If you are thinking of getting an electric car, one of the extremely appealing features is the ability to charge your vehicle overnight leaving you with a full charge when you wake up in the morning. That way you do not have to worry about filling the car up with gas before work.
One of the things you may wonder is if it is okay to charge your car overnight every single night. Usually, you should avoid charging your electric car every single night unless absolutely necessary. Charging the car to a full 100% will shorten the life of your battery, which can be expensive to replace. The best choice is to keep your car between 20%-80% charge
As electric cars become more and more popular, it is important that owners and potential owners are informed of the best practices to ensure that their vehicle lasts as long as it is intended to. One of the beauties of owning an electric car is the ability to charge the vehicle at home.
As such, you can easily get a full charge while you are sleeping. That way your car can be ready to go every morning when you need it. No more wasted time at the gas station filling up. We plan to dig a little deeper into what exactly charging your car every night can do and how to tell if that is something that is essential or not.
When You Need To Charge Every Night Vs. When You Do Not Need To Charge Every Night
How exactly can you tell if you need to charge your car every night or not? The first sign will be your driving habits. For most people, they drive an average of about 37 miles a day. Every electric car on the market can easily handle this kind of mileage. Nowadays, every electric car out there offers at least 200 miles on a charge. When you need to charge every night vs. when you do not need to charge every night.
If you are only driving about 37 miles a day (give or take) then you do not need to charge your car every single night. If you have 200 miles, you are fine to drive a couple of days before your battery starts getting low. Electric car batteries are specifically designed to hold their charge for extended periods of time. As such, your car will not charge much without it being driven. So, in the case of the average person, there is no need to charge your car every night. It will be better for the battery to wait until it has 20% of a full charge before you charge it. Frequent and unnecessary charging can shorten the overall life of your battery.
There are people who are exceptions to this general rule. That would be those who drive quite a bit more than the average person. Those who drive around quite a bit, whether it be for work or fun, may end up using most or all of their charge each day. In this case, you do not have a choice but to charge your car every night. Whether you need to charge your car every night is really up to how much you drive each day.
Should I Charge My Electric Car To 100% Every Time?
When you do go to charge your car, should you charge it to 100% every time? The answer to that question is no. First, let’s talk about when you should charge your car to 100%. The main reason is when you need the maximum mileage possible. For those people who are planning on driving the full range of their car the next day, you will likely want to charge your car to 100%. Also, for those who are leaving for road trips the next day, you may want to charge your car for maximum power. That way, you can get as far as possible before needing to stop for another charge.
For almost all other purposes, it is best not to charge your car to 100%. In fact, charging it to about 80% will greatly increase the life of your battery. In general, it is best practice to maintain your battery charge between 20% and 80%. Letting the charge get below 20% is known as “deep cycling” the battery and will shorten its life. Likewise, charging the battery up to 100% can also cause excess wear on the battery and shorten its life.
Keeping the battery right in that sweet spot of 20%-80% will help to maximize the life of your battery. Since most people do not need to have their car at 100% every single day, there is really no point in doing so. Skipping a night or two between charges will still be just fine. Be aware that occasionally charging your car to 100% will not have a significant affect on the life of your cars battery. While this practice is best to avoid on an everyday basis, it is not going to destroy your battery to do it from time to time.
The Best Time Of Night To Charge Your Car
If you are going to charge your car overnight, when is the best time to charge your car? This will depend on a bunch of different factors. As seen above, you really only want to charge your car to about 80%. As such, you need to time your charging schedule right so that it does not fully charge the car to 100% every single night that you plug it in.
How long your car will take to charge will vary based on several factors as well. First off would be the initial charge that your battery has before you start charging. Obviously, it will take longer to charge your car from 20% than it will from 50%. This will be something that you need to factor in. Also, the kind of charger that you are using will make a difference in charging time. Using a regular 110 outlet can take up to 8 hours to charge your car. Upgrading to a stage 2 or stage 3 charger can produce much quicker results.
Ultimately, the optimal time will depend on your car and your charger. You will have to decide when the best time is to plug in your car. The mechanical engineer in me likes to think of an even more efficient way to do things. If I were to do this, I would likely use an Arduino that has been programmed to allow me to enter a specific time. I could plug in the car as soon as I get home, but I would use a relay to prevent the car from charging until the user entered time came around. At that point, I can have it close the relay and start or even stop charging the car after a certain amount of time.
Charging At Home Vs. Charging At A Station At Night
What exactly are the pros and cons of charging at home vs charging at a charging station? First off, charging at home is much simpler and convenient. You do not have to go out of your way to charge the car and you can charge it while you are at home or even sleeping. Charging at home is also quite a bit cheaper than charging at a station.
Charging at a station also has its own advantages. Generally, charging stations offer much higher speed charges than you can do at your own home. Developing the capabilities to perform fast charging at your own house can end up costing you thousands of dollars. By using a charging station, you can quickly charge your car without having to invest a big chunk of money. This can be very advantageous when you need a full charge relatively quickly. The major disadvantage to charging stations is that you have to go out of your way to the station and hang around while your car charges.