SMALL fleets with electric vehicles on their fleet should be careful how they charge their vehicles during an extended period of non-use.
While the temptation to keep the car continually plugged in and ready to go is understandable, EV experts are suggesting that prolonged charging could lead to battery harm, which in turn means reduced range availability.
That’s because fully electric cars (EVs) do not like to have their batteries maintained at 100% all the time. This will lead to performance degradation. It is best to keep the battery at between a 50-80% state of charge.
You can keep your EV plugged into the charger if it has the ability to maintain a certain state of charge (between 50-80%). And many do.
Octopus EV, the leasing provider of the electric provision firm, says:
“Set your car to charge to between 50-80% max, batteries don’t like being kept full so keep your car’s charger limit set so a nice middle ground, even if you keep it plugged in. Your car will cycle through which parts of the battery to fill and which to leave empty.”
David Watts, consultant at the fleet management and leasing company Arval, provided this additional advice.
“General manufacturer advice is that if 100% battery range is not required for your journey, you should routinely charge to no more than 80% to reduce battery degradation and maintain its efficiency over time.
“Therefore, it is recommended that if the EV is unused for an extended period – as is likely to happen during the lockdown – it is not left plugged in and charging continuously to keep it at 100%. This has the potential to damage the battery.
“Experienced EV users may know this fact already but, in recent months, we have seen a significant increase in the number of drivers of these kinds of vehicles, partially thanks to the new 0% benefit in kind company car taxation rate, therefore many people may not be aware of the risk.”
David added that it remained important to keep an eye on the current state of charge of your EV but that normally, charging was only desirable if it fell below 50% and shouldn’t be allowed to drop below 20%.
What If Your EV Doesn’t Have A Charge Control?
Not all EVs have the ability to regulate control of the charge level. In this case you may need to do a bit of maths to maintain your EV battery in the optimum state of charge.
Electrochemist Dr Euan McTurk is a presenter on Plug Life television and his excellent but short video on YouTube called Keeping your EV healthy during the coronavirus lockdown offers the charging guidance in an easy-to-follow way. See video below:
Changes To Company Car Tax Benefit EV Drivers
From 06 April 2020 the benefit in kind company car tax has been changed to encourage the take up of ultra low emission and zero emission vehicles. Last tax year a driver of an EV was taxed at 16%. This financial year they will be taxed at 0%, a significant benefit and likely to encourage more employees back to the company car.
For more on this, read our story Fleets Need To Crackle Into Life On EV Change.