Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night?

Some EV drivers in the United States constantly fret about running out of battery power without a charging station nearby and wonder whether they should charge their cars every night. No is the simplest response to the query.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t charge your electric vehicle every evening. Most of the time, it is not required. The routine of charging an electric automobile at night might reduce the battery pack’s lifespan. It’s vital to remember that you should always adhere to the battery charging instructions provided in the owner’s handbook of your automobile.

Is it Safe to Charge an EV Every Night?

Our lives are incorporating electric cars at a respectable rate. You certainly know someone who recently purchased one, or maybe you even purchased one yourself. However, there are several flaws in this novel method of movement.

One of the primary drawbacks is shorter ranges, which arise from the fact that battery charging takes significantly longer than the usual procedure of refueling internal combustion vehicles at standard gas stations. This might result in “range anxiety” when we charge our automobile as much as possible to ensure that we always have the maximum amount of available miles.

Have you noticed that you spend the entire night charging your car and are unsure if this is the ideal practice for maintaining battery life? Or maybe you’re worried about your security?

Currently, electric car batteries can deliver enough energy to go more than 370 miles. Large autonomy, however, means being linked to the electric grid for a longer period. Battery capacity for electric cars (EVs) may reach up to 75 kWh, whereas those for plug-in electric vehicles are typically about 15 kWh.

You could have questioned if such lengthy charging could result in mishaps with such strong batteries. Simply put, no. Charge controllers, built inside batteries, ensure the battery is unplugged before it sustains any harm. The best option, though, might not be to charge your automobile overnight.

Over the past several decades, battery technology has seen significant development. In modern times, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries predominate over nickel-based batteries in battery-powered electronics. Several examples of its extensive application include cell phones, solar energy storage, electric bikes, and electric vehicles.

The fundamental benefit of lithium-ion technology, which has contributed to its widespread manufacture, is that it offers a long-lasting energy storage method. However, the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries is decreasing.

However, the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries declines based on two factors: the number of cycles completed and the amount of time spent at and below 20%.

The number of cycles will likely grow if you charge your car every night, and keeping the battery outside the 20 to 80 percent range (both extremes are dangerous) may shorten its lifespan and reduce range. If your automobile is plugged in all night, it will probably use up all of its capacity, which will be bad for your batteries.

How do you identify whether or not you need to charge your car every night? Your driving habits will be the first indicator. The typical person drives 37 miles each day on average. This type of mileage is readily manageable for every electric vehicle on the market. Today, every electric vehicle available boasts a range of at least 200 miles.

So, when to charge every night versus when not to charge every night?

You do not need to charge your automobile every night if you only go approximately 37 miles every day. Before your battery starts to run low, you can travel 200 miles without any problems. The batteries in electric cars are made particularly to maintain their charge for a long time.

As a result, if your automobile is not driven, it won’t charge much. Therefore, the typical individual doesn’t need to charge their automobile every night. It will be best for the battery if you wait to charge it until it is 20 percent charged. Regular and unneeded charging might reduce the battery’s overall life.

There are certain persons who defy this generalization. This category includes those that drive a lot more than the typical person. People who travel extensively, whether for work or pleasure, may use up most or all of their daily charge.

You are forced to charge your automobile every night in this situation. Depending on how much you drive each day will determine if you need to charge your car every night.

How to Not Damage Your EV While Charging?

Even if battery technology has improved over the past five years, an EV’s battery can nevertheless become worn out from frequent charging. Because of its range, you don’t need to charge a conventional EV every night. You might not even need to charge certain EVs in the United States once a week.

Battery deterioration is a factor to consider; older models have greater yearly deterioration than newer ones. The following are some reasons why you shouldn’t charge your EV every night.

EV Charging Stations

Prior to five to ten years ago, an issue with EV charging was a lack of charging stations. But in 2022, EV charging stations are more widespread. According to a database maintained by the US Department of Energy, there are more than 48,000 charging stations across the country. With 14,583, California leads the way, followed by New York (2,942) and Texas (2,748).

The average cost of an EV charging station in the US varies by state but is about 18 cents per kWh. Accordingly, a full charge may often cost between $15 and $20. The simplicity of access implies that, in an emergency, you can probably charge your car in more public locations. It’s not a huge issue to rely on home charging for electric vehicles.

