The question “should I charge my electric car every night” is asked by many EV drivers who have range anxiety and worry about depleting their batteries before they reach the nearest charging station.
If you are one of these drivers, know that the answer to the question may seem simple but is actually not as there are several factors you need to consider. There are also several facts about charging that you need to know.
Continue reading for things to know about charging electric car batteries every night.
Facts To Debunk The Range Anxiety Myth
The fear that electric vehicle drivers have is when they think their car’s battery won’t have enough power to make it to their destination. This is one of the biggest obstacles for people thinking to make the switch to electricity.
But the fact is that people with ordinary driving habits don’t need to fully charge their battery every night. And car manufacturers offer electric vehicle batteries that keep their charge longer, enabling drivers to give plug-ins a few night’s rests.
Also, there are more charging stations outside of your home so you expected you can easily locate one to recharge your vehicle. In other words, you don’t have to worry about stopping on the road because your car wasn’t charged the previous night.
You Probably Don’t Drive That Far
The fact is that the majority of people only drive 37 miles/59.5 km per day on average. A lot of the new electric vehicles can reach 200 miles (322 km) range on just one charge, so they can easily complete daily driving. The majority of drivers charge their vehicles overnight.
Data reveals that the electric cars with the longest range have come very close to or exceeded the expected distance on each charge. Even electric vehicles with shorter-range batteries have great moments during the week when they cover 37 miles per day.
Unless you’re going on an ordinary long trip, there will be no need for you to charge your electric vehicle each night. It is improbable that drivers of traditional gas-powered cars will refill their tank every day just as it isn’t necessary with an EV battery.
Constant Charging Cycles Can Degrade Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries supply power to EVs. While electric vehicle technology advancements continue to progress, the cycle of charging can cause the gradual degradation of lithium-ion batteries.
Reducing your charging cycles can help minimize the degradation of your battery. It is not enough reason to feel anxious every time you plug in, although it helps to remember that the charging cycle puts some stress on the battery every time you charge it.
If you’re aware of your electric car’s range, charging the battery when it’s necessary for a certain period is required to achieve the ideal “state of charge.”
Always Charging Your Vehicle to 100% Is Not Good
New research highlights the best practices for prolonging the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries. One recommendation addresses the battery’s SOC or State of Charger, which entails the estimated amount of power inside the battery.
The study reveals that drivers should reduce the amount of time they spend charging their batteries to 100% capacity. The reason is that extremely low and high SOC produces stress for batteries and cuts their lifespan.
Electric vehicles are built with a battery management system to avoid over-charging na discharging. Some are more preventive than others. The majority of electric vehicle chargers are also set to shut off when the battery reaches a specific SOC.
There are instances when you need to charge your electric vehicle to reach maximum range. But charging to the maximum should not be one each night. Generally, your electric car battery’s SOC must be maintained in between 30% to 80% capability.
Reasons To Not Charge Your Electric Vehicle Every Night
1. Reduced charging cycles lead to prolonged battery life
Battery technology may have improved and continues to improve throughout the years. But just like those in your phone and laptop, EV batteries are composed of lithium-ion and will degrade through time. Every charging cycle puts some stress on your battery. We recommend waiting until it is necessary to reach a certain charging state.
Unlike laptops and phones, car lithium-ion batteries contain a buffer that prevents them from getting 0 to 100% charge state. Manufacturers have built it in to avoid extreme charging cycles that can cause a lot of damage.
Instead, we recommend allowing the capacity to go down by 10-20% before charging at 80% capacity. Although electric vehicle charging can be accomplished fast using rapid charging stations, going extreme can cause damage in the long run. We recommend charging between 30% to 80% capacity.
2. The average EV driver drives only 275 miles per week
Data from the UK Department of Transportation in 2021 shows the average person drives about 275 miles per week. If the distance also applies to you, then there’s a chance the majority of EVs can go for an entire week without charge.
Such distance isn’t even two-thirds the range of some electric vehicles. The Tesla Model S can reach 400 miles in a single charge. Take note that most electric vehicles can travel between 200 to 300 miles upon full charge.
Charging your electric vehicle at home every three days, instead of every night is better and can prolong your battery’s lifespan.
3. Charging Stations Have Become More Available
Range anxiety is an obstacle EV owners should overcome to resist the urge to charge their vehicle each night. The fear is real but not necessarily justified since there are a lot of public charging stations available throughout the United Kingdom.
Five to ten years ago, one of the major concerns of EV owners was the scarcity of charging stations. But EV charging stations have become common today. Such availability means that you can charge your vehicle in public charging stations if needed. Depending on the home EV charging isn’t a big deal.
Rapid EV charging stations can also enable drivers to reach higher mileage. But that is not good for your battery in the long term. Slow charging is still the best option for your car’s health.
How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car?
Pretend that your electric car is a bucket of water. It’s empty at the start (that is your battery); there is nothing inside. If you want to charge or fill it with water, you need to start filling it up until you get to the top and you’re going to start slowing the tap down because you don’t want water to overflow.
A car battery is the exact same as an electric vehicle. When you start to fill it up really fast until 80%, it will then starts tapering off and trickling down that charge until it gets to a hundred. So that’s why you’ll hear a lot of manufacturers say that charge time is from empty to zero per cent. The process evens the playing field.
Single-phase and Three-phase Chargers
There are a few different charge types as well. Some cars have single-phase chargers on board, while some have three-phase and AC chargers, while others accommodate DC fast charging.
