The battery is the beating heart of an electric car. It is what keeps it moving without needing to guzzle petrol or diesel. They are cleverly designed to keep electric cars on the road for as long as possible, and the technology is getting better all of the time. Here’s everything you need to know about them…
What Is An Electric Car Battery Made From?
Electric car batteries are made from very similar materials to normal household batteries. They are usually lithium-ion batteries, and are made from carbon or graphite, a metal oxide and lithium salt. One of the largest battery plants in Europe is located in Sunderland, where Nissan produce batteries for their electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF. Similarly to batteries in household appliances, an electric car battery’s capacity will decline over time, however, they should still be functioning at around 80% of the original capacity after eight years.
How Often Does An Electric Car Battery Need To Be Recharged?
One of the biggest worries when deciding whether to purchase an electric car is how far the battery will last for – and therefore how long the range of the car will be. To keep an electric car battery working properly for as long as possible, it is best practice to charge the battery only to 80%, and not to let it drop below 50% too often. However, this will not always be possible, particularly if you use your car for longer distances.
It is recommended to install an electric vehicle charger at your home – you can then charge the battery overnight and the car is ready to go in the morning. If you’re planning a long journey (longer than the range of your car), then it is advisable to plan in advance and research services on your route that have suitable chargers.
The range for electric vehicles is getting better all of the time, with the Telsa Model S Long Range able to travel for 379 miles before needing to be recharged.
Lease Or Buy?
Many electric vehicles were initially sold with leased batteries – this kept down the cost of the car when batteries were more expensive, and if the capacity of the battery dropped below 75% of its original rate, it would be replaced for free. Lots of people still own electric cars with leased batteries, and if you look for a second hand electric car you may well find that the battery is leased.
The cost of leasing a battery depends on the amount of miles a car does – it would cost £59 a month to lease the battery in a Renault Zoe ZE 40 driving 6,000 miles a year, and this would rise to £99 a month if it covered 10,500 miles a year. Excess miles are charged at 8p a mile.
Alternatively, you can buy a battery with the car. This is becoming more common, and in fact Nissan dropped their lease option in 2017. Because electric car batteries are now more readily available, they are not as expensive and so buying one with the car can be a better option.
What Are Solid State Batteries?
Solid state batteries may well be the key to making electric vehicles far more common and mainstream. They are smaller and potentially cheaper than lithium ion batteries, and they would have shorter charging times and greater ranges. They would also last for longer and be safer. With a solid state battery, a range of 500 miles could be achievable – the distance between Edinburgh and Plymouth. The need to stop and recharge batteries en route could become a thing of the past!
Many car manufacturers are working on these batteries, aiming for mass production within the next few years. The first to release an affordable car with a solid state battery to the mass market will enjoy a huge business boost.
Do Batteries Need To Be Replaced?
An electric car battery won’t last forever. As with any battery, with use they begin to lose capacity and the amount of time before the battery needs to be charged will shrink. If too much capacity is lost, the car would be rendered unusable. Most manufacturers have a five to eight year warranty on batteries, but they are likely to last 10 – 20 years before they need to be replaced. Replacing a battery would cost £2500 – £5000. Because of this, if you are intending to buy a second hand electric vehicle, it is vital to get the battery capacity scanned before committing to your purchase.
Where Can Electric Car Batteries Be Charged?
It is getting easier and easier to find places to charge your electric car. Here are some of the most common:
- At your home. Getting a home charger installed is a simple, cost effective way to keep your car charged. If you use a night tariff for your electricity, you can charge your car very cheaply.
- At your workplace. There are government grants available for employers wanting to install charge points for their employees.
- At service stations. Most motorway services now have charging stations, but make sure that the one you intend to use is suitable for your car before you set off.
- Out and about. From supermarkets to hotels to zoos, many places now have charging stations for their customers to use. You can easily find ones near you with Zap Map.
Get A Chargepoint Fitted With No Fuss…
If you’re looking for a commercial or home charging point installation in the North West, our skilled engineers can help. We can help you with the grant funding application, outline the different types of charger available and commercial payment systems (if applicable). We will work within your budget to find the right solution for you. You can contact us today.