Are you looking for ways to know how to choose electric car batteries In 2023? An electric battery is basically a device that stores chemical energy that is converted into electricity. The modern electric battery was invented by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta in 1800. This remarkable invention has enabled us to power much of our modern world with advanced devices such as laptops, smartphones, satellites, and even electric cars.
Consumers often have concerns about battery life when considering purchasing an electric car (EV). The thought of replacing a battery pack is particularly daunting considering the average cost is $5,000-$15,000, and that’s not including the cost of labor.
In this article, we’ll explore how batteries work and how to keep them running optimally.
How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?
The battery in your electric car is designed for extended life. However, electric car batteries will slowly begin to lose the amount of energy they can store over time. This phenomenon is called “battery degradation” and can result in reduced energy capacity, range, power and overall efficiency.
Ampere Time LiFePO4
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
LOSSIGY LiFePO4 Battery
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
Renogy Deep Cycle AGM
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
Weize 12V 100AH Deep Cycle
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
Battle Born LiFePO4
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
Ampere Time 12V 200Ah
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
EF ECOFLOW RIVER Pro
Battery Degradation Explained
Unfortunately, battery degradation is not easy to predict. Not all brands perform the same, and every vehicle is different in how it is driven, charged and maintained. On the bright side, it’s not uncommon for modern EV batteries to last more than 10 years and some will go well beyond that before needing to be replaced. The average EV owner will sell their car long before they would need to replace the battery pack.
It’s important to note that battery degradation has been known to worsen in a couple of scenarios:
- If an EV battery is repeatedly driven down close to zero range and then is charged from low to full charge routinely
- If an EV battery is continually charged at Level 3, also known as DC Fast Charging (DCFC)
As such, some automakers suggest limiting DCFC and not making it a primary source of charge. For instance, Kia Motors suggests, “Frequent use of DC Fast Charging can negatively impact battery performance and durability, and Kia recommends minimizing use of DC Fast Charging.” To learn more about charging, please visit the section on Electric Car Charging.
Environmental factors, such as continued exposure to extreme temperatures, will impact battery performance and may lead to degradation. In particular, batteries don’t perform very well when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. When it’s really cold and you’re using the car’s heater, your range can temporarily drop by as much as 40%.
To maintain a battery pack at peak performance, it is recommended to keep EVs charged to between 60% and 80%, minimize fast charging and avoid extreme temperatures over long periods of time.
The Truth About Degradation in electric car batteries 2023
Battery degradation doesn’t happen all at once. On average, today’s electric car batteries only lose about 1-2% of their range per year. New EV batteries are designed for durability and will outlast the usable life of a vehicle.
What You Need to Know
Thanks to lithium-ion batteries, we all enjoy the ability to recharge everything from smartphones and laptops, to the latest electric cars. Degradation over time means that the battery pack will lose some of its ability to hold a charge over time. There are a few things that you need to know about extending the life of your battery that will keep it in good condition for the long haul. First and foremost, you should never “over charge” them.
When keeping an electric car charged, it is best to only charge them to 80% of the battery’s capacity. Likewise, don’t run a battery down all the way to zero as that can damage them. Overcharging is the number one reason that battery packs degrade quicker. Another thing to remember is that EV batteries hate to be frozen. It’s best to keep electric cars in the garage in winter months when outside temperature are in the sub-freezing zone.
The biggest take away we want you to get from this article is that EV battery degradation is really nothing to worry about. If we look at the Tesla S model battery, researchers have found that traveling 500,000 miles on the original battery should not be a problem. Just because the battery degrades does not mean it is not drivable; it simply loses some of its range and charging efficiency.
In blog posts, Tesla model S owners have noted that approximately 95% of the battery retains its battery function during the first 50,000 miles. A 5% battery degradation could equal 20 miles of range. Oddly enough, the battery only degraded another 5% during the next 100,000 miles. So, 150,000 miles resulted in a total average of 10% total battery degradation. Typically, you wouldn’t need to consider replacing your battery until degradation reaches 50-65%.
A new generation of lithium-ion electric car batteries are on the horizon that could last millions of miles. Another solution for battery degradation is new technology known as the Solid-State battery that is reported to offer enormous capacity. We’re talking EVs with a driving range of over 1,000 miles and recharge times of just five minutes.
