Electric cars are the current trend in the car industry, and they may without a doubt continue to grow in popularity. In fact, there was a time when there were around a dozen or so electric car manufacturers, and the industry was hugely profitable. But the entry of some notable companies, such as Tesla, changed the game.
Battery life and range are the two most important factors for electric car owners. Most people don’t seem to know much about battery life or how they can keep a check on it.
But figuring out what battery capacity you’ll need is not the only important thing you need to do. You also need to consider the size and placement of that battery, the car’s weight, and all the different controls your vehicle requires.
The technology behind the electric car battery is rapidly changing and evolving. It’s essential to know how to choose the finest battery for your specific electric car so you can get the most out of it.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to select a battery for an electric car.
How Does an Electric Car Battery Work?
A battery is a lifeline for your electric car. It is what keeps you going, even when the fuel is no longer available. A battery has a lifespan.
This lifespan is determined by many factors, including the size of the battery, how often it’s used, and how it’s used. And these batteries are the heart and soul of your electric car.
You’ve heard the buzz on electric cars, but the question you might be asking is, how does an electric car battery work?
The function of an electric car battery is similar to that of a regular battery. A battery converts chemical energy into electricity using electrochemical cells.
Electric car batteries store energy that is drawn from the physical movement of electrons. As an electron travels down a wire, it passes a metal wire filament that is connected to a powerful, high-voltage battery cell.
When the battery cell is charged, electrons flow through the wire and you have electric current. Electric current is just another name for electricity.
The battery will get charged when your car draws electrical energy from the battery, primarily by moving a motorized vehicle or through a power-generating unit such as a wind turbine or solar panel.
Read Are Electric Car Charging Stations Free?
What Type of Battery Does an Electric Car Use?
Batteries have revolutionized the way we use energy. Electric cars have some clear benefits over traditional combustion-based cars. However, you need to take into account some common considerations when choosing an electric car battery.
They are now giving people access to the voltage generated by an internal combustion engine just by plugging in. But to do this, you need a battery, so what kind of battery should you use?
Now that we’ve discussed the purpose of an electric car battery, let’s look at the different types of batteries available.
1. Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are used in most electric cars. This type of battery is not only used in automobiles but is also used in electronic gadgets, including laptops and mobile phones.
They have better energy efficiency and temperature performance when compared to other electric car charging batteries. This is one of the significant advantages that most batteries lack.
Furthermore, lithium-ion batteries have a high power-to-weight ratio, which means they can withstand a huge amount of energy.
If your electric car has this battery, it can survive up to 8 to 10 years in rough climates, whereas 12 to 14 years in mild climates. The majority of its parts can be recycled, which benefits the environment.
Another important feature this battery offers is that it does not require much maintenance to maintain its level of performance. You can save your extra bucks on battery recovery.
The battery is made up of thousands of lithium-ion cells, allowing you to travel for long distances without recharging it.
The biggest drawback of these types of batteries is that your battery can explode if not treated with care while dismantling the battery.
Read Can You Recycle Electric Car Batteries?
2. Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries
Another name on the list is nickel-metal hydride batteries. This type of battery is mostly seen among hybrid car users, but they are also used in electric cars.
Its long-lasting battery gives it an advantage over lithium-ion. Their performance is unaffected by the weather, be it bitterly cold or scorching hot.
Like every other battery, this type of battery comes with a few drawbacks, one of which is its ability to charge. When compared to Lithium-ion batteries, they take longer to charge and discharge.
Due to their frequent charging and discharging cycles, they require a separate cooling system. They need huge batteries to provide the necessary power; therefore, size becomes a major concern.
The primary benefit Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries offer is that they can be easily recycled due to the considerable amount of nickel present in batteries.
Read What Happens if an Electric Car Gets Wet?
3. Lead Acid Batteries
A lead-acid battery makes an electric car rechargeable because it has liquid electrolytes and a lead storage component.
Compared to other types of electric car batteries, this type is very affordable and capable of holding more energy.
Lead-acid batteries are usually found in commercial vehicles as they are now only used as a backup storage system to power other battery loads.
Due to some design constraints, it has a limited capacity, but it is simple to manufacture and recycle.
However, it can be used to power electric traction motors. There’s no safety hazard associated with this type of battery as it does not catch fire while dismantling.
When it comes to limitations, the first is that the battery has a shorter lifespan than both lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries. It doesn’t perform well in cold weather, so it is often considered inadequate for electric cars.
