Electric cars are not a strictly modern phenomenon; however, interest in fully-electric vehicles has skyrocketed over the last few years, as production of viable electric vehicles by major manufacturers has ramped up and infrastructure has raced to meet demand. However, information on how to care for an electric vehicle can be hard to come by. Here are some basic tips for maintaining an electric vehicle over a petrol or diesel alternative.
Take Care of the Battery
The battery in your electric vehicle is vital to maintain well, in order to extend the life of your vehicle and keep it running efficiently day-to-day. One of the simplest things you can do to maintain the health of your battery is to refrain from charging it fully each time you charge up. Charing to 100% can cause overheating issues, and reduce the battery’s capacity over time, as well as being less efficient than charging to up to 80%. While you may lose a little range for charging less, you gain much of that range back from regenerative braking (more on which later). It is equally important not to undercharge, or otherwise completely deplete your battery; doing so can also ruin the battery’s capacity and longevity.
In another positive for electric vehicles, and in what might come as a potential surprise to you, your brakes will require less maintenance than a fossil-fuelled vehicle that receives the same amount of use. This is because you will not need to use your brakes as often as with a gas-guzzler; the electric motor turns the inertia of your vehicle into electric energy via something called regenerative braking, whereby the coasting wheels turn the electric motor and generate electricity. Your brakes will still need to checked over as part of your regular servicing schedule, but will not represent as much of a cost as another vehicle may present to you.
Servicing and MOT
Speaking of servicing, your electric vehicle will overall be lower-maintenance than an equivalent vehicle with a combustion engine – due to the increased number of moving parts prone to failure in the latter. However, this does not mean that electric vehicles are exempt from best-practice servicing schedules, or even MOTs. It is still important that you regularly book a car service online, in order to ensure your motor is running as safely and efficiently as possible. If your car is more than three years old, it is liable for an annual MOT just the same as any other vehicle.
While this may seem like an oddly specific and arbitrary suggestion, it can have a number of important benefits to your car: try not to park in the sun. As with every car, parking in the shade can increase the longevity of your car’s paint finish, as well as the fixatives used for the car’s interior trim. However, parking in the shade has especial relevance for electric vehicles, where temperature regulation is particularly important for the health of your car’s battery. Your car will do its best to regulate temperature where possible, and being exposed to high temperatures even when off may engage energy-intensive regulation processes, and also run the risk of overheating your battery. This can have negative effects on holding charge and general charging time, with the potential for a fire risk at particularly high temperatures.