They’re not hiding the facts about EVs. You just have look for them.
A good place to start is in the owner’s manual. That’s where I found out that Ford recommends avoiding the “fast” chargers you hear a lot about to charge up the F-150 Lightning electric pick-up, because regular use of “fast” chargers isn’t good for the “health” – Ford’s word – of the battery.
Now this is interesting because “fast” charging is the only way to get an EV back on the road again in less than several hours, which is the amount of time it takes to recover a partial charge using 240V household power (basically, a stove/dryer type outlet). It typically takes at about 8-11 hours to get a full charge at home this way.
That’s essentially all day – or overnight.
Put another way, if you burn through most of your range today, you won’t be able to use the EV again until the next day. Unless you charge it up at a “fast” charger. But if you do that, you risk the “health” of the battery – by which is meant its capacity to hold a full charge, which will degrade faster and sooner the more you “fast” charge it.
So what do you do?
You could avoid “fast” charging – or rather, avoid the waiting – by not heavily discharging the battery. But that means not making use of the vehicles fully charged range. For example, if you never let the Lightning’s battery discharge more than 50 percent, it would always have about half of its full charged range (about 300 miles) available. And that would be very good for the “health” of the battery. But that means you can’t drive the Lightning farther than about 150 miles.
It’s like having a non-electric vehicle with a gas tank that holds about five gallons – which you fill up using a syringe.
The electric Jaguar I-Pace’s owner’s manual advises the owner as follows: “In the event of long-term storage, make sure to charge the high voltage battery every 30 days. CAUTION: Make sure that the high voltage battery is charged to a target of 30 percent and no more than 60 percent. Failure to do so may result in damage to the battery.”
This above rigmarole being a function of seepage – the loss of charge over time when an EV is just sitting (and isn’t plugged in). Most EVs have a thermal management system that is always drawing power, kind of like inadvertently leaving an accessory like the radio on in a non-electric car. But with EVs, it’s not inadvertent. It’s by design.
But how does one maintain a “target” of 30 percent charge and no more than 60 percent charge?
That’s up to you to figure out.
Mitsubishi says owners of the Outlander PHEV (it’s a plug-in hybrid that has the capability to be “fast” charged, which is uncommon among hybrids) ought to avoid “leaving (the) car plugged in for a longer period of time than necessary. While you’re not driving it, aim to keep the charge at around the 30 percent mark and leave it unplugged. You can then charge the car up to full just before you need to use it.”
It seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it?
Here is what you’ll find in the Nissan Leaf’s owners’ manual:
“For the high-voltage battery it is recommended that the state of charge is kept between 50 percent and 80 percent and not to leave the vehicle plugged in once the high voltage battery has finished charging. Do not operate the charging timer repeatedly while the charge connector is connected to the vehicle after the Li-ion battery charging is completed. Doing so may discharge the 12V battery. Avoid exposing a vehicle to extreme ambient temperatures for extended periods to maximize battery life. Owners should avoid storing a vehicle in temperatures below 23ºC for more than seven days. Avoid leaving your vehicle for more than 14 days where the Li-ion battery available charge gauge reaches a zero or near zero (state of charge). Park/store your vehicle in cool locations out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.”
You might want to do some more reading before you do any buying.
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