In the meantime, battery degradation in today’s battery electric cars is really nothing to concern yourself with. Automakers typically offer battery warranties for eight years or 100,000 miles on new cars. Plus, battery degradation is a very slow process and it is very likely that you will sell or trade your EV in long before loss of battery function becomes a problem. According to a recent survey, the average EV owner only notices a 2% battery decline after three years of driving and a 7% decline after six years on the road.
Electric Car Warranties and Exclusions
Most automakers have an 8 to 10-year or 100,000 miles warranty period on their batteries. This is because federal regulation in the U.S. mandates that electric car batteries be covered for a minimum of eight years.
However, the terms of the warranty can vary. Some automakers only cover an EV’s battery pack against a complete failure, while automakers like Tesla, Nissan and Volkswagen will honor the warranty if the capacity percentage drops below a specified threshold, typically 60-70%, during the warranty period.
Before purchasing any vehicle, it’s best to check the warranty fine print. For example, the Nissan Leaf has a percentage guarantee of approximately 75%; however, they use their own measurement units represented in “bars.” A full Leaf battery has 12 bars, and the included battery warranty guarantees it for nine bars of charge.
Battery repairs can be expensive, so it is important to understand the exclusions or conditions that can impact the warranty of an electric car battery.
Some exclusions might include, but are not limited to:
- Use of non-standard charging
- Any damage caused by using or installing non-approved parts
- Using the battery as a stationary power source
- Any damage caused by opening the battery coolant reservoir
- Failing to install software or firmware updates
- Damages or failures caused by repairs performed by non-certified technicians
- Lifting the vehicle from underneath the battery instead of designated body lift points
- Failure to make repairs
- Using vehicle for towing and exceeding load limits
- General abuse or neglect
Hybrid Battery Warranties
Hybrid car batteries are similar to EV batteries; they are simply smaller. Since the gasoline engine, electric motor and battery work together in hybrids, if one is not performing optimally, it will impact the other.
Hybrid batteries typically last a vehicle’s lifetime, with modern vehicles routinely reaching 100,000 to 150,000 miles or much more. Accordingly, automakers usually offer a warranty for at least 80,000 miles. In most cases, you can expect to achieve over double that mileage without an issue. Some automakers such as Hyundai even offer lifetime warranties. As a result, if you’re the owner of a hybrid, you’ll likely never have to worry about replacing the battery.
There is also a time component to battery life — it degrades even if you don’t drive the car long distances. Hybrid batteries are designed to perform for at least 10 years. To cover any unexpected failure, time-based warranties are now standard in the industry. There is a federal mandate for warranties to cover eight years of hybrid car battery life, so most automakers offer warranties of eight years or more.
If you’re faced with replacing a battery on an out-of-warranty car, there’s no need to panic. The cost of a new battery pack continues to decline. Some technicians can even install an approved used battery pack salvaged from a wrecked vehicle, which would greatly reduce the potential repair cost.
Longest Range Electric Cars in 2021
Battery and range are tightly linked — usually, the bigger the battery pack on an electric car, the longer the range. If you’re looking for electric vehicles that can take you the distance, now is a great time to consider one of many long-range auto options available today.
The following vehicles currently offer the greatest range on the market as of 2021 based on EPA ratings. They can take you between 208 and 387 miles depending on the car you choose. Keep in mind that the EPA ratings are estimated figures and your range may vary depending on how heavy your accelerator foot is, how many passengers or gear you are carrying as well as road and weather conditions.
Estimated range for all-electric vehicles continues to increase along with the number of new EVs hitting the road each day. Both battery range and EV adoption have increased rapidly over the last decade. As of around 2010, electric vehicles could barely go above 80 miles on a charge. In contrast, the recently announced Tesla Roadster, for instance, will have a range of over 600 miles!
As you read this, The Tesla Model S offers the best long range for the road at 387 miles before you need a recharge. Ruling the range since 2012, the Model S is a spacious and luxurious sedan with zero to 60 mph times that are as fast as many world-class super cars.
Three other Tesla’s join our list of top range warriors including the Model X at 371 miles, the Model 3 at 353 miles and the Model Y at 326 miles. The new Ford Mustang Model-E in its California Route 1 trim, rolls in at 305 miles, followed by the faithful Chevy Bolt at 259 miles.