Rapid EV charging stations might be useful for drivers who log more miles. Driving Electric points out that they are bad for your battery over time. Instead, it is preferable to slow-charge whenever you can.

Average Driving Per Week is 275 Miles

According to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the typical individual drives 275 miles every week. If it accurately represents your weekly driving distance, then there’s a reasonable likelihood that most electric cars can drive for a whole week without recharging.

That distance only makes up around two-thirds of some EVs’ range. The Audi e-Tron S can go 372 miles on a single charge, whereas a Tesla Model S can travel 400 miles. Inside EVs, it is noted that most EVs have a range of 200–300 miles on a full charge. Weekly charging of your EV at home as opposed to overnight charging is more practical and can extend the life of your battery.

Reducing Regular Charging Helps Battery Life

In the upcoming years, battery technology will continue to advance. However, EV batteries are lithium-ion and will deteriorate over time, just like the batteries in your phone or laptop. The battery is continually stressed with each EV charging cycle.

Car lithium-ion batteries, unlike those in phones and laptops, have a built-in buffer that prevents them from truly discharging to zero or 100 percent. This feature aimed to prevent the most damaging charging cycles from occurring.

Driving Electric suggests you allow your battery capacity to drop to between 10 and 20 percent before charging it to 80 percent. Rapid charging stations make it possible to charge EVs rapidly, but doing so too frequently or in excess amounts might be harmful over time.

Charging Limitations

Consider putting a charge cap on your car in the US if you’re worried about overcharging the battery by plugging it in every night. Most electric vehicles have a built-in mechanism that lets you restrict how much they can charge.

Set the maximum billing percentage to 80%. When the nighttime charging of the electric vehicle reaches 80%, it will cease. Keeping the battery well within its recommended working range may assist prevent battery degeneration since this could be all you need for your morning commute. Since Tesla batteries don’t have a significant buffer at the high end, this may be a useful choice for owners who wish to prevent overcharging.

One can set their maximum charge to 80% while using charging applications linked to WiFi-enabled home wall chargers. If they discover they need a full charge when they awaken, they may instruct the charging app to begin charging to 100% while taking a shower.

Regenerative braking is also inactive while the vehicle is at full power. It could be advisable to charge to less than 100 percent in order to conserve brake wear and improve efficiency.

Should you always charge your automobile 100 percent when you go to charge it? That’s a no to the question. Let’s start by discussing when you should fully charge your vehicle. The primary justification is when you require the greatest amount of distance.

You’ll probably want to charge your vehicle 100 percent if you intend to use the whole range the following day. You might wish to charge your car fully if you plan to go on a road trip the following day. In this manner, you may travel as far as possible without stopping for another charge.

It is better not to fully charge your automobile for any other use. In reality, your battery’s life will be significantly extended if you charge it to roughly 80%. Maintaining your battery charge between 20 and 80 percent is generally considered excellent practice.

Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night
Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night

The battery’s life will be shortened if the charge is allowed to drop below 20%, a process known as “deep cycling.” The battery might also experience excessive wear and tear from being charged all the way to 100%, which can reduce the battery’s lifespan.

The life of your battery will be extended if you keep it in the ideal range of 20 to 80 percent. There really isn’t any use in doing this as most individuals do not require their cars to be at full power every day.  It’s OK to miss one or two nights between charges.

Be aware that periodically charging your automobile to 100% will not significantly shorten the battery’s lifespan. Although it is preferable to avoid this behavior daily, using it sometimes won’t harm your battery.

Numerous variables will affect how long it takes for your automobile to charge. The initial charge that your battery has before you start charging should come first.

Naturally, charging your automobile from 20 percent will take longer than charging it from 50 percent. Additionally, the charger you use will affect how long it takes to charge. Your automobile may need to be charged for up to 8 hours using a standard 110 outlet.

A stage 2 or stage 3 charger upgrade might result in substantially quicker results. The best time will ultimately depend on your charger and automobile. The ideal time to plug in your automobile will be up to you to determine.

As we’ve seen, there are a lot of concerns at play when thinking about how we usually charge our electric cars. Battery conservation is essential, but the cost and environmental awareness are also significant. EVs can be charged using standard outlets. However, big-capacity batteries can result in a 12-hour charging period.

The typical method of charging the automobile is a wall box, which can shorten this period and produce results between six and eight hours. The ideal approach to charging your car at night for all the issues just mentioned is to include a regulator that lets you choose how long it stays connected to the network.

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