How I Optimized My EV’s Charging
May 24, 2023
Want to Discover the Full Potential of Your EV Battery? Here’s how I Optimized EV Charging for Extended Lifespan.
Luccas Di Tullio
Principal Software Engineer
In recent years, the adoption of electric vehicles has been on the steady rise, and the EV ecosystem globally has been thriving as the innumerable benefits of electric vehicles, including cheaper maintenance and lower operating cost, have gained mainstream popularity.
As a long-time EV owner, I’ve realized that a crucial factor in maximizing an EV’s performance, and significantly impacting the driving experience, is its battery performance. Since purchasing my M3 in 2020, I began researching effective energy management strategies that could improve my vehicle’s range while prolonging battery life.
In this blog, I’d like to elucidate the importance of effective energy management for optimized EV battery life, take you through the factors affecting an EV’s range and battery life, and help you understand how these challenges can be addressed.
What is Effective Energy Management?
It is the process of optimizing energy use to improve efficiency, thus reducing energy wastage while avoiding unnecessary degradation of the battery. Effective Energy Management involves identifying those areas where energy is being splurged or misspent and taking appropriate measures to eliminate such waste.
Here’s one of the main reasons why optimizing battery life through effective energy management is important: Electric vehicles solely rely on battery power, and the battery’s performance can consequently impact the vehicle’s overall performance.
Let me take you through a few reasons why you need to start incorporating robust EV charging solutions right now to manage the energy consumption of your EV.
Why is Effective Energy Management Important for EVs?
As I said earlier, electric vehicles rely entirely on battery power, and the battery’s performance can significantly impact the vehicle’s range, speed, and acceleration.
Efficient energy management can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector. The report “Improving the Sustainability of Passenger and Freight Transport” published by the International Energy Agency suggests that transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector and accounts for 37% of CO2 emissions. So, the need for a cleaner environment is long overdue.
Now that we’re able to understand the importance of effective energy management and implementing robust EV charging solutions, let’s look at the key factors that affect an EV’s battery life.
Factors Affecting an EV's Battery Performance
We must understand the various factors that can affect the short and long-term performance of an electric car’s battery. Here are some of the common ones:
1. Battery Chemistry and Design:
The battery’s chemistry and design can significantly affect its lifespan. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in electric vehicles, and their lifespan depends on factors such as the quality of the battery cells, the temperature range the battery is subjected to, and the EV charging and discharging rates.
Based on current industry standards, the lifespan of electric vehicle batteries is expected to range from 100,000 to 200,000 miles, which is equivalent to approximately 15 to 20 years of usage.
2. Temperature and Climate:
In my years of experience using an EV, I can say with certainty that temperature and climate are crucial factors impacting an electric car’s battery life. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can degrade the battery’s performance and reduce its lifespan.
In hot climates, the battery can overheat, leading to thermal runaway, and can burst into flames. Whereas in cold climates, the battery’s performance can degrade due to reduced chemical reactions in the battery.
As per some of the information that I gathered from various sources on EV charging, that includes articles from Forbes, Standford News, and Mckinsey & Company, I could infer the following:
- Regardless of the brand or model, most electric vehicles tend to follow a temperature range of 15-35 degrees Celsius curve.
- While both hot and cold temperatures can have an impact on the driving range, it has been observed that colder climates tend to have a more significant effect on the range.
- The ideal temperature for maximizing the trip efficiency of an electric vehicle is around 21.5 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is considered the “sweet spot” for achieving the best possible performance.
3. Driving Habits:
Most drivers belong to one of the following categories: Defensive drivers and Aggressive drivers.
Defensive drivers prioritize safety and cautious driving. They follow traffic rules and regulations and maintain a safe following distance. Aggressive drivers, on the other hand, take risks and prioritize speed and efficiency over safety. These are the ones who tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, and disregard traffic laws.
Aggressive driving can put a strain on your EV battery by increasing power consumption, which leads to more frequent charging, which can drastically reduce its lifespan.
4. EV Charging Habits:
Did you know that charging your battery to less than 100% positively impacts your EV battery performance?
Overcharging or undercharging the battery can cause irreversible damage and reduce its performance. It is crucial to ensure that the battery is charged optimally up to 80-90% to maximize its lifespan.
While complete EV charging can offer the longest possible usage time, I can attest to the fact it is not advisable for the overall durability of your battery.
In the next section, I’m going to share my experience, plus the strategies I’ve used, to maximize the potential energy management system.
What Did I Do for Effective Energy Management?
To maximize my electric car’s battery life, here are some strategies I implemented:
1. Preconditioning the Cabin and Battery:
Preconditioning the cabin and battery involves heating or cooling the car’s interior before use. My EV comes with a built-in preconditioning feature which I diligently use. It helped me reduce the strain on the battery during acceleration, resulting in better performance and longer battery life.
If your EV doesn’t have a built-in preconditioning feature, there are some third-party apps available to control the car’s temperature remotely.
