October 6, 2022

Why You Shouldn't Fully Charge Your EV


2 Min. Read

EV batteries rely on complex chemical reactions to store energy and power your vehicle. Ensuring that these reactions take place in optimal conditions will extend your driving range and preserve your battery’s lifespan. Maintaining your battery charge within a safe threshold can protect this important component. Read on to learn more about safe EV battery charging practices!

Understanding EV battery charging

EV batteries use thousands of cells filled with lithium-ion and electrons. Each cell contains a graphite anode and a lithium cathode, respectively acting as positive and negative electrodes. Graphite and lithium molecules continuously exchange electrons that travel through the electrolyte, a liquid medium that facilitates electron exchanges.

When you plug in your EV, the electrons travel from the cathode to the anode to store an electric potential. In contrast, the battery produces power when you drive by moving electrons in the opposite direction, from the negative to the positive electrode.

Should I charge my EV to 100%?

Range anxiety is a common issue among EV owners, prompting manufacturers to develop EVs with ranges that exceed 300 miles.

While charging your battery to 100% can help alleviate range anxiety, it can put some strain on different elements of your EV battery.

For example, overcharging your battery can result in a loss of active material in the anode and cathode, reducing the total surface that can attract and fix electrons. It can also reduce the number of electrolytes available to facilitate electron movements. Furthermore, a phenomenon known as stoichiometric drift can appear, which indicates an imbalance between the two electrodes.

In simple terms, charging an EV battery to 100% will lead to a reduction in the total usable capacity of the battery. It might not be noticeable at first, but your battery will gradually lose its range as it degrades over time.

Experts recommend keeping your battery charged between 20 to 80% to reduce stress on your battery.

Other factors that affect EV battery lifespan

Overcharging isn’t the only factor that can lead to battery degradation:

  • DC fast chargers can deliver power outputs ranging from 50 to 350 kW, resulting in charging times of less than two hours. Unfortunately, frequent use of DC fast chargers can accelerate battery degradation.
  • Climate is another important factor. Research suggests that extreme temperatures affect battery chemistry, and the range can drop by 20 to 40% in harsh climates.
  • Cycles, or the frequency at which you charge and discharge your EV battery, can also determine its longevity.

The good news is that EV manufacturers are always looking for ways to build better batteries. While degradation was a significant issue ten years ago, recent EV models come with batteries that are much more resilient. EVs also come with built-in battery management systems designed to protect the battery.

Charging your EV battery at home

Charging at home allows you to maintain a battery charge between 20 and 80% without experiencing range anxiety. Installing a Level 2 charger at home is easier than you think.

Qmerit simplifies this process for EV drivers across the U.S. and Canada, thanks to our network of certified electricians. We offer customized solutions adapted to the needs of each EV owner. Get started today by telling us more about your project and sharing a few photos. We’ll get back to you with upfront pricing information and a custom quote offer.

Author: Greg Sowder

Greg Sowder

President, Qmerit Network