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Should we worry about electric car battery life?

Should we worry about electric car battery life?

The availability of replacement batteries for the Chevrolet Spark EV has electric vehicle owners worried. Do they continue as expected? Opinions differ.

Electric car owners were worried about their batteries when, last April, Benoit Charette, editor-in-chiefannual carsrevealed that GM would not offer replacement batteries for the Chevrolet Spark, which was sold from 2013 to 2017. GM has since changed its mind, citing “temporary” supply problems.

Note that with 131 kilometers of autonomy on the cost of the Spark, any loss of capacity becomes more and more significant over time.

What about other electric car models?

“Spark is a special case,” says Daniel Britton, CEO of Electric Mobility Canada. I don’t see such a situation happen to a Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona or Tesla, for example. »

According to some, electric car batteries will lose 1% of their efficiency per year (an idea we haven’t been able to confirm).

“A loss of 10% represents 45 km over 10 years for a car with a range of 450 km; therefore, this is not an issue, continues Mr. Britton. The batteries lose their efficiency at first, but this stabilizes after a few years. Owners of electric cars will drive between 300,000 and 600 thousand kilometers before facing problems.”

in an unknown area

But electric car technology is fairly new. Only Toyota Prius hybrids have an important history. Its batteries are nickel-based, not lithium-ion, like most current electric vehicles. The Prius has been on sale since 1999, and consumers don’t seem to have any trouble getting replacement cells.

George Ene, director of the Motorists’ Protection Association (APA), is concerned about the warranties offered by manufacturers.

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“The contracts provide for a 30% deterioration before they expire,” he said. Over eight years, that’s 3% to 4% per year. The problem is that we have no experience in this field for most of the models in circulation. Nowadays, with current supply problems, some consumers wait a long time for their batteries, sometimes for months, when there is a recall from the manufacturer. »

Tips

  • Book fast charging (with 50 kW stations) for long trips. According to the sources, the design of the Tesla battery will allow more of this type of charge.
  • Systematically recharge to 80% of capacity (with some exceptions, eg for travel) if you are using a level 2 (240V) charging station at home. Avoid going below 20% before recharging.
  • Pick up your car daily at its station. Some manufacturers recommend disconnecting the vehicle when the battery has finished charging and you don’t expect to use it for a few days.
  • Preheat your car 30 minutes before departure if it is connected to a terminal, to increase battery efficiency, especially in winter.