Should You Charge EVs To 100%?

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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

Mainstream electric vehicles have been on sale for roughly 14 years now, but there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding EVs. Most of the mystery surrounding EVs is in regard to an electric car’s battery pack, which isn’t that surprising since automakers have been quiet about the specifics of battery composition, manufacturing, and degradation. In a new video, Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained breaks down three common mistakes that EV owners make that can ruin their car’s battery pack.

The roughly 13-minute video outlines three rules for EV owners to follow, which include: don’t store your car’s battery at 100% for long periods of time, don’t wait until the EV is dead to charge it, and don’t charge to 100%. We should point out that these rules are specifically meant as pieces of guidance for EVs with Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries. All three of these tips are meant to help reduce battery degradation, which is crucial for owners, as a degraded battery could require a large amount of money to replace.

We’re not engineers like Fenske is, so we’re not going to do a deep dive into all of the technical aspects of why EV owners should follow these three rules. But we do think it’s important to shed more light on the third rule: not charging an EV too 100% often, as it tends to be the one that throws most EV owners for a loop.

Cars Charging at Tesla Charging Station

Charging an EV to 100% makes sense. You get the most range that way and you can travel further without having to stop to recharge on a long trip. But Fenske claims that EV owners should only charge to 75% on a regular basis. For those long road trips, charging to 100% on the night before is a good way to get maximum range for the long drive.

Charging up to 100% regularly affects capacity retention, or the amount of electricity the batteries can store. Filling up your EV’s battery pack to 100% over time can also lead to oxygen release within the battery, which results in degradation over time. Charging at 75% helps maintain battery retention and stops batteries from avoiding a “plateau” at the 100% state of charge that occurs because of a large volume change that can also lead to cracking.

That might be why most automakers recommend charging to 80% and why charging rates greatly decrease once an EV hits 80% when plugged into a charger. It’s an attempt to preserve battery life from the automaker and charging station’s side of things. Of course, EV owners who don’t have access to a charger at home may find that it’s highly inconvenient to charge to 75% or 80% regularly. In that case, Fenske recommends charging to a percentage that you feel comfortable with, keeping in mind that lower is better for battery life.

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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