The budget conscious Hyundai Kona Electric is next with a range of 258 miles, followed by three newcomers, the Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition at 250 miles, the Polestar 2 at 233 miles and the amazing Porsche Taycan 4S at 227 miles. We finish this year’s long range list with the popular Nissan Leaf at 226 miles, the new Audi E-Tron at 222 miles, and the Volvo XC40 Recharge at 208 miles.
And this is just the beginning of the range wars to come, with dozens of new all-electric vehicles coming your way in 2023 and beyond. Range anxiety will soon go the way of the dinosaur.
Cost to Replace Electric Car Batteries
As mentioned before, you may not need to replace your electric car battery at all. As battery life keeps improving in newer cars, the issue of replacing the battery will become less and less important. In 2019, Tesla announced that it was working on a “million-mile battery” which would likely never need to be replaced.
That said, if you have an older electric car, the battery could eventually require replacing.
Experiencing Battery Failure
If your failing battery is under warranty, you should get it repaired or replaced at a manufacturer-approved repair shop. If you request service from a third party who is not approved by the manufacturer, you may void the warranty and expose yourself to substandard workmanship.
If your battery fails outside of the warranty conditions, select dealers and service centers would be able to repair or replace it for you. The cost of repairing/replacing the battery can be broken out into (1) the cost of the replacement battery itself and (2) the cost of the installation.
Cost of Replacement and Installation
As the cost of batteries decreases, so does the cost of replacement. The key driver of battery cost is the cost per kilowatt-hour, the unit for energy stored in the battery. Broadly speaking, this cost is in the range of $100 to $300 per kilowatt-hour, depending on the manufacturer. The following price points have been reported recently in 2020:
- Nissan LEAF, 40 kWh battery, ~$5,500, equivalent to ~$137/kWh
- Chevrolet Volt, 16 kWh battery, ~$4,000, equivalent to ~$250/kWh
- Chevrolet Bolt, 66 kWh battery, ~$16,000, equivalent to ~$240/kWh
- Tesla is rumored to be producing their Li-ion batteries at $125/kWh
Installation costs cover the labor and equipment required to install the new battery. From a labor perspective, the work can take 3-5 hours. Altogether, the installation cost can run from $1,000 to $5,000. (All prices are estimates based on 2019 prices. Your costs may vary.)
EV Battery’s Second Life
After your old battery is removed from the vehicle, it usually enters a second life. Despite having less storage capacity, the battery can still serve a useful purpose. Old batteries are used in applications that are not nearly as taxing as powering a vehicle. For instance, a battery may be used for stationary storage to support your local utility company’s electric grid.
Next, let’s explore how electric car batteries will continue to add value long after their originally intended use.
Afterlife of Electric Car Batteries
As electric car adoption continues to gain momentum, used batteries pose a serious challenge to the environment. What do we do with all the discarded batteries? At the moment, there are two solutions: they can be recycled or repurposed.
Recycling must be handled properly, because toxic chemicals inside old batteries can lead to contamination of water and soil. As part of the recycling process, they are smelted to recover the lithium, cobalt, and nickel. However, this can be costly, so the repurposing of used batteries may be more cost-effective. Many EV batteries still have up to 70% of their capacity left, meaning they can be used for many other energy storage needs.
Automakers are exploring ways to profit from used batteries. In Japan, Nissan has repurposed batteries to power streetlights. In Paris, Renault has batteries backing up elevators. In Michigan, GM is using repurposed batteries from Chevy Volts to back up its data center.
VW recently opened its electric car battery recycling plant in Germany that can recycle 3,600 battery systems per year. Repurposed EV batteries can also be useful for storing solar energy or running electric bikes and other tools. Finding new ways to turn these used batteries into productive solutions will benefit businesses, the environment and consumers.
Next, take time to learn everything there is to know about charging electric vehicles by reading our Definitive Guide to Charging Electric Cars.
How Do You Charge an Electric Car?
We all know how to fuel a gasoline-powered car, but how do you charge an electric car? Is it as simple as plugging in a toaster, smartphone or laptop? Well, the short answer is, “yes, pretty much.” For those considering buying an electric car, one of the first questions is, how do you charge it up?
