As we discussed earlier, it's possible that your EV's battery will lose some capacity over time. There are some good habits that, if you practice them, can help your battery stay healthy and retain more range as the years go by.
Keep in mind, a car is ultimately meant to be driven and some degradation is inevitable. EV owners generally shouldn’t worry too much about this, or treat these suggestions as hard and fast rules. These are simply some best practices to be mindful of, and that your battery will thank you for.
We're all familiar with the idea of a remote starter; simply push a button on your car's key fob to start the engine, so that the cabin will be warm or cool before we leave home.
There is a similar concept with EVs called preconditioning. To precondition your EV, it must be plugged in. Using power from the plug (and not your EV battery), preconditioning will:
and more importantly...
EV batteries are a bit like you and me, in that they're not terribly happy when performing in extreme temperatures. Allowing the car to actively warm or cool your battery to the optimal temperature before operating can ensure you get the most efficiency out of your daily drive, while also reducing the amount of stress on your battery over the long term.
Some cars allow you to precondition with the tap of a button on your key fob, or in your car's mobile app. Some EVs will let you program a recurring schedule (say you leave for work every morning at 7am, you can set the car to begin preconditioning automatically each day at 6:45am).
The current generation of EV batteries can be damaged if they are ever fully discharged (to 0%). Most EVs will account for this, and build-in some protective buffer between when the car tells you it's at 0% and when it's actually at 0%.
That means when your EV hits 0% state of charge, the battery may not actually be out of juice. At 0% the car will still prevent you from driving any further (shutting down all systems into a deep sleep to prevent further discharge) but there is likely still some charge left to protect the health of the battery until you're able to plug in (which you'll want to do, asap). If the battery ever did truly run flat, it would be trouble.
Much like 0% charge may not actually be a true 0%, the same is likely true when the battery is full. Lithium Ion batteries don't like to sit around fully charged for long periods of time. Regularly charging to 100% can cause more degradation to happen faster. For this reason, it's recommended that you treat 80% as your daily "full charge" level, and only charge to 100% when you know you'll need that extra 20% worth of mileage for a long trip. Some EVs will allow you to set your charging limit at 80%, which will allow the car to automatically stop charging when it hits that level.
Your battery is happiest when plugged in, so it is healthier for a battery to remain plugged-in when not in use. This is especially true if the car is going to sit around for extended periods.
Fast-charging stations are necessary for EV ownership, and you shouldn’t hesitate to use them. You should be aware, however, that these plugs are more stressful on your battery and the more you use them, the more likely it is that you lose more range to degradation.
If you've just had a session of "spirited" driving, your battery temp may be high. Charging your car when your battery is hot can wear on it. Some EVs will adjust their battery's temperature before charging IF the car knows that charging is intended (like if you have a charging stop along your GPS route). Other cars will simple slow your charging speed until the battery temperature adjusts. Still, it's good practice to let your battery cool down a bit before charging it.
If you’re going away on vacation or leaving the car stored for an extended period of time, it’s best to leave it plugged in and charged with a charge limit set around 50%. Keep in mind that if you leave a car stored without plugging it in, that battery will lose charge to vampire drain over time. You wouldn’t want to put yourself in a position where the car is back at home losing range daily while you’re in a far away place unable to charge it. If you're not able to charge your car while going away for an extended period of time, you'll want to shut off as many car features as you can (such as cabin climate protection, security monitoring systems, etc).