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Battery care 101: how to get the most out of your electric car’s (EV) battery

Published May 31, 2021


JOHANNESBURG - So, you’ve recently made the switch to a fully electric vehicle (EV) or a plug-in hybrid vehicle, or you plan to do so in the coming months, but you’re are a little bit uncertain about how best to care for the integrated lithium-ion battery pack in your car. You’ve noticed that the batteries in your smartphone and laptop don’t last quite as long as they used to and are concerned the same might apply to the power unit of your latest four-wheeled purchase.

Well, according to automakers, EV batteries are designed to be durable enough to handle countless charge and discharge cycles over numerous years. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look after them. While some form of mild battery degradation over time is indeed inevitable, there are a few simple habits to adopt that will help maximise the lifespan of the vehicle’s battery.

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Volvo Car South Africa, which recently opened the order books for the new fully electric XC40 P8 Recharge ahead of its arrival in the local market in August this year, says basic charging practices play a key role in maintaining battery health.

To make the most of a pure electric car’s battery life, the Swedish firm recommends AC charging the power unit up to 90 percent capacity for typical daily driving and preferably not letting the charge level fall below 20 percent.

The XC40 P8 Recharge’s 78kWh pack offers a single-charge range of 418km, which translates to an estimated 84km at 20 percent and 376km at 90 percent capacity – the latter being more than sufficient for most users’ daily trips.

2021 Volvo XC40 P8 sells for R1,2 million. The first SA consignment is sold out.

What else can you do to protect the battery pack’s usable capacity? Well, it’s best to use the AC wallbox charger that comes standard with your vehicle. And, while making use of high-voltage DC fast-charging stations is a perfectly acceptable practice, relying solely on such charging methods can shorten battery life over time.

Some manufacturers, such as Land Rover and Jaguar also advise to pre-condition your EV or PHEV battery before setting off on a journey. Most vehicles with pre-conditioning functionality will allow you set this up on a timer so that you don’t have to worry about going out to the vehicle to prime it for your daily commute.

Pre-conditioning not only prolongs the life of your EV battery, it also ensures you get the best performance out of your vehicle from the moment you leave your garage or carport.

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Click here if you would like to learn more about electric vehicles, how to care for them or if you would like to explore charging options for your home.