The right choice of the battery should depend on a range of factors, including the car model and the owner’s battery needs.
As part of the process of selecting a battery, it is necessary to consider whether to opt for a lead-acid, nickel-metal-hydride, or Lithium-ion battery.
Read How Do Electric Car Batteries Work?
Steps to Select an Electric Car Battery
The decision to purchase a new plug-in car often comes with a list of questions. How much range do I need? What size? Do I want range or power?
To answer these questions and more, we’ve compiled a battery guide to help you understand the technology and make an informed purchase.
1. Driving Range
The range of your electric car determines the choice of your electric car battery. How will your car benefit you if your battery runs out of charge before you reach your destination?
An electric car battery’s capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), the same unit used to calculate your energy bill. To calculate how much battery capacity you’ll need for an electric car, you’ll need to figure out how far you want to go without charging.
Consider an example of the top-notch brand, Tesla. A Tesla car consumes 0.2 kWh of energy per km. Multiply this figure (0.2) by the desired number of kilometers to determine its battery capacity.
In the same way, you can determine how much battery capacity your car will need to reach a destination.
Read Are Electric Cars Better for Environment
2. Battery Space
A battery’s capacity should be sufficient enough to take you from point A to point B without running out of charge in the middle of the road. This is why the size of an electric car battery is larger when compared to those powered by gasoline.
Space is another constraint that should be kept in mind. This can influence your decision to purchase a particular battery type. The battery is placed underneath the interior carriage.
Once you know the kWh required for the battery, you can easily figure out how many battery modules you’ll need in parallel to meet the required energy.
To avoid any difficulty connecting these modules, make sure the rows of modules must be a multiple of the number of modules connected in parallel.
This way, you can estimate the overall capacity and power (through voltage) of your electric car battery. These formulas are going to help you in this regard:
- Total Capacity = Capacity per battery x number of batteries connected in parallel x nominal voltage
- Peak power = peak current per battery x batteries connected in parallel x nominal voltage
- Continuous power = continuous current per battery x number of batteries connected in parallel x nominal voltage
Another significant factor to consider is the warranty. Some manufacturers will cover your battery expense against complete failure.
Companies like Tesla and Volkswagen, on the other hand, will support you even if your battery falls below a particular threshold within the warranty time.
According to the federal legislation of the US, the minimum warranty period of your electric car battery should be 8 years.
Battery repairs are going to cost you some extra bucks, and you do not want that, do you? To save your money, make sure you are not doing any of the following:
- Taking non-standard ways of charging
- Not performing necessary repairs
- Non-professional technicians causing damage during repairs
- Lifting your electric car underneath the battery
- Incorrectly opening the battery coolant
- Incorrectly installing software or updates on firmware
4. Battery Replacement
What if your battery gets damaged for some reason, and you need to replace it? Most manufacturers are attempting to address this issue by extending the battery life of electric cars, reducing the requirement for battery replacement.
Tesla is developing an electric car that will last a million miles and not need to be replaced.
However, this does not apply to older electric car models. If the damage occurs under the warranty period, you can get it repaired from the service center. But if it does not fall into the warranty criteria, it’s time to get a new one.
Changing your battery is the same as giving your electric car a fresh start. The outdated battery may be used as a backup supply for your local utility’s grid.
Read How to Make Your Battery Last a Long Time
The best way to buy electric car batteries is to consider the type of vehicle and how it will be used. Look for a battery with higher amp ratings, especially for vehicle applications. And make sure the battery offers plenty of protection from overcharge, overcurrent, and short circuits.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have listed down a few questions that are mostly asked about how to select a battery for an electric car.
The common factors that impact Lithium-ion battery’s health include:
2. High temperatures
3. Operating at a high and low state of charge
4. High electric current
Mostly, battery coverage of an electric car is around 8 years or 100,000 miles, but this can vary depending on the manufacturer and country you are residing in.
The most expensive metals are found in the cathodes, which is the key limiting factor in battery performance.
It depends on the battery’s capacity. The average weight of an electric car battery is around 200-300 kg. But for high-performance electric cars, the weight of a battery is about half a ton.
An electric car’s battery is very durable, so you won’t have to replace it too often. Furthermore, the service provider recommended by the car’s manufacturer will replace your battery.
Related electric car articles:
- What to Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?
- How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car
- How to Charge Your Electric Car On Road-Trip
- Solar Electric Car Charger
- Best Extension Cord for Charging Electric Cars
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.