Do All Electric Cars Stop Charging Once the Battery is Fully Charged?

An electric car may seem a lot like a traditional combustion engine car; however, in reality, its mechanism and internal design are unique in just about every way you can imagine.

Unlike a traditional car that depends on a functional combustion engine and motor to remain usable, an electric car’s heart is its lithium-ion battery.

Hence, it is extremely important that you learn how to charge an electric car’s battery to save it from the permanent damages caused by overcharging.

Do All Electric Cars Stop Charging Once the Battery is Fully Charged?

If you are ready to change your car and want a more technologically advanced upgrade, it is high time you switch to an electric car.

An electric car will be just as fast and reliable as your combustion engine vehicle, and it will help you play your part in saving the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.

All you need to do is buy an electric car and learn how to charge its battery properly.

Although lithium-ion batteries can be overcharged, most electric car batteries and their charging systems are usually designed to prevent this from happening.

This means that even if you leave your electric car plugged into a charging source for an extended period (or even overnight), the battery will automatically stop charging when it reaches 100%.

However, electric car experts still encourage people to unplug an electric car once it reaches 90%.

At times, a battery fault or internal error can lead to overcharging, which will permanently damage the battery in many ways. 

Hence, continue reading this article to understand how an electric car’s battery works and what happens when it remains plugged in despite being fully charged.

Moreover, this article also sheds light on practices and tips that can help you charge your electric car’s battery in the most optimal and ideal way to limit the chances of permanent damage.

Do electric cars stop charging when their batteries are full
Do electric cars stop charging when their batteries are full

Let’s get started!

What Is the Battery in an Electric Car?

One of the most groundbreaking innovations of the modern-day automobile industry is the invention of battery-powered electric cars.

Not only has their commercial introduction helped the world steer away from the demand for fossil fuel reserves, but their growing use has also positively impacted the global environment and the quality of breathable air in many ways.

Although an electric car is usually far more expensive than a same-sized gasoline-powered vehicle, the high investment usually pays off through the extremely low running costs and relatively better performance.

However, although an electric car’s expensive make and futuristic design make its body highly durable and performance long-lasting, it is still susceptible to sustaining lasting damages that can bring down its usability and monetary value.

Hence, the buyer must understand how to keep their electric car safe from damage to ensure the high investment is worth it.

Just as a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle relies on its combustion engine, an electric car’s mobility and functionality depend on its chemical battery.

Almost all modern electric cars come with a massive lithium-ion battery pack that needs to be charged to keep the car mobile.

This is the same battery one can find in mobile phones, electric bikes, scooters, rechargeable kitchen devices, flashlights, etc.

However, the lithium-ion battery that is specifically designed for an electric car is far more technologically advanced and larger than the battery used in different everyday appliances.

Keep reading to learn what makes an electric car’s battery so important and how it works.

What Makes an Electric Car’s Battery so Important and How Does it Work?

According to electric car experts, the battery is the heart of the electric car, and overcharging it can significantly bring down the electric car’s worth.

Unlike a combustion engine vehicle that depends on burning fossil fuel to get energy, an electric car’s motor relies on its battery’s stored chemical energy.

An electric car’s lithium-ion battery comprises thousands of battery cells to maximize the charge storage capacity.

When an electric car is plugged into an electric power source, the flow of electrons into the battery triggers the formation of chemical compounds in the battery cells.

As a result, all the electric current that passes into the electric car’s battery gets converted into chemical energy for storage. Since the battery chemistry is usually lithium-ion, the charge storing capacity is high.

As the electric car drivers turn on their car and press the accelerator, the electric motor is automatically triggered to discharge the electric battery of its stored chemical energy.

The retrieved chemical energy is then converted to kinetic energy by the electric car’s motor, and the kinetic energy then gets supplied to the car’s tires via the energy transmitters.

Hence, if the battery cells will not convert the passing electrons to stored chemical energy, the motor will not be able to create any kinetic energy. Consequently, the electric car will not be able to gain any mobility. 

Moreover, suppose the battery cells are damaged, and their charge storing capacity is reduced. In that case, the insufficient stored chemical energy will not allow the electric car to go too far on a single charge.

Hence, if you wish to keep your electric car battery’s charging capacity and the range high, you must watch out for overcharging.

Do All Electric Cars Stop Charging Once the Battery is Fully Charged
Do All Electric Cars Stop Charging Once the Battery is Fully Charged

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How Can an Electric Car’s Battery Get Overcharged?

As discussed above, although an electric car’s battery has lithium-ion chemistry, it does not get overcharged too easily.

This happens because even though your electric car’s battery is the same as your mobile phone’s, it is technologically superior in every way.

Hence, although your mobile phone’s battery may get overcharged after being plugged in for too long, your electric car’s modern battery and its unique mechanisms will ensure that it does get overcharged.

When you plug in a discharged electric car to a power source, electrons will flow into its battery cells till maximum charge storage is achieved.

As soon as the battery’s charging level reaches 100%, the battery cells will no longer allow any more electrons to flow into its body.

Hence, even when the fully charged electric car’s battery is still plugged into a power source, the chances of the battery allowing surplus electrons to pass through or overcharging are eliminated.

