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Tips to Keep Electric Car Batteries Healthy in the Heat

When the mercury rises, avoid parking your electric vehicle in direct sunlight.Reposted with permission from PluginCars.

Temperatures in many U.S. states are reaching record-breaking highs this summer, making even the most normal of everyday activities unbearable for all but the most hardened heat-loving Americans.

Like humans, electric car battery packs prefer moderate temperatures rather than extreme ones. What can you do to keep EV batteries happy in unbearable weather?

Avoid Extremes of Use

Just like any other battery pack, passing current in and out of your car’s battery pack will warm it up. The higher the current passing through the battery pack — either in or out — the quicker the pack warms up.

It’s worth noting too that as the battery pack reaches 20 percent full or less, its cell voltages start to drop dramatically. Since electrical power equals voltage times current, the current drain on the battery pack will increase as the pack voltage drops to maintain the power levels demanded by the car. This will in turn heat your car’s battery pack up — not exactly what you want when it’s already in the triple digits outside.

To keep your electric car battery pack as healthy as possible and as cool as possible, it’s best to avoid heavy acceleration and running your vehicle down to a low state of charge.

Charge Smart

As we’ve just explained, passing high currents through your car’s battery pack will cause it to heat up far more quickly than passing low currents through it.

Because the CHAdeMO quick charge and Tesla Supercharger stations rely on extremely high current flows to quickly replenish the battery packs on cars like the Nissan LEAF or Tesla Model S to 80 percent full in less than 30 minutes, think twice before using them when the mercury is reaching for the sky.

The same is true for 100 percent or ‘range’ charges in hot weather. As a battery pack reaches a full state of charge and its internal resistance rises, it becomes harder and harder to push electrons into the battery. In turn, this puts additional stress on the battery pack and increases the rate at which it heats up.

Consequentially, if you know you only need an 80 percent charge to reach your destination, setting your car to stop charging at 80 percent will put less strain on it and help it stay healthy in hot weather.

Park Smart

With the sidewalks in some cities hot enough to give pedestrians second degree burns, you need to make sure that your car gets just as much shade as you do. Where possible, park in the shade out of direct sunlight, as this should help your car’s battery pack stay cooler than it otherwise would. In addition, you’ll find your car far more pleasant to return to.

Keep Your Car Plugged In

While some cars like the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i rely on passive forced air cooling to keep them cool in hot weather, others — such as the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Volt and BMW ActiveE — use sophisticated thermal management systems with liquid coolant.

By closely monitoring the pack temperature, these fully-automated systems work by pumping refrigerant around the battery pack to keep them operating at peak efficiency. If your car is not plugged in, they will use some battery power to keep the pack cool. If your car is plugged in, they will generally run from mains power.

If your car uses an active thermal management system, it’s a good idea to keep it plugged in whenever possible in hot weather, to maximize range and keep the battery pack as cool as you can.

Photo by Nissan

11/11/2015 6:05:04 AM

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10/20/2015 4:10:12 AM

This article is something that will help me with my class assignment. It helped me to better understand another aspect of this topic. Thanks.

7/11/2015 4:12:54 AM

The Chinese auto parts industry has consistently performed and grown over the past few years. However, things don't seem to be perfect for it now.

6/18/2015 5:07:27 AM

An electric car is a vehicle which uses electrical motors and motor controllers to power itself, instead of internal combustion engines that more typical petrol/diesel-powered cars use. Electric cars need to be re-charged roughly ever 150-250 miles, however this is their maximum life.

4/7/2014 2:05:28 AM

Due to increase in the pollution rate,now everybody conscious about how to reduce the impact of pollution from the environment. Those vehicles consume fuel,it was release more amount of carbon dioxide to the environment. Carbon dioxide is very poisonous in nature that will be affect the human body.For that reason china introduce a new types of electric vehicle. That will be release lesser amount of carbon dioxide to the environment. And due to the vehicle consume electricity, the natural resources will be saved for future use.

4/7/2014 1:50:47 AM

In today's world The percentage of pollution is increase in an increasing rate, due to use of more no. of fuel cars. Now peoples are conscious about how to reduce the impact of pollution from the environment. For that reason the automobile sector create a new types of car for day to day use of people and reduce the pollution level. This car is called electronic car. That runs using electricity. By using of this car the environment must be pollution free and the fuels are save for future use. To increase the life span of the vehicle its repair and maintenance is necessary.

jeffery mitch
1/30/2014 1:01:47 AM

Batteries are the best part of the electric vehicle. It is the heart of the electric car . Battery plays a vital role in the electric vehicle. It is very important to properly maintain battery. Firstly, we should full charging of the electric car. For pure Ev's the best suggestion is that you should avoid deep discharging of your battery pack. Keep, battery as healthy as possible and cool . Keep the battery secure and free from vibration. There are many more steps through which you can keep your car battery safely.

1/14/2014 1:19:19 AM

Electric car is one of the best vehicle, which is Eco friendly, good for environment . It has all the benefits which consume less fuel , as it runs with electricity. have a life span period , so they should be recharged . There are many tips to extend your car batteries life. Like firstly, Keep the battery terminals clean and inspect regularly (i.e. monthly) for corrosion. Then , Keep the battery secure and free from vibration. Batteries that shake can become damaged and short circuited or worse cause damage to your car. And many more.

7/22/2013 11:45:38 PM

Lithium batteries degrade permenatley in the heat that starts at 86F. Cold affects them but as soon as they warm up they are fine. So it's odd the auto makers have cold weather packages but not HOT weather packages. As was mentioened Electrics with liquid cooling are great but always need to be plugged it to keep the heat down.

We don't want the batteries to fail in heatr becuase we all pay the price for a vehicle proplem as it is spread over all the new vehicles. We all need to work together. I always try to charge Off Peak to help the GRID. I want my batteries to last a long time even if they have a warranty since it helps the environment.


7/19/2013 9:21:52 AM

For those in very, very, hot climates, without active thermal management on the EV, letting the battery pack cool down for a few hours after a drive before recharging would seem to be a good idea as well, if your goal is to extend battery life as much as possible.  On the other hand, with manufacturers now providing warranties against premature battery capacity decline, and battery replacement programs, why worry about this?  Let the manufacturers worry about designing an EV that can take the heat, and cold, as well as an ICE can, or suffer the consequences if they fail to.  If you live in a more temperate climate, I think it is safe to ignore all this special handling.  There is a Leaf driver in Washington state who drove nearly 80,000 miles before seeing any battery capacity loss, for example. (2d attempt to post this - sorry if it gets posted twice)