Prepare your EV for vacation? How to store your EV for longer periods?
A conventional car, whether left for one day or ten, would be fine. Even when you leave it for longer periods, the major risk you are running is discharging your 12-volt battery.
However, for EVs things are a little different. They have a larger battery capacity that runs very high voltage. And while they are very durable, they are certainly not meant to be left alone for a longer passage of time.
If not prepared, those lithium-ion batteries would lose their charge and deteriorate over time, even dying after a while. To avoid this, here are a few things you can do to prepare your EV for vacation. These tips would keep your EV healthy when stored over longer periods.
Charge your EV between 50%-80%
There are different recommendations from different brands on what levels you should leave your EV charged. What none of them suggest is leaving it charged at 100%. Lithium-ion batteries of such high capacity tend to lose charge faster when fully charged.
Similarly, a reduced charge level, mainly below 20% would result in immediate battery discharge and cause a potential risk of dying. Rather it's recommended by all manufacturers to leave the charge level between 50%-80% when storing for over a week.
Since the main battery also charges the smaller 12-volt, it's better to leave it above 50%, but not more than 80%.
Keep it Plugged/ Unplugged
To ensure that you keep your charge level to around 80%, you can set a charge limit and leave your EV plugged in. However, many manufacturers recommend against it. While brands like Tesla suggest keeping the vehicle plugged in.
In tesla, there are systems to keep the battery temps in check, leaving them plugged in to help it run those systems.
But the same doesn’t apply to brands like Nissan or Renault. Instead, they offer features like sleep mode or deep sleep that automatically prepare for a longer period of inactiveness.
You can have a better idea for this in your car’s user manual, where you will have instructions on how you can store your EV for a longer time.
Turn off unwanted electrical
Even inactive EVs discharge. Some power goes to keeping the smaller 12-volt battery charged while others go to running important systems. Some extra power goes to running the security system, doing OTA updates etc.
When put into sleep mode, this system automatically turns off. Otherwise, you would have to turn them off yourself. Rest assured, your EV does lose very less charge and has way better power management, so if it is just for a month or two, you can go ahead and skip this process.
Trickle Charge 12-volt battery
When you are storing your car for more than 2 months or 60 days or above, it's better to avoid any unwanted battery drainage. That includes trickle charging your smaller 12-volt battery. By not having your main battery charge your smaller 12-volt battery, a lot of juice can be spared.
Trickle charging is the process of charging a fully charged battery equally at the rate of its discharge. So as your battery is discharging, it is also charging. Trickle chargers are easily available in the market, for $50-$70. And are available for both 6-volt and 12-volt batteries.
All you need to do after is connect one end of the charger to a power socket and one end to both terminals of the battery. But before that, you will have to disconnect your car battery first and you are good to go.
Avoid Storing your EV in a Hot Place
It’s no surprise that high-capacity battery + hot climate = Fire Hazard. Among many things, the hot climate is one thing that makes the batteries vulnerable. Temperature above 40°C or 104° F starts slowly cutting the battery’s life span.
Storing your EV at a place where there is less airflow and high temperature would reduce your battery capacity. On the contrary, you can store your EV in places with lower temperatures without running a similar risk.
What you can’t do is leave your car parked in one place for a longer time. Otherwise, the heavyweight of your EV would form flat patches on your tires. It is recommended to move your EV a little once every two weeks to avoid destroying expensive tires.
Read Manufacturers Guide
Finally, no matter what everyone suggests, you should always read your manufacturer’s recommendations. Different brands have their recommendation for storing EVs for a longer time.
You can either access this info on your manufacturer’s website, your EV user manual or on the AutoVolt magazine article, which covers almost all brands from Bentley to Honda.
By following these steps, you can safely store your EV for longer periods and enjoy your vacation with peace of mind.