So, why do electric car experts advise unplugging a fully charged electric car battery when it is theoretically impossible to overcharge it?

Although the electric car’s battery is designed to stop getting charged once maximum charge storage has been achieved, some internal fault or manufacturing error can lead to overcharging.

Due to the internal fault, more electrons will continue to get pumped into the battery cells. As a result, the additional electric energy will overheat the battery cells and fry the battery’s major components.

Suppose this is practiced frequently or continued for a long time. In that case, the overheating will lead to irreversible battery damage, and the fried battery cells will permanently lose their ability to store an electric charge.

Keep reading to learn why that is a big problem.

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Why is an Overcharged Electric Car Battery a Big Problem?

Although it is not common for an electric car’s battery to get overcharged, if it does happen, it can become a major problem for the electric car’s owner.

Some of the ways an overcharged electric car battery can be problematic are as follows:

An Electric Car’s Overcharged Battery Can be Dangerous

In general, most electric car batteries can get fully charged within three to eight hours, depending on the size and wattage of the battery.

If your electric car’s battery is faulty or has a manufacturing error, keeping it plugged into a charging source even after it is fully charged will result in overheating.

At times, the overheating leads to a gas being released into the battery, which causes it to swell. If one continues to overcharge their electric car’s battery frequently, the produced gas may leak out of the battery.

If the gas manages to catch a spark, the battery will catch fire and explode. Since lithium-ion is highly flammable, the explosion can be enough to destroy the entire car, blow up a garage, and fatally injure any individual standing next to it.

This danger is exactly why a majority of airplanes and cargo ships have limited the size of lithium-ion batteries that can be boarded for transportation.

One single overcharged battery explosion can bring down an entire plane or sink the whole ship. 

The Battery Damage Will Lead to Expensive Repair and Replacement Costs

Not only is an electric car’s battery its most vital electrical component, it is also its most expensive part. Without a battery, one can buy an electric car for almost half its price.

Hence, if you have managed to overcharge your electric car’s lithium-ion battery, and you continue to do it frequently, the damage it sustains will be enough to drastically bring down the electric car’s performance.

As a result, you will have no option but to incur the extremely expensive battery repair and replacement costs if you wish to continue using your electric car.

The Damaged Battery will Bring Down the Electric Car’s Resale Value

Most people are willing to pay the high purchase price of an electric car as they see it as a great investment. Unlike a traditional combustion engine car, the average depreciation of an electric car is significantly low.

Hence, an electric car is able to retain its quality and performance for a long period. This allows its resale value to stay high, making it a wonderful investment.

However, if you have carelessly overcharged the battery to the point that the electric car’s performance and range have been damaged, its resale value will go down drastically.

This will result in a financial loss and may also cause a lot of psychological stress to the car’s owner.

An Electric Car with an Overcharged Battery Will Not Make It Too Far

Beyond all the shiny metallic bodies and futuristic features, an electric car’s primary function is to make transportation possible.

If you overcharge the battery enough to overheat and fry most of its battery cells, its charge storing capacity would be permanently reduced.

As a result, the electric car’s range will drop, and you will not be able to cover enough distance on a single charge.

Moreover, due to the reduced battery charging, the electric car’s top speed will also go down, and reaching your destination on time will become more challenging.

An Electric Car with an Overcharged Battery will Lead to Higher Running Costs

Since an overcharged battery will reduce an electric car’s range, you will have to recharge the battery more frequently than before.

As a result, the overall running costs will go up, and you will no longer be able to benefit from an electric car’s promise of low charging costs.

An Electric Car with an Overcharged Battery May Result in Range Anxiety

Many people who are well aware of their electric car’s battery damage usually experience a lot of range anxiety during their drive.

They are constantly anxious and worried about their battery getting discharged during a trip which may cause them to get stranded in a remote area.

This range of anxiety affects their state of mind and makes driving a very stressful activity.

should i unplug my electric car charger when not in use
should i unplug my electric car charger when not in use

The Electric Car Owner May Revert Back to Using Gasoline-Powered Vehicles

Once the electric car’s battery has sustained a lot of permanent damage by continuous and frequent overcharging, making it anywhere on a single charge will become difficult.

Eventually, the poor range, low top speed, and non-stop range anxiety will change your perception of electric cars, causing you to revert back to using a gasoline-powered personal car or public transport.

As a result, you will once again be contributing to increasing environmental pollution, and your carbon footprint will start increasing again.

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Final Thoughts

Having an electric car is an absolutely fantastic luxury, as long as you know how to care for its lithium-ion battery.

If you unknowingly or deliberately continue to overcharge your electric car’s battery, it may get overheated, and its battery cells will fry, leading to a reduced charge storing capacity and range.

Hence, you need to be attentive towards charging your electric car’s battery properly to ensure your investment’s functionality, monetary value, and market worth stay high.

Some tips for charging your electric car’s battery properly are as follows:

  • Always use the manufacturer-provided charging cord and try to use the slow at-home charging as often as possible.
  • Read the instructions manual carefully to get informed regarding your electric car’s optimal charging duration.
  • Set up an alarm to ensure you do not forget to unplug your electric car on time.
  • Never use a fault power source that has frequent and unpredictable power surges.

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