In this article, we’ll explore how to charge an electric vehicle (EV) and answer questions such as:
- What types of chargers are out there?
- What charger do I need for my home?
- What will it cost to get a home charger?
- Where can I find charging stations when on the road?
- How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
- How much range can I expect between charges?
Before jumping into how to charge an electric car, let’s review some of the charging basics.
EV batteries deliver power to a car’s electric motor by using energy that is stored inside the battery cells. When the battery is being charged, the electric flow is reversed to replenish the power used.
To charge an EV battery, a charging station is often installed and used at home. They can also be found in many public areas and used while traveling – often for a small fee. The time it takes to charge will vary based on the level of charger you use: Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 (also referred to as DC Fast Charging). EV charging stations are sometimes referred to as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). For simplicity, we’ll just refer to them as charging stations.
Level 1 Charging
The most basic plug-in method to recharge an EV battery is known as Level 1 charging. Many household appliances, from toasters to coffee makers, use this 110V standard outlet, also commonly known as a 120V outlet. The two names can be used interchangeably.
Level 1 is the simplest and most inexpensive way to charge your car. It also takes the longest. With Level 1, most cars charge at the rate of 3-7 miles of range per hour. For instance, a 2020 Nissan Leaf with a 149-mile range may take over 20 hours to fully charge. While Level 1 charging is slow, most drivers are not recharging the battery from zero each day. For people with short, local commutes, Level 1 charging should be enough.
For example, most electric cars today have a battery range that extends beyond 125 miles. In fact, many new EVs have a range of over 200 miles. Consider the 2020 Nissan Leaf S model, which has a range of 149 miles. Let’s assume you have a daily commute of 20 miles. An overnight charge (charging for eight hours) of 3-7 miles an hour would provide a 24 to 56-mile recharge every night. If the Leaf is mostly charged when you come home after work, this top-off would be enough.
If you drive a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), Level 1 charging at home is usually adequate. The battery of a PHEV is smaller than an EV and, as such, requires less time to recharge. To learn more about PHEVs, please check out our article on Plug-In Hybrids.
One huge advantage of Level 1 charging is that it doesn’t require any special equipment for at-home use. Automakers provide a connector kit when you buy a new electric vehicle. These connector kits simply plug into a basic household outlet on one end and connect to your car on the other. If you need to purchase one, they are inexpensive and easy to find. For help finding the best home charger for your car based on price, type and compatibility, use our Home Chargers tool.
Level 2 Charging
If speed and convenience are important to you, a Level 2 charger is the better choice. Similar to the power source for high-power home appliances, like a stove or clothes dryer, Level 2 chargers use a 240V power supply. Many EV drivers decide to install a Level 2 charging station in their home because it provides a faster charging time.
A Level 2 charger charges at a rate of 20-30 miles per hour. If we look at the same 2020 Nissan Leaf, recharging an empty battery to a full charge can take just six hours. Nissan recommends installing a Level 2 charging station at home, but it may not be necessary depending on your daily commute.
A Level 2 charging station costs between $350 to $1,000 for the hardware, plus the cost of hiring an electrician to install the station. The installation cost can vary based on the age of the home and whether the electrician needs to do any rewiring. There are several Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) manufacturers to choose from, including Chargepoint, ClipperCreek, Siemens, Enel X and others. EVSE manufacturers and some utilities can suggest installers as well.
Level 3 / DC Fast Charging (DCFC)
Level 3 chargers, also known as DC Fast Chargers (DCFC), can recharge an EV from zero to 80% in 30 minutes or less. For instance, the 2020 Nissan Leaf mentioned above can use a DC Fast Charger and fully recharge in about 30 minutes. There are also Tesla Supercharger stations that can charge even faster, but they are proprietary connectors that only work with Teslas.
Level 3 chargers use three common connectors: Combined Charging System (CCS) plug, CHAdeMO plug and the Tesla plug. The three connectors are different but serve the same purpose. Many public Level 3 charging stations support several formats but, depending on your vehicle, your car will support only one of the three connectors.
The CCS connection is often used for vehicles made by European and American vehicle brands, such as the BMW i3 and the Chevy Bolt. The CHAdeMO connection is used in Asian models like the Nissan Leaf and the Kia Soul. Last but not least, the Tesla plug is only available for Tesla vehicles.
