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Electric batteries in cars may last a lot longer than the sort of batteries found in your phone or laptop. But how much longer?
Most car manufacturers will claim at least 100.000 miles or 10+ years.
While it is true that electric cars lose battery capacity over time, the continuing advances in technology mean the precise degradation is difficult to define as a whole.
The main factor is all down to the owner and how they treat the battery. The way energy is added, the way it is removed and how many charging cycles the battery experiences look after battery and your battery will look after you.
It isn’t uncommon to see Tesla’s or other electric cars with one hundred thousand miles on the odometer and experiencing battery degradation of less than 10 percent.
Take Wizzy, for example, a Nissan Leaf taxi from England that clocked up more than 170.000 miles on its original battery before being sold to another happy owner.
There are a number of factors that help batteries stay healthy.
This may seem slightly counterintuitive, but lithium batteries don’t like to be fully charged. That’s because heat is the enemy of battery systems and lots of heat is generated by both rapid charging and keeping the battery at a high voltage.
While batteries like to be cycled in news, the general rule is not to be too reliant on rapid charges, not to overcharge the battery. Let it go completely flat.
The risk here is that dendrite can form, which is kind of like weeds in the garden of battery chemistry and can cause failure. Instead, it’s advised the owners should always try to drive and charge their EVs in a happy middle ground between 20 and 80 percent.
Lots of heat is also produced, if you like, showing off to your friends how quickly your electric car can accelerate from a standstill.
When you select a ludicrous plus mode on a Tesla, it actually warns you that you’ll be impacting the battery life.
Fortunately, most electric cars are fitted with sophisticated battery management systems that can regulate power if you’re doing too many drag races, as well as create artificial buffers at the top and bottom of the batteries capacity, to ensure cells in the battery pack don’t overcharge or over-discharge.
Battery management systems in performance EVs, like the Porsche taken, for example, can even work with satellite navigation so it knows to precondition the battery when approaching a charging station.
Ambient temperature is another factor that needs consideration because extremes of heat and cold can negatively impact the car’s battery life.
This is where battery packs that feature active thermal management degrade less than those that rely on air cooling because they’re better at maintaining a stable temperature range for the battery.
Carmakers are well aware that potential buyers are concerned about the longevity of electric car batteries, which is why these specific warranties often far exceed a typical vehicle warranty.
There is no better example than the new Lexus UX X 302, which is the first vehicle to feature a 10 year one million km warranty on the battery pack. And if that’s not confidence in the technology, we don’t know what is.
The specs for lithium-ion batteries will surely continue to rise year after year. But it’ll surely reach a point where the material cannot withstand the heat generated from charging and discharging.
Right now the manufacturers keep pushing the limits to how much power they can put into the batteries to expend the range while also pushing the limits to how quickly they can do it for faster charging times. Meanwhile on the other hand they are trying to improve the longevity and safety of the batteries.
I think they’ve reached a point where they don’t need to have batteries last particularly longer, but the charging time and range is a huge tipping point for many considering an electric car over a gasoline car.
So in the next couple of years, you’ll probably still see a huge decrease in charging time while still increasing the range, and probably even exponentially the next couple of years.
But soon they’ll reach a point where lithium just isn’t good enough, this is where newer technologies like solid-state batteries come into play. Already solid state batteries have a much longer lifespan, nearly instant chargetimes and a much higher ratio in kwH per battery.
The solid-state battery is still a very new technology and it might take a decade or so before it’s properly rolled out into every new electric vehicle. But there is no doubt it’s coming.
When a battery dies it means it can no longer hold it’s electric charge. When it cannot hold its electric charge there is no way to power/charge it up or discharge it further.
Most often the reason for an electric battery to “die” is because its worn out, so it has reached its limit to how many charges and discharges it can take.
When you charge and discharge a battery something called “dendrites” form. Dendrite are very small tree-like structures which forms inside the battery and preventing lithium-ions to travel.
Morten has been working with technology, IoT and electronics for over a decade. His passion for technology is reflected into this blog to give you relevant and correct information.Read more...