In recent years, there’s been a noteworthy increase in sales of electric and hybrid vehicles (EVs). While many see this as a fantastic push towards removing fossil-fuelled cars from the road, others have some concerns, mainly surrounding the carbon debt associated with EVs and battery manufacturing. Still, many people agree that the payoff will be minimal if EVs make good use of green energy.
Predicting electric vehicles impact on the world is going to be difficult, especially when there is no obvious energy source being used for charging and manufacture. Add to that, EVs won’t necessarily reduce road congestion. They will continue to add to the demand for parking and road infrastructures in the future.
Yet through the use of green and renewable energy, the increase of EVs on our roads could open up opportunities wherein battery, and cell technology could be used to balance the grid and actually provide a source of power when being charged from the mains supply at home.
This could see EVs becoming part of the clean-energy movement, where there could be huge advantages using vehicle-to-grid alongside home-based smart power that would allow variable renewables to spread.
Are EVs the best solution?
The main issue still remains. With more cars, comes more congestion, and although EVs may be better for the environment, could there not be a better solution? Some say self-driving or autonomous transport may be the answer as they can use roads more efficiently.
However, many of us are not quite ready to trust self-driving cars and examples of accidents happening in early models only certifies those beliefs.
The reign of the EV will likely happen well before self-driving vehicles even start to become a viable option.
Perhaps the most radical idea in the hopes of battling the effects of climate change and ridding of fossil-fuelled cars is to get rid of cars altogether. Some think that getting rid of cars altogether and focusing efforts on carbon-neutral, green-powered public transport is the best answer to undoing the effects of climate change as quickly as possible.
However, whether people would be willing to give up the convenience of cars and their own methods of transport remains to be seen. It certainly doesn’t look like EVs are going to be falling off the map any time soon.
How can you maximise the lifespan of your electric vehicle today?
Avoid fully charging the battery
Modern lithium batteries are subject to heavy use. And in order to prolong their life, it is important to consider how long each battery spends on a charge. The frequent pattern of fully charging, followed by fully draining, can damage the capabilities of the power cell.
Constantly charging to maximum capacity is, crudely speaking, the equivalent of cramming as many electrons into the battery as physically possible. In order to maintain battery health, your electric vehicle should be charged to around 80%, and if possible, topped up again before going completely flat.
Think carefully about where you park
Owners of electric, self-driving, and autonomous transport will already be conscious of where they are going to park, with the presence of a charging point top of their list of requirements. But there’s something else to consider if you want to look after your vehicle’s battery technology.
Lithium batteries don’t like extreme temperatures, so it is important to avoid very hot, or very cold parking areas. On a sunny day, try and find some shade. And in the winter, use a garage or indoor parking facilities, rather than on-street parking. You’ll be surprised at how much extra range your vehicle rewards you with.
Limit your use of rapid chargers
Rapid chargers are essential for owners of electric vehicles. They provide a much-needed boost when the extra range is required. But this quick injection of power comes at a price.
Fast charging does more damage to the battery than the slower, more sedate charging points. So, if your primary charging method is through a rapid charger, you might want to weigh up the convenience it brings against the lifespan of your vehicle’s battery.
Whilst these suggestions are designed to extend the lifespan of an electric vehicle’s battery, it’s worth noting that manufacturers will have implemented many procedures and precautions to help to sustain battery health. It’s always important to carefully read the recommendations from the manufacturers and follow their guidelines to maximise range and charging capabilities.