Due to the complexity and cost, Level 3 chargers are primarily used for public charging and not at home. To give an idea, a typical Level 3 charging station can range from $10,000 to $50,000, not including installation. Although fast, it is not recommended to use Level 3 charging stations regularly, because they do negatively impact the life of the battery over time.
An electric car’s ability to accept electric power is dictated by its battery chemistry. That being said, not all EVs can use a Level 3 charger. To understand why, let’s explore how Level 3 is different from Level 2.
Level 2 chargers use AC current that is converted to DC inside the vehicle. In contrast, a Level 3 charger feeds DC electricity straight into the battery, without conversion. This allows the car to charge more rapidly. The charging station’s software regulates the flow of electricity, so it doesn’t overload the EV’s system and risk damaging the battery. It does this by reducing the power supply to a Level 2 as the state of charge reaches about 80 percent.
Level 3 charging should not be used as the primary source of charging. Continual use may accelerate battery degradation, resulting in loss of efficiency and lifespan of the battery pack.
Where Can You Charge an Electric Car?
Finding a place to recharge might be easier than you think. With several convenient options available, let’s explore where you can charge an electric vehicle: at home, at a public charging station and at work.
As mentioned above, electric cars can be charged at home with Level 1 or Level 2 chargers. A Level 1 charger has a simple cord like any other household appliance and does not require special installation. Level 2 chargers, on the other hand, operate at a higher voltage and do require a licensed professional electrician to perform a safe installation.
While charging at home will take care of most of your EV charging needs, it’s important to know about public charging, too. Public charging is usually at Level 2 or Level 3, and the cost of charging varies. Using our Charging Network Map, you can easily explore thousands of stations across the country. Many of these charging stations are privately managed while others are either state-owned or utility-owned.
To use public charging stations, it’s often required to register with the operating company or utility. There are various ways to use them: with a membership number or code, a charge card, a smartphone app or a combination.
EV charging at work has become an added perk that benefits everybody. It helps employers promote clean transportation and corporate sustainability efforts, and it helps employees charge conveniently and affordably. It can also benefit building owners, as it is a great way to future-proof their commercial property and bring in extra revenue. Many employers provide workplace charging at no cost, while some have a fee-based structure to offset capital or operational costs.
In addition, many states and local utility companies offer rebates to offset purchase and installation costs for commercial workplace charging. Depending on the business and its business model, it could be free to use or part of an extended retail charging network for which charging rates may be highly variable.
Examples of workplace charging can include local businesses, malls, university campuses, healthcare facilities, utilities, federal agencies and more.
How Do You Find an Electric Car Charging Station?
There are many ways to locate EV charging stations near you, whether you’re driving across country or taking a casual Sunday drive. Let’s explore four ways to find an EV charging station.
GreenCars Charging Network
Our Charging Network includes hundreds of locations and charging stations across the U.S. with no strings attached – just cables. Show up at any GreenCars Network location, highlighted on the map in green and yellow, to get Level 1, 2 or 3 charging. Other nationwide charging stations are also listed and highlighted in grey. We’ve got everything you need to get charged up and on your way!
You can find our Green Partners in Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia, with more coming soon.
PlugShare has a website and an app that provide EV charging station information across North America, Asia and Europe. It aggregates information regarding the EV charging networks, locations, charging fees, payment method, real-time information on usage and more. It provides information about all types of charging stations.
What is unique about PlugShare is that it is user-sourced, meaning there is a community of active members who contribute and update the database. In addition to public stations, they also show residential stations shared within neighborhoods.
ChargeHub provides information that is similar to PlugShare, with an app and a community. One unique feature is that it lets you send a message to other users through its app. This allows users to coordinate charging station time and provides a way to share resources, if needed.
Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC)
The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) is a U.S. Department of Energy database that shows an assemblage of public charging stations from Level 1 through Level 3. They also provide similar information that lets you filter by charger types, EVSE networks and connectors through zip codes.
How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?
