If you plan to get an electric car, you may wonder how many miles you can drive before the battery runs out. In this article, we look at how long does an electric car battery last on a single charge and 5 factors that may affect it.
Most modern EVs use a lithium-ion battery, which you have to charge regularly. You will get the best charging experience by installing your own home charging station, which may fill up your battery overnight. However, public charging stations may take only three-quarters of an hour to get to 80 percent.
When you check out EV specs online, you will see driving ranges quoted by the manufacturers and validated by a third party (usually the EPA and WLTP). Most new EV models offer more than 200 miles in a single charge, which theoretically is more than adequate if you charge your car every day.
However, how many miles you actually get varies to a great extent. This is because multiple factors affect how many miles you can squeeze out of your EV. The major ones are discussed below.
Battery Size and Car Efficiency
It is naturally true that the larger your EV battery pack, the longer you can drive. The premium electric models usually come with a larger pack. For example, the Lucid Air Dream offers 520 miles on a single charge on a massive 112 kWh battery. However, Lucid did optimize the drivetrain, with many components miniaturized to increase the energy efficiency.
You must be ready to pay a premium price, though. For example, its Air sedan actually costs more than $160,000, while the Tesla Model 3(Tesla’s cheapest car) has a version that offers 334 miles but starts at $56,000.
As incredible as it may sound, the weather may affect how long you can drive on a single charge. When the temperature drops, your driving range goes down. This means, in areas where it snows, have significantly varying driving ranges throughout the year.
The reduction in range is due to the way lithium-ion battery works. It’s a fact that at low temperatures, the rate of chemical reactions responsible for producing electricity slows down. For the same reason, charging a car when it is cold takes significantly longer.
Some EV models handle low temperatures better, but a loss of driving range is inevitable.
Degradation of EV battery
You might have noticed that your smartphone, which also uses lithium-ion batteries, takes longer to charge and drains quickly with time. Similarly, the driving range of your EV will fall as the battery ages.
This is due to an effect known as degradation. Charging with ‘DC rapid chargers’ may save you time, but they affect the battery, causing the charge holding capacity to drop with time. Even the regular operation of your electric car is very taxing on the battery.
EV makers include several features to reduce this effect, including sophisticated cooling systems and battery management solutions. However, a point will come when the battery will longer be suitable for use in an EV and has to be replaced; at about 70 percent of the original driving range.
You may prolong your battery lifespan by using Level 2 chargers as much as possible.
Effect of Load on performance
How much work your EV is doing affects your battery range. For example, you will get a less driving range if it is loaded to the maximum payload allowance. Similarly, towing with an EV can half your driving range because of the extra load of the caravan.
Your driving habit
Your driving habit may also affect your driving range. For example, rapid acceleration will make your battery level go down faster. Instead, drive at a steady speed. Also, using one-pedal driving can net you extra battery through regenerative braking.
Similarly, using some energy-consuming features can drain the battery faster. For example, when you heat the cabin using the battery power when it is cold, your battery takes more hit.
EV owners will tell you from experience that it may not be possible to get the manufacturer’s estimated ranges in real-life. This is because many factors affect your EV’s actual driving range. However, you do not have to worry about this as electric cars can easily handle your daily driving needs.