November 1, 2023
Will It Damage My Electric Vehicle If I Charge It Nightly?

Installing an electric vehicle (EV) charger in your Fox Valley, WI home is guaranteed to make life a bit easier. At-home charging stations eliminate the need to wait in long lines for the chance to power up. If used correctly, an at-home charger can even extend your auto’s battery life, promote enhanced battery safety, and save you money. But what if you use it nightly or overnight? Read on to find out how lengthy plug-ins and overcharging can impact your EV battery’s health.

Installing and Using an at-Home Charging Station

According to a U.S. charging study performed by J.D. Power & Associates, about 80% of all EV charging is currently done at home. However, before installing and using an at-home charging station, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what your auto requires. Most EVs come with portable charging equipment that works with standard 120-V outlets. The major drawback of these portable, Level 1 chargers is that they can’t charge EV batteries from near-empty to near-full over the course of a single night.

If you do a lot of in-city driving as part of your daily commute or have an extended trip planned, you’ll get far better range from an upgraded charging solution. You’ll also have less anxiety when you have lots of driving to do the next morning and little time to power up. Countless consumers are investing in Level 2 at-home car charging stations for this reason alone. However, they additionally enjoy:

  • Increased home values
  • Greater day-to-day convenience
  • Control over the state of their charging equipment
  • Greater ease in planning long-distance trips

To get the best results and to avoid voiding important warranty protections or shortening your battery’s life, it’s important to read through your owner’s manual and work with a licensed electrician. While home charger installation is a popular do-it-yourself (DIY) project, the costs of having something go wrong are almost too steep to imagine.

Varied Charging Times and the Safety of Charging EV Batteries Overnight

Even a modest upgrade from the portable charging equipment that came with your vehicle could result in charging times that are three times faster. There are also at-home charging stations that can charge EV batteries five to 15 times faster than dealer-issued, portable chargers.

These dramatic differences in charging capabilities play a major role in determining whether or not overnight charging is safe. If it takes a whole night to bring your battery to a 60% charge, and if you’re daily driving requires at least this much power, then you can and should leave your auto plugged in while sleep. However, on nights when plugging in and going to sleep will bring your battery to a 100% charge, you probably shouldn’t.

How Full Is Too Full for an EV Battery?

Most consumers are currently reliant upon multiple items that require sufficient battery power to see them through the day. Before leaving home, you probably feel most comfortable when your mobile phone, laptop, and EV all have a full charge. However, for all things battery-powered, having a full charge negatively impacts battery health.

It’s best to keep your EV battery between 20% and 80% full. Going much higher or lower than this can shorten your battery’s lifespan. It can also impact your battery’s ability to hold its charge for long.

Pairing Battery Maintenance With Convenience

Depending upon the type of charger you own, both overnight and nightly charging could be essential for meeting your daily power needs. However, if you have a fast-charger or a significant, existing charge, it’s best to disconnect your battery before it reaches 100%. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be a manual effort.

Your EV likely has a built-in charging management system that regulates the charging process. These systems ensure that overcharging never occurs. On some EVs, this feature slows charging down as batteries near 100%. Other EV models have timers that stop the charging process entirely before the maximum charge is reached.

These built-in systems typically work best with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) chargers, and they may not be compatible with all aftermarket charger types. This is yet another solid reason to have your EV charger installation handled by a seasoned electrician. With professional installation, you can take maximum advantage of EV-specific capabilities like these or find charging equipment that offers overcharge prevention of its own.

How Nightly Charging Impacts EV Battery Health

In the event that you ever charge your battery to 100%, you don’t have to fret. Although this isn’t ideal for battery health, a single overcharge won’t cause your battery to stop working. Instead, you should consider maintaining a battery charge of 20% to 80% good battery maintenance. The more consistent you are in sticking to this basic rule, the longer that this important and incredibly costly component will last.

But what about nightly charging? According to the most recent U.S. census, nearly 3.1 million people throughout the nation are super-commuting or commuting for 90 minutes or more. For everyone else, the average one-way daily driving distance is 26.6 miles. When this is added to quick jaunts to the store, daycare pick-ups and drop-offs, and other regular errands, it often warrants daily battery charging.

If your EV is a commute car, charging its battery nightly might not be optional. However, it’s important to note that charging your EV too often will definitely expedite normal wear. Frequent charging contributes to the ongoing degradation of EV batteries, diminishes their performance, and decreases their durability. The more charging cycles that an EV battery is subjected to, the more wear it ultimately sustains.

It’s also important to note that constantly plugging in your battery and disconnecting it also expedites the wear of all cords and connections. Nightly or frequent plug-ins can even have a negative impact on the specially installed, dedicated outlet that supports your at-home charging station.

Limiting the effects of nightly charging requires a good balance between keeping your EV battery above the 20% level, overcharging it, and tracking how often you’re initiating charging cycles. Whether built into charging stations or part of EVs themselves, charging management systems make it easy to strike this balance and hold it even when driving distances and charging needs are constantly changing.

EV Battery Maintenance Tips

To keep your EV battery in good condition, avoid parking your vehicle in direct sunlight when possible. Covered or shaded parking is best for ensuring that battery temperatures never rise too high. Although most modern EVS have automatic temperature control systems, these features often only engage when EVs are being driven. If temperature control is available while your vehicle is parked, putting your auto in the shade will prevent unnecessary and avoidable power use.

In addition to keeping your EV battery from being overcharged, you should also consider the damage caused by charging batteries too fast. Although fast-charging certainly seems like the most convenient choice, EV batteries tend to last longest when charged at slow and steady rates.

Another important way to protect your battery and your charging station is by having whole-house surge protection installed. Surge protection will minimize the impact that outages, tripped breakers, and mini-surge events have on your auto and its charging equipment.

We’ve been serving Fox Valley, WI since 1956. As technology has evolved, our services have too. In addition to heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services, we also provide EV charger installation and whole-house surge protection. Our clients can additionally turn to us for electrical panel installation and repairs, lighting upgrades, and home automation. To schedule an appointment, contact Black-Haak now!

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