The time it takes can vary from 30 minutes to 30 hours, depending on various factors:
- Level of charge (1, 2 or 3)
- Charging rate of vehicle
- Battery capacity
- Battery state
- Environmental factors
What You Need to Know
The level of charge used (level 1, 2 or 3) to replenish a battery will generally determine the speed at which an electric car can charge, but that’s not the only deciding factor. It’s important to note, too, that overall charging speed is limited by a vehicle’s maximum charging rate. Different makes and models have different maximum charging rates. For instance, if a vehicle has a maximum charging rate of 20kW per hour, and the charging station being used has a maximum charging rate of 40kW per hour, the vehicle will only charge at a maximum speed of 20kW per hour.
A battery’s capacity is the limit for how much power a battery can physically store. Electric cars outfitted with large batteries can hold more power and go further between charges but require more time to recharge from zero than batteries designed to hold less power. Similarly, a battery’s state of charge will impact how long it takes to recharge. It will take longer for a depleted battery to recharge than if that same battery already had a partial charge. Freezing temperatures will also slow down how fast an electric car charges and reduce its efficiency. Drivers may experience an overall reduction in electric driving range during extreme temperatures.
Charging on Road Trips
The fear of being stranded during a long road trip is known as Range Anxiety. However, there are many private and public efforts to add more charging stations. Private companies such as Electrify America, EVgo and ChargePoint continue to expand their charger networks.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are about 21,876 charging stations with 65,003 individual charging outlets across the United States and that is growing every day. Plus, roughly 80% of EV drivers charge at home and use their EV locally.
If traveling a long distance, many opt to use their gasoline-powered car. A roundtrip that might take eight hours in a gas-powered vehicle can easily take over 10 hours in an EV when you factor in charging time. There is also the possibility of having to wait for an available charging station. However, automakers continue to add more range to their cars, and the charging infrastructure continues to expand so that range anxiety will soon be a thing of the past.
What Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?
The cost to charge an EV depends on various factors, including location, time and rates. A person living in Nebraska can expect to pay a lot less to charge their electric car compared to a person in Hawaii where electricity rates are more expensive. EVs generally cost less to fuel than a comparable gasoline-powered car, because electricity rates tend to be more stable than gasoline prices.
For example, the average residential electricity rate in the U.S. is 12.85 cents per kWh (as of February 2020). This hasn’t changed much from five years ago when it was 12.29 cents per kWh. While local rates may have fluctuated more or less, the national average price has been stable. The average person driving an EV for 15,000 miles per year can expect to pay about $600 per year (or $50 per month) to charge.
Let’s assume that you’re paying 15.5 cents per kWh and are considering a 2020 Nissan Leaf with a battery range of 149 miles. To charge up to a 100-mile range will cost 30 kWh. If we take 30 and multiply that by 15.5 cents, we get a total cost of $4.65 per 100 miles of range.
If we compare to a gasoline-powered car, assuming a cost of $3.25 per gallon with a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon, that same 100-mile range would cost $13 per 100 miles. As you can see, the savings of an electric car really begin to add up over time.
When you consider other EV savings in the equation — including federal tax credits, state rebates and reduced maintenance costs — it’s clear that an EV can lead to substantial savings overall.
Cost of Home Charging
Like other commodities, electricity is priced at the intersection of a supply and demand curve. When demand is decreased, the cost of using electricity is reduced. When demand increases, so does the cost of using electricity. The best time to charge an electric car is typically at night, when most people are sleeping – which is convenient because you’re probably sleeping too!
Because they provide the power, electric utilities are incentivized to help their existing customers learn more about the benefits of EVs. As such, some utilities will provide special EV rates. These rates are only for customers with EVs and can reduce the cost of charging as well as the total cost of home electricity.
Some utilities offer a Time of Use (TOU) plan, allowing customers to take advantage of reduced rates at certain times – often at night. TOU rates are not specific to EV owners and, therefore, anyone can take advantage of the reduced rates. Many Level 2 chargers also have automatic systems that can be set up to charge EVs during the reduced-rate times. This is done so the homeowner can take advantage of reduced costs without having to remember exactly when to plug in.
Cost of Public Charging
With more electric cars on the road each day, public charging stations have become increasingly common. Many stations are part of a larger charging network that works with aggregators as well as manufacturers.
There are three main pricing models for public charging: pay-as-you-go, monthly subscription and free.
