How Long Can You Leave an Electric Car Without Driving it?

Buying a brand-new electric car is no small purchase. As a matter of fact, nearly all electric cars are significantly more expensive than similar gasoline-powered vehicles.

Hence, if you have finally saved up enough to purchase the futuristic automobile, you need to learn how to care for the electric car’s battery so that its resale value and performance stay high.

One super important tip to follow is to never leave a discharged electric car battery sitting idle for too long, as doing so will permanently reduce its charge storing capacity and range.

How Long Can You Leave an Electric Car Without Driving it?

If you have finally got your hands on an electric car, there is no need for you to be using your old traditional combustion engine vehicle.

Instead, you need to trust the newer and more advanced electric automobile technology to offer you a high-quality ride, top speed, and an excellent traveling range.

Moreover, since you have gotten the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and play your part in controlling harmful environmental emissions, you should not be driving your old gasoline-powered car ever again.

Hence, if you have an electric car and driving around is a part of your life, there is no need for you to leave your electric vehicle without driving it.

Not only will it be a waste of your investment, but leaving a discharged electric car battery idle for too long will also cause permanent damage to its battery cells, leading to expensive repair and replacement costs. 

However, if you have to leave town for a while and you cannot take your electric car with you, or if you have purchased a new electric car and you prefer driving the new one (basically, you have more than one electric vehicle), you need to follow the proper guidelines for leaving the electric automobile unused for a prolonged period.

If you follow the proper procedure, not only will the electric car’s battery not sustain any temporary or permanent damage, but your electric car will also be able to retain its quality, functionality, and monetary value.

Hence, if you plan on leaving your electric car in your garage, unused for a long time, keep reading to know how long you need to prepare its battery for storage, why it is important to store a discharged electric battery, and what happens to an unused battery. 

Moreover, the article also sheds light on tips you can follow to ensure your electric battery does not sustain any damage when you leave the car in the garage for an extended period.

Should I Leave a Discharged Electric Car Sitting Idle for Months
Should I Leave a Discharged Electric Car Sitting Idle for Months

Let’s get started!

How Long Can You Leave an Electric Car Unused?

If you have an electric car, you should prioritize it over all other gasoline-powered vehicles. However, if you need to leave the car unattended because you’re traveling, ensure you do not have to go away for too long.

However, this brings us down to the question, how long is too long?

Will a week of no usage be enough to bring down an electric car battery’s range and value, or can one leave their electric car parked for over a month and still return to no permanent battery damage?

Instead of testing your electric car’s battery to check its limits, it is better to use the information and guidance provided by electric car experts and manufacturers.

According to most electric car experts, leaving your electric automobile idle for more than fourteen days is not advisable.

Ideally, you should take your electric car for a quick drive on the tenth day to avoid any permanent damage.

Even driving the car for a few miles after ten days of no usage will be enough to prevent the battery from dying and ensure that it can maintain a charge.

However, if you still have not driven the car after fourteen days, the battery will begin to lose its charge, and its liquid will start drying up.

Eventually, the battery will have lost most of its capacity, range, and expected life in a month or two of no usage.

This will make your electric car’s battery unreliable and unsuitable for long commutes as it will require frequent recharging breaks.

The frequent recharging will significantly push up your overall running costs and will prove to be a big problem when commuting through remote areas with scarce public EV charging stations.

Hence, if you have an electric car and want your investment to retain its value and worth for a long time, you need to be attentive and careful about its battery’s needs.

To do this, you need to ensure that your electric car is turned on and driven every ten days, even if you have to drop the car keys at a neighbor’s or friend’s house before traveling.

These small yet powerful measures will protect the battery against any lasting damages and keep your electric car’s usability and monetary value high.

Continue reading below to learn in detail what happens when the electric car is left parked in the garage for too long.

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What Happens if You Drive an Electric Car that has Been Sitting Idle for Too Long?

Unlike a gasoline-powered vehicle with a combustion engine, an electric car comes with an electric engine comprising a lithium-ion chemical battery and an electric motor.

The chemical battery consists of thousands of battery cells that store electric charge in the form of chemical energy.

As soon as an electric car’s lithium-ion battery is connected to a power source, a surge of electrons flows through the battery’s terminals, charging them up.

Like all lithium-ion batteries, your electric car’s battery must always maintain a charge. Every time it is connected to a power source, the surge of fresh electrons recharges the battery cells and keeps the battery fluid up.

Suppose you leave your electric car on its own for too long, without charging its battery even once during this period. In that case, its battery’s expected life, quality, and performance will drop.

This happens when the battery fluid inside the lithium-ion battery begins to dry up after a prolonged period of no use.

