t let your stored energy reach below 60% before you charge electric car. Two to three days on a single charge is a good compromise when you come to think about it. Skipping a few nights is ok.
And if you feel anxious, there’s always a charging station nearby that you can stop and refill at. At the very least, there should be a charging port in your office that you can plug into while you work.
In short, there’s absolutely no need to worry if you forgot to charge last night.
This is only applicable to brand new EVs. If you have a used EV, you might want to check if everything is still working properly.
Here’s something to help you:
Determine Just How Much Charge You Need
Ok, so let’s determine just how much charge electric car you need to maximize its functional potential. This is where the user manual comes in handy.
It’s useful to know how many miles of range you are getting during the time your vehicle is charging so you know you can get to your next destination.
Under most ideal charging situations, you can charge electric car and get the power you need to complete your daily drive. There are two common charging speeds: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 charges your car at around 4 miles per hour. Level 2, around 24 miles per hour.
With that knowledge in mind, you can roughly estimate how much time you need to get your desired charge within the time allotted with the charger level afforded.
Here’s a short chart to give you a better idea:
Range Time To Charge At Level 1 Time To Charge At Level 2
35 miles 8.5 hours 1.5 hours
100 miles 25 hours 4 hours
240 miles 60 hours 10 hours
Now you don’t have to charge electric car just once per day. You can charge it several times if you’re not using it. In fact, your EV is most likely to be parked the entire day. Most people only drive their EVs for an hour or two per day. So, find a nearby charge point and plug in to replenish what you’ve used up while you’re out doing something else.
Factors That Affect Your Range
Several factors affect your range: your EVs age, weight, battery condition, the terrain you traverse, and the weather. Yes, you read that right, you won’t get as far if it’s snowing outside as if the sun’s out.
How heavy your car is will affect the distance you can travel on a single charge. Now it might not completely drain your battery, but if you make a side-by-side comparison without any cargo, you’ll see a significant difference in the charge used. So, the lighter your car is, the more efficient it will be. Clear out any unnecessary objects, no matter how small they are inside your cabin because that will still add up.
Terrain and the weather go hand in hand, especially if it’s snowing outside. Even rain can affect your travel potential. If your tires can’t get a grip, you’ll be needlessly expending energy trying to cover the same amount of ground if the roads are clear. This is also the right time to check your tires’ condition.
Need new tires? Here are some related articles that can help you choose the right ones:
It also matters if you’re going uphill. Your EV will need to work harder to go over each hump than if you were just driving on a flat road.
Last but not least, check your batteries. If you can afford it, try to always have new batteries installed in your car. There’s one good way to do this, and that is to enroll in a battery swapping subscription. All you have to do is drive in to the service center and let the technicians do the work before driving off again.
The best thing? It’ll only take 15 minutes from the time they verify your subscription to signing the release forms!
If In Doubt, Keep It At 80%
One thing EV owners have learned over the years is that most times, you’re good with 80% charge. It’s unnecessary to charge electric cars to 100% if your power needs barely decrease your stored energy to 60%.
You should also remember that constantly charging and depleting your battery is one quick way to shorten its lifespan. Charging it less is actually a good way to improve battery health and longevity.
Now, most first time EV owners will charge electric car to 100% all the time because that’s what the manual says they should do. They may also not be aware of their current charge needs for their daily range.
The only time you should charge your EV to 100% is when you’re planning on going on a long trip and don’t know where the charging stations are. It’s best to plan your journey and mark where you can top up to make it a hassle-free trip.
While we’re on the subject of EVs, have you ever wondered, “Whatever happened to the Tesla Cybertruck?” Well, we’ve got some news for you: It’s coming. Prepare yourself for when it finally comes out with these related articles:
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How Long Will It Take To Reach 100%?
How long does it take to charge electric car to 100%?
This data is dependent on your batteries’ capacity and charging power. The time needed to reach 100% fluctuates depending on the charge level used, voltage handling of your batteries, and charger electronics of your car.
You can use this formula to estimate how long it will take to charge electric car to 100%:
Charging Time [h] = Battery Capacity [kWh] / Charging Power [kW]
This is what it will look like when applied: 60kWh / 7kW = 8.57h or 8 hours and 30 minutes.
This means it will take you approximately eight hours and 30 minutes to reach full capacity if you started with an empty or fully discharged battery.
Note: This is only an approximation as some batteries charge faster during the initial stages and slow down to a steady drip as they near full capacity.
You can also use top-up charging instead of waiting for your battery to reach zero, so you’ll always have enough juice to get from point A to point B.
Simply put, top-up charging is when you charge electric car even if you’ve only used a small portion of the electricity it has stored in its batteries. Think of it like charging a mobile phone when you’re not using it.
All you have to do is locate the nearest charging port or outlet and hook your car up while you do some other things for a short while. When you’re done, just come back to your EV and drive off with more bars than when you started.
Other Options You Can Take:
Keep Your EV Powered Up With Top Up Charging
Top up charging is simply the act of keeping your battery at full capacity whenever it is parked. Like most cars, 95% of the time, your EV will most probably be parked. This is a good opportunity for you to ensure your batteries are charged. Don’t wait for your batteries to get empty before fully recharging it.
Combining daytime top-up charging with overnight charging at home is an effective way to keep your electric car charged and ready to go at all times.
Enroll In A Battery Swapping Subscription
Battery swapping is another option you can take aside from charging your EV and waiting for it to top. All you have to do is drive to a certified battery swapping center and hand in your old depleted batteries and get new ones inside your EV.
This process usually lasts around 15 minutes. That covers the time the mechanics open your EV, swap the battery, and signing the release papers. That waiting time can extend if there are others waiting in line to get their batteries replaced too. You won’t even have to get out of the car for the service center to complete this process.