That way you can go 50 iW, 100 kW, and in the case of a new Porsche Taycan, 350 kW. With single-phase charging, you are limited to around 6.6 kW and then 22 kW on a three-phase charger.
- Type 1
Also called a 3-pin charger, this is the type where you can plug it into a home outlet directly. This is equivalent to filling that bucket of water with a dropper. It’s slow and laborious, and never want to use it but it’s there just in case you need it.
- Type 2
The type 2 plug is common to the EVs we have in the UK. Some of the older EVs and some of the branded EVs on the market will use different plugs but this is where the UK is heading in terms of charge types.
- Type 3
This is the cable that allows you to do single-phase or three-phase charging. You got a type 2 charger that plug that goes into a car and the other end goes into a public infrastructure.
I hope that gives you a quick idea of how to charge an electric car. Now let’s take a look at what different EVs can offer in terms of charging types.
Electric Cars and their Charing Capacities
1. Tesla Model S
Tesla and Elon call it the master of electric cars for a reason. The Tesla has a 100 kW per hour battery gives the car a range of about 500 km. But they’ve gone one step further with the charging.
Tesla has its own charging network of its own proprietary plug, but there’s also a three-phase on-board charger so there is a breath of options that can get the car fully charged. If you were to charge it from empty to eighty per cent at a supercharger, you’re looking at half an hour of charging time which is very impressive.
2. Reno Zui
The pike-sized Reno Zui has a 41 kW hour battery pack beneath it which gives a 400 km driving range. But Reno are quite cleave because they state the range for winter and summer, So they’ve reduced it to how much air conditioner or heater you’re using because that obviously picks the range of electric cars.
On top of that, you can only charge with single-phase or three-phase; it doesn’t offer a DC fast charging solution. So if you’ve got a fast charging setup which is three-phase, 22kW, you’re looking at a charge time from zero to a hundred per cent of only 2 ½ hours. This fits the need in terms of city use.
3. Nissan Lief
The Nissan Lief is a big shift forward from the old one. We’re talking about a car that has a 40kW battery pack. It has a driving range of around 270 km on a WLTP cycle. But it’s interesting because if you pop the front part of the car, you get two charging ports – a standard type Type 2 plug, and you also the Chademo plug.
It can charge up to 50kW on a DC charger. Or if you’re at home you could go up to 6,6 kW on a single-phased charger as well. In terms of charging time, if you go with that 50kW option, you’re talking about zero to eighty per cent in just 50 mins. Thus, it is a really good all-around package.
4. Jaguar i Pace
The Jaguar i Pace is stunning in its first edition. Under the body, you’ve got 90 kW hours worth of battery packs but it is fast and will do 200 km/hr and weighs over 2 tons. In terms of charging you have a single-phase, 6.6 kW charger on board with a Type 2 cable.
Or you can do fast charging of up to 100kW on a CCS Type 2 combo charger. This takes you from zero to eighty per cent at around thirty to 40 minutes and that’s 200-300 km per journey. It is a really good package. Range goes at around 470 km.
The jaguar has the best of both worlds with 280 km of driving range, and it’s fairly realistic as well. You need to tone it down to get that driving range instead of oversteading it under certain conditions.
Under the body, you’ve got 28 kW worth of battery and you’ve also got two different charging options. You can use the Type 2 plug, or you can go DC fast charging using a CCS combo Type 2 plug.
That means you can charge the EV currently from zero to eighty per cent. Or if you are at home you’ve got a 6 kW onboard single-phase charger as well. So this car really delivers everything you need from an EV.
How Often Should You Charge Your Electric Vehicle?
How often you charge your EV depends on how much you use it and how far you drive each day. Generally, you shouldn’t charge your EV to 100% battery every single night because charging cycles can degrade your battery.
The majority of electric vehicles in the market can go for a few hundred miles on just one full charge. But if you’re driving long trips, then you should charge for a few days. You must not charge electric vehicles for longer periods often since it can impact your battery’s lifespan.
You must schedule your EV charging at home. It is quite convenient to use fast chargers if you’re looking for a quick refuel, although depending on them a lot can affect your battery. Aside from not charging the electric vehicle every night, you can also extend your EV’s battery in other ways.
While there is no need for you to charge your electric vehicle each night, there are instances wherein you should ensure your battery is fully charged, like:
- In cold weather, your vehicle must be able to perform at the optimum level
- To power your house during emergencies, you must have the right charging setup
You Can Charge Every Night If It’s Absolutely Necessary
While we’ve discussed how not charging every night can be good for your battery’s maintenance and operation, you can charge every night if you really need the range. The impact will have on your electric car’s battery matters less than your need to use the car which is why you bought it in the first place.
But as we have mentioned, manufacturers are upgrading their battery systems to make sure that owners will not lose range or degrade the battery with age. No manufacturer would want to fall short of the expected average daily range and that should be enough for now.
Summary and Recommendations
So should you charge your electric car every night? The direct answer to this question is “no”. Ideally, there’s no need for you to charge your electric vehicle every night and should not do it. Charging your electric car every night can degrade your car’s battery in the long run.
At Pumpt, we believe EVs are vital to a cleaner future, whether they are for driving, towing, outdoor needs, powering your house when you lose power or driving in the cold. We have a knowledge base to keep you informed of the innovations, and financial incentives, as well as the installation and use of these charging solutions.