I used to charge my EV every night until I found out it was bad for my EV baterry
Should I charge my electric car every night? No you should not charge your car every night as it will significantly degrade the life of your battery. And here is why.
In this article, I want to talk about EV batteries and how they're designed to last a long time unless you do these three things that I have done over the 142 thousand miles which have caused my battery to fail and need a replacement from Tesla.
We are going to discuss three things that you should not do with your battery based on my personal experience so you can avoid the need to replace your battery and therefore allowing that battery to last a long time.
Let me give you a little bit of background on my usage of my car. I have a 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack in my Tesla Model S and throughout the last couple of years, I've driven about a hundred and thirty thousand miles.
I picked up the car used at sixteen thousand miles three years old and I really put my car to work. My day job is in sales and it has to be going all over Denver, and of course, we take some trips to the mountains for leisure as a family but mostly it's work miles I do.
Because this is a smaller battery I needed to charge more often and so what I started doing pretty soon after I got the car was charge the battery up to one hundred percent every day.
In a typical day when things are busy and I've got several appointments, I'll usually find myself driving between a hundred and fifty miles to two hundred miles which required me to stop and charge.
If I know I'm going to have a busy day, which is a lot of days, I'll charge my car to a hundred percent. And if I'm driving a lot I'll usually have to stop at a supercharger to get some quick juice.
Now, this has had a negative impact on my battery, which I believe has caused the battery to degrade faster. So I want to talk about three things that I have done that you should not do, and if you're in the market for an EV these are going to be three things that will help your battery last longer.
So let's get into the first one which is charging to a hundred percent regularly.
If you've ever charged to 100% and gotten into the car the Tesla provides a message that says that charging to 100% state of charge should only be reserved for long distances. The car is not designed to charge to a hundred percent regularly
The second thing that you should not do is run the battery down below twenty or thirty percent charge. This also has an impact on how many cycles you get from your battery. It is recommended that you keep the battery between 30% and 80%.
The third thing that reduces the longevity of the battery is exposing the battery pack to high temperatures. And whenever you supercharge your EV there's high voltage going into that car which increases the battery temperature.
That's probably why you hear those fans running while you're supercharging, what your EV is trying to do is to cool the battery down and circulate the coolant that's inside of the battery pack.
If you don't need fast charging regularly your battery will naturally last longer. but Tesla does not do a really good job of showing owners how that battery is degrading over time.
The makeshift way to do that at the moment is for owners to measure a hundred percent charge when the car is brand-new, and then periodically charge it up to a hundred percent and see what the difference is between brand new and at the periodic incremental charges.
The other way I've seen people recommend to measure the degradation of the battery is to charge it to 100% and then drive it down to zero and measure how many kilowatt-hours were used in that period and then compare it to when it was brand new.
The best way I found for owners to diagnose the health of the battery is to utilize an app called TM spy. The app gives you some real-time insight into the data of the battery as well as other data points of the car.
Tesla providing this sort of insight about their car could help people better take care of their cars. Someone might say that if Tesla provides an 8-year limited mile warranty then it doesn't matter, does it?
I think that that's just a poor way of looking at things, I think we all as owners of electric vehicles should be good stewards and make sure that you're not frequently doing the three things I mentioned as well as making sure that you take the car in once a year for an annual checkup.
I was driving home, I had 34 miles of range showing on my car, I was about 10 miles away from my house and the screen suddenly said the car was powering down to find a safe place to pull over.
Unfortunately, this was an all too familiar sight for me because this was the fourth time that this has happened. When I spoke with Tessa the following Monday they ran a remote diagnostic on the battery to determine that it does need to be replaced.
The reality was that the 60-kilowatt hour battery pack is probably not the best pack for me, I need something more and ideally something above 300 miles. What I have to decide now, once this battery does get replaced is do I keep the car with most likely a 75-kilowatt-hour battery pack that they'll upgrade me to, or should I trade it in and get something with a little bit more range like the model 3 or the Model S or X.
If I upgraded to the Model S or X I'm spending a lot more and I'm always cost-conscious of that being a self-employed business owner.
This brings up one last topic that I wanted to mention that many of you have asked about, which is what is the cost of a battery out of pocket or out of warranty.
I did a little bit of research and the cost as of August 2018 is between fifteen and twenty thousand dollars. That cost has significantly fallen over time and I think it will continue to do the same, so in another five years from now, the cost of a battery will probably be significantly less.
If I were just put a wild guess on what that might be I'm would say sub $5,000 in five years for a battery pack the size of Teslas.
The moral of my story is don't abuse your EV battery by charging every night when you don't need to, only fully charge to 100% when you are going on a long journey and keep down the use of fast chargers to a minimum.