2. Regenerative Braking:
Regenerative braking is a technique that converts the car’s kinetic energy during braking into electrical energy that can be stored in the battery. After using this technique, I observed a reduction in the wear and tear on the brakes and a significant improvement in the battery’s performance and range.
Regenerative braking is a standard feature on electric vehicles, and it works by using the car’s motor as a generator when brakes are applied. The generator slows the car down, and the energy generated is then stored in the battery.
This stored energy in the battery can then be used to power the motor during acceleration. It reduces the amount of power that needs to be drawn from the battery during acceleration, which can help to extend the lifespan of the brakes, resulting in lower maintenance costs.
I have averaged around 70% efficiency on my vehicles with regenerative braking. This is a common figure for the latest regenerative braking systems. This means I can recover up to 70% of the kinetic energy that was lost during the act of braking and turn it back to acceleration later.
3. Driving Habits:
Driving habits can significantly impact an electric car’s battery performance and range. Just like I mentioned above about defensive and aggressive driving, the way you drive your car can have a significant impact on the battery’s lifespan. Therefore, it is important to develop good driving habits that will help prolong the battery’s life. Here are some tips I found helpful:
- Avoid Sudden Acceleration and Hard Braking:
Sudden acceleration and hard braking put a strain on the battery, and this can lead to a reduction in its lifespan. Therefore, it is important to avoid these habits and instead drive your electric car in a way that minimizes energy use.
- Drive at a Steady Speed:
Driving at a steady speed is one of the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption and prolong the battery’s life. This involves maintaining a constant speed and avoiding frequent acceleration and deceleration.
4. EV Charging Habits:
Charging habits can significantly impact the battery’s lifespan. Overcharging or undercharging the battery can cause irreversible damage and reduce its performance. Therefore, it is important to adopt specific EV charging habits that will help you improve your electric car’s battery life. Here are some tips for good charging habits:
- Use Appropriate Charging Equipment:
Using appropriate charging equipment is crucial for prolonging the battery’s life. Different electric cars have different charging requirements, and it is important to use the right equipment to avoid damage to the battery.
In my case, I found that AC charging at lower speeds put much less strain on the battery. It’s best to avoid DC charging if possible as it can impact the performance of your battery life in the long run. Unless you are on a road trip and there’s no alternative, try not to make DC charging your primary means of charging as it’s known to cause more heat and stress on the battery, accelerating degradation and reducing its overall lifespan.
- Avoid Overcharging the Battery:
Overcharging the battery can degrade the battery, reduce its performance, and shrink its lifetime. Therefore, it is important to avoid charging the battery to its full capacity, unless it is needed for an occasional trip where the extra range is necessary.
- Charge Before Full Battery Depletion:
Charging the battery when it is not fully depleted is one of the most effective ways to prolong the performance of your battery’s life. I never wait to charge my EV battery until it is fully depleted. This was another crucial factor in improving the lifespan and performance of my battery management system.
- Regular Maintenance and Care:
Maintenance and care are crucial in ensuring an electric vehicle’s battery longevity. Regular maintenance and proper care, such as properly storing the car, can help prolong the battery’s life. Here are some tips for good maintenance and care:
- Store the Car Properly:
Properly storing the car is crucial for prolonging the battery’s life, especially during extreme temperatures. As I mentioned before, extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can degrade the battery’s performance and reduce its lifespan.
I store my car in a garage where the temperature is always consistent. Being part of this enclosed space protects it from having any leaks so that water damage isn’t a threat.
- Maintain the Tires:
Maintaining the tires is crucial in improving the car’s performance and maximizing the battery’s life. Properly inflated tires can reduce the car’s drag and improve its overall efficiency.
Periodically inspect your tires for any damages including gouges, cuts, and road debris. Needless to say, driving your EV with damaged or punctured tires can drastically affect your battery management system.
Results of Battery Performance Before and After Implementing Effective Energy Management Techniques
Before implementing effective energy management techniques, I noticed that my electric car’s battery life was significantly reduced. The car’s range had reduced, and the battery took longer to charge.
However, after optimizing charging, I have noticed:
- Improvement in battery life
- Increase in my car’s range
- Less charging time for my battery
- Enhanced overall performance of the car
Effective energy management is crucial for electric vehicle owners and can significantly impact the car’s battery life and overall performance.
To wrap it up, I encourage all-electric vehicle owners to adopt effective energy management strategies and implement the best-in-class EV charging solutions to maximize their car’s battery life and improve its overall performance.
With its perfect blend of software and hardware, AMP is revolutionizing electrification. Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in Detroit, Bengaluru, and Shanghai, AMP is a global leader in energy management solutions for e-mobility. Since 2017, AMP has advanced battery management technology, through industry-leading software and hardware. AMP continues to push mobility further from intelligent battery management platforms to robust fast-charging systems and complete cloud solutions for e-mobility.