Should You Charge EVs After Every Trip?

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - February 29, 2024

With more drivers turning in their gas-powered vehicles for all-electric cars, a lot of new EV owners are looking at a steep learning curve with coming to grips on how to charge an EV, when to charge an EV, and how often to charge an EV. Understanding the intricacies of EV ownership can be difficult, but Jason Fenske with Engineering Explained is here to help. In a recent video, Fenske outlined three common mistakes that EV owners should avoid to maximum the life of their EV’s battery.

In the 13-minute video, Fenske outlines three rules that EV owners should follow. These include not parking the vehicle with a full battery pack for a long period of time, waiting until the EV’s battery is dead to charge it, and charging it to 100% regularly. All three of these rules will help EV owners avoid battery degradation, which can require a pricey battery replacement.

Fenske, as usual, takes an engrossing look into why EV owners should follow these three rules. The video is a must-watch for EV owners, as there’s a lot of good information here, like small, frequent charges are better than infrequent, full-depth charges. In other words, you should (if you can) charge your EV after every trip.

Mercedes-Benz Charging Port

The reason for why charging regularly is better for an EV's battery has to deal with the actual battery composition. In Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries, the NMC electrode particle is made up of many small crystallites that expand and shrink as lithium travels between the cathode and anode. Over time, this process can result in cracks within the crystallites, leading to Cathode Electrolyte Interface (CEI) formation. This refers to the process where the useful materials within the battery are consumed, resulting in battery degradation.

According to Fenske, the growth of crystals within the NMC electrode particle is proportional to the depth of discharge. A trip that sees an EV’s battery go from 60% charged to 40% charged only used 20% of the vehicle’s total battery, while waiting until the vehicle has 0% range left has used up 100% of the battery. In this comparison, a lot less cracking will occur within the crystals by keeping the depth of discharge to a minimum.

In the real world, if an EV driver were to keep their electric car’s battery between 40% and 60%, they would be able to travel 800,000 miles before the battery reached 85% degradation. Only using 20% of an EV’s battery pack, though, is nearly impossible for a lot of owners. So, what can EV owners do? Plug in your EV after every trip, regardless of how short the trip was.

Source: InsideEVs, YouTube

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, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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