Once the battery fluid has dried up, the battery’s total lifespan, capacity to store charge, and expected range will drop permanently.

If all of the battery fluid dries up, it will become tough to revive the battery and make it usable again.

Eventually, suppose the electric car owner will want to use their electric automobile again. In that case, they will have to go through the hassle of paying the expensive costs of battery repair or replacements.

Usually, in such situations, due to the extensive damage, battery repair is almost as expensive as purchasing a new battery.

Hence, people either have to make another massive financial investment by purchasing a new electric battery for their car or simply revert to using their previous means of transport.

If they go back to using a gasoline-powered personal car or public transport, not only will their traveling costs go up drastically, but their will once again contribute to increasing environmental emissions and global warming.

Moreover, if the electric car’s battery is in poor condition and has lost most of its range, resale of such a car will become extremely challenging.

Even if the owner can sell off their electric car, their payment will be significantly lower than what they had initially paid.

How Long Can You Leave an Electric Car Without Driving it
How Long Can You Leave an Electric Car Without Driving it

This is because any buyer will have to buy a new battery in addition to the car.

Hence, if you wish to avoid all these situations, it is better to keep your electric car in use as much as possible and give its battery a chance to get the electrons running every ten days.

However, if you have no other option but to leave your electric car at home, unused, for an extended period, there are ways to minimize battery damage and keep your electric car’s value high.

Continue reading below to learn the top tips for leaving your electric car for an extended period. 

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Top Tips for When You Have to Leave Your Electric Car for an Extended Period

If you plan on leaving the country for a few months, or you are temporarily moving to another part of the world for work or your studies, chances are you might not take your electric car with you.

However, just because you are obliged to leave home, your electric car should not suffer the consequences.

Follow the excellent tips mentioned below to protect your electric car’s battery from any lasting damage every time you have to leave it for an extended period:

  • The most important thing you can do is charge your electric car’s battery before leaving it for an extended period.
  • Every time you store away an electric car with a discharged battery for a long time, the battery’s fluid gets dried up quickly and it permanently loses its charge.
  • Hence, if you have no option but to leave the car behind, charge up its battery between 60 to 80% using the slow, at-home charging method, before parking it away in your garage.
  • Doing so will prevent the battery fluid from drying up, and your electric car’s battery will be able to retain its charge for multiple months.
  • You can also charge up the battery up to 80%, remove it, and store it away separately.
  • According to electric car experts, this is an excellent tip that protects the battery’s range for a long time.
  • Electric cars are extremely modern and technologically advanced automobiles. Hence, a majority of them already come with features to protect the battery in such situations.
  • One such feature or mode that is found in a majority of modern electric cars is the ‘Deep Sleep’ or ‘Power Save’ mode.
  • Whenever the electric car is parked in this mode, its energy utilization is minimized and the battery is able to retain its charge for a very long period.
  • Hence, if you have to leave your electric car, activate its deep sleep mode and leave it without any worries.
  • As mentioned above, the battery of an electric car is its most vital and sensitive component. Hence, you need to be careful about the external temperature when parking your electric car for a long time.
  • If the temperature will be too high, the battery fluid might get overheated and lose some of its charges.
  • On the other hand, if the electric car is parked in freezing conditions, the battery fluid might freeze. Eventually, when normal temperatures will be restored, the battery fluid will have lost a majority of its charge storing capacity and range.
  • Hence, the best tip to avoid these situations is to park your electric car in a temperature regulated garage to avoid the external temperature from going too high or too low.
  • Moreover, parking it in the garage will also be the safest option.
  • Furthermore, check the air pressure of your electric car, and ideally inflate the tires before leaving.
  •  Lastly, the final thing to take care of before leaving your electric car is that you check or renew its insurance.
  • This way, even if the battery gets damaged by uncontrollable factors, the insurance can protect you against a major financial loss.
Discharged electric car battery
Discharged electric car battery

While the tips mentioned above will prove to be excellent for a period of four to six months, you need to make other arrangements if you plan on leaving the car for a year or more.

In such circumstances, it is best to leave your electric car to a friend or a family member, and instruct them to use the car once every ten days.

Moreover, you can also rent your electric car to your friend or family. This way your electric car will remain in use and you will also be able to make some extra money on the side.

Furthermore, if you are leaving for multiple years, you can also ship your electric car to your new location.

Final Thoughts

In today’s economic conditions and rising fossil fuel prices, having an electric car is an incredible luxury not many people have the opportunity to afford.

However, if you are privileged enough to own an electric car, you need to ensure you take great care of its battery, even when you do not have to use it. Doing so, will allow the battery’s lifespan, charge storing capacity, and range to stay high, which in turn will also keep the electric car’s monetary worth, usability, and value high as well.

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