And that’s it, you’re back on the road.
The best thing about this is that you’ll always have new batteries in your car.
Factors That Affect Your Ability To Reach100%
One of the main concerns people have is how to charge electric car to 100%. This experience can vary from one person to another. Why? Well, different situations bring this about. For example: the weather, your batteries, how old your electric car is, and your charging ports.
We’ve narrowed it down to the most common factors that affect your ability to charge electric car. Here are the 5 main factors that affect your ability to charge electric car.
Related Article: Why Your Tesla Charges Slowly
Is It Cold Outside?
No one really likes the cold weather. It just slows everything down. Try to remember the last time it really got cold outside, how hard was it to get out of bed and into the shower? That’s pretty much the same thing that happens to your electric car and the charge it gets from the charging port.
Cold weather isn’t ideal when you want to charge electric car. So, if you’re planning on charging your electric car at a nearby charging station while it’s snowing, prepare to spend at least a couple of hours waiting. You better hope they serve hot drinks at the station because you’ll be waiting a long time even for just a single bar.
For this type of weather, you’re better off parking it in your well-insulated garage and charge electric car from home. It’s warmer and more efficient to charge it this way. Here’s hoping you have warm drinks in your home too.
You can also keep your battery plugged in, so it gets warmer. This will help your battery charge faster as the temperature goes up.
Ok, but seriously, here are the rest of the factors affecting your ability to charge electric car to 100%
Max Charge Rate Of Charge Point
Your max charge rate limits the power output of the charge point. This prevents the instances of overloading your charge point if you can charge electric car at a higher charge rate.
This may seem annoying to some, but it actually makes it safer for everyone to charge electric car at home without the fear of burning the house down.
The downside, you’ll just have to wait a little while longer to reach 100% than usual. Just load more hot water into the pot and serve more hot drinks.
Max Charging Rate Of Your EV
One reason why it’s safe to charge electric car at any charge point is the set max charging rate installed by the manufacturers for each EV that rolls out of the production floor. This built-in cap prevents you from charging your vehicle beyond its normal capacity to receive an electric charge.
This makes it safe for you to charge electric car at a charge point, putting out 22kW even if you’re just rated for 7kW. But of course, to be safe, always try to find a charge point that matches your charge rate to prevent overloading your cables.
Yes, you’ll still have to wait, but this time, it’s your car that’ll be at fault for making you drink another hot cup of coffee.
Related Article: TroubleShooting A Nissan Leaf That Won’t Charge
Battery Depletion Level
You only have yourself to blame if you ever allow your EV’s battery to reach 0 before finding a charge point or station. Always be mindful of your battery levels and top up or charge electric car when it reaches 60%. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead car, whether it’s electric or not.
Another reason for constantly topping up is that you’ll find your charging time will be less if you’re battery is still at 60% or more than when it is below that point. You see, batteries charge slowly and then speed up the nearer to 100%.
Note: Never drain a lithium-ion battery down to zero. This can severely shorten your battery’s lifespan. This can also drastically affect its charging capability. The worst thing that can happen is experiencing starting problems.
Related Article: 10 Reasons An Electric Car Won’t Start
Battery Size, Age, And Functional Condition
Finally, the one thing that truly affects your ability to charge electric vehicle is your battery.
First, the size. The bigger your battery is, the longer it will take to full charge. Think of your battery as a vessel to store electrical power and electricity as the substance that fills it up. So, the bigger the container, the more electricity you can store in it.
Next, how old is your battery? Are you still using the stock one that came with your EV to charge electric car with? How old is your car? Check the expiration date of your battery. The nearer it is to that date, the faster it will discharge. Replace your old battery if it is nearing its expiration date. Always have a spare on hand so you won’t have to worry about waking up to a dead car.
Last but not least, the functional condition of your battery. What is its present condition? Has it experienced any situation that is not conducive to keeping it in proper shape and condition? Has it ever been exposed to the elements? Have you ever fully depleted it? All of these things affect your battery. You should replace it if your battery is not in the right condition to work or charge when using your EV.
You should expect to lose 2.3% battery efficiency every year due to natural aging.
And that’s it.
If everything’s been taken care of, you’ll have a worry-free operation of your EV when you use or charge electric car.
If it’s time to replace your battery, here’s The Ultimate Car Battery Replacement Guide Shootout to point you in the right direction.
So, should you charge electric car to 100%? Sure! Go ahead. The on-board computer is just going to shut off any incoming charge from overloading your system anyway.
You should take this advice with a grain of salt though, it’s still best to disconnect your power cables from the charge port when your power level reaches 100%. This is the most ideal setting for when you charge electric vehicle to 100%.
As long as you have 20% to 80%, you’re good to go. And if you’re not planning on driving your car for the entire week, just keep your battery at half capacity.
Should I Worry About My EV Discharging Overnight?
No. Modern technology has made it possible for car battery manufacturers to prevent this from happening. EV makers have also made it a point to ensure accidental discharge doesn’t happen overnight. As long as you bring your vehicle in for proper preventive maintenance and your battery is in good condition, you can sleep soundly knowing you’ll have a car that’s ready to go when you get behind the wheel.
Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night?
Not really. Although this is what most manufacturers recommend, charging your electric car every night isn’t necessary. You’re good if you’ve calculated that the amount of charge you have in your battery is more than enough to get you from point A to point B and back.
What Happens If My Electric Car Runs Out Of Electricity On The Road?
Call AAA. If your electric car runs out of electricity, the best you can do is get a tow truck to drive you to the nearest charging station. Don’t worry, Triple-A is well-equipped to handle these instances. They receive millions of roadside assistance calls from EV owners who didn’t charge electric car enough to reach their destination. Just sit tight and wait.