The pay-as-you-go option is the most common among drivers. Pricing is based on either dollar per kWh or simply by the hour. In a dollar per kWh scenario, rates can vary depending on several factors such as location, peak times or how the commercial owner of the property has set their rates. For instance, a mall may charge 38 cents per kWh. Around the corner, a similar charger may be priced at 18 cents a kWh. Another may simply be free. The hourly model is also used in some locations. For instance, instead of charging 49 cents per kWh, charging companies can have a standard $4.99 per hour charge.
Electric cars are increasingly looking like the future of motoring, which means we’re all going to have to get used to battery technology. If you don’t know your kilowatts from your kilowatt-hours it can be daunting at first, but it really doesn’t take long to master the jargon.
In this useful guide, we’ll explain how electric car batteries work, what to look for when buying an EV (electric vehicle), and how to identify cutting-edge battery tech against the stuff that’s already followed Betamax and floppy disks into the dustbin of history.
Are hydrogen fuel-cell cars the future?
What kind of batteries do electric cars use?
Most new electric cars on sale today use battery tech that’s fundamentally the same: hundreds of individual cells packed into modules of pockets to make one large battery. The biggest ones are massive, measuring a few metres long and weighing several hundred kilos; this is why most are placed under the floor inside a car’s chassis in what’s sometimes called a skateboard configuration.
How long do batteries in electric cars last?
If you’re considering an EV, it’s important you pick a car with a battery capacity big enough to suit your needs. If most of your driving is short hops or school runs around town, a smaller battery capacity will be fine.
A new breed of small electric cars, such as the Honda E, are arriving with relatively puny battery capacities. The Honda has a small 35kWh battery, enough for around 130 miles of range. That should be sufficient if you live in town, but many will want more range, which is why Jaguar equips its i-Pace with an 85kWh battery for a 292-mile claimed range.
Longevity, reliability and warranties
How long an EV battery lasts isn’t just a question of daily range, of course. Some buyers are worried about how long the battery itself will last – but all the evidence suggests that your car will not suffer a catastrophic battery death like your ageing mobile phone might.
There are so many cells in a typical EV battery that they retain capacity even after hundreds of thousands of miles; although they won’t perform as well as when box-fresh and new, they will keep holding charge for many, many years to come and the internet is full of high-mileage electric and hybrid cars still working well into their dotage. The expected electric car battery life is at least a decade and our advice is your car will fall apart before your battery fails.
Why are electric car batteries so expensive?
These huge batteries pack a lot of very expensive – and rare – metals in them, meaning they cost a lot of money. It’s the reason why electric cars are so expensive, compared with their more conventional petrol or diesel counterparts. That intensively mined lithium ain’t cheap…
Happily, the cost of batteries is gradually coming down, even if we’re some way off EVs becoming as cheap as petrol equivalents. Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner recently told CAR: ‘I do not see in the first half of this decade a good chance of a breakthrough in battery technology. We will see step-by-step incremental benefit with lithium-ion batteries. We predict a 2-3% improvement year-by-year in lithium-ion battery tech.
Who owns the battery in an electric car?
Most batteries are now included in the purchase price of an EV, but in the early days of electric cars, in the Noughties, some manufacturers would sell you the car but lease the battery separately.
Renault was one brand that did this, but this system has almost universally stopped now. It was a way of making EVs look cheaper at point of purchase – but you’d be tied to a monthly lease deal, paying finance on the battery much like you spread the cost of your mobile phone or Netflix over many months in a subscription deal.
It was a bit of a false economy and proved difficult to explain in the secondhand car market, where buyers were put off the idea of buying a car without having ownership of the battery.
Electric car batteries are rigorously tested and manufacturers put plenty of safety systems in place to make sure they’re safe. If you’ve spent the last few years driving around with highly flammable petrol or diesel stored in your fuel tank, there’s really nothing to worry about.
Yes, there are very high voltages involved, but passengers will never be exposed to dangerous shocks, and in any case the batteries are typically protected from impacts by being packaged low down in the middle of the car to prevent them from being damaged in a crash, which could cause a fire.
Environmental impacts? There are numerous studies suggesting that while an EV is more expensive to manufacture, it is in fact better for the environment over its whole lifecycle. And when an electric car reaches the end of the road, those valuable batteries can be removed and used to store energy – solar or off-peak mains-supplied – to power your home more efficiently. Smart energy supply systems are the next big thing, according to many industry watchers.