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How Does Battery Degradation Affect Electric Vehicles?

When you buy an electric vehicle, you might think that the only thing you have to maintain is taking it to charging stations and keeping its tires properly inflated. However, the truth is that batteries don’t last forever, and they degrade over time. This affects the efficiency and range of EVs, as vehicles aren’t capable to deliver the same performance and mileage to customers.

A few electric vehicle manufacturers have already publicly stated that they are shortening the warranty period on their batteries to match the capacity degradation in the early years. To a certain degree, this is understandable. Batteries cost a lot of money and are hard to replace, so a manufacturer wants to limit their financial risk as much as possible. But what about the customer? Most people will buy an electric vehicle for several reasons, but one of the major advantages that most potential owners appreciate is having a clean and silent driving experience without having to pay for fuel or going to the gas station.

Here are the basics of EV battery degradation and how it affects consumers:

What is Battery Degradation?

Battery degradation refers to a loss in performance over time. In EVs, this is regarded as a decrease in range over time. EV batteries have a finite lifespan, meaning they can only be charged so many times before they stop functioning properly. The average EV battery can last up to 300,000 miles or 15 years — whichever comes first — which has led to some concerns about battery performance over time.

Battery degradation is the decline in the performance of a battery. As a battery cycles, the chemical potential of its cells will gradually diminish. This means that for the same amount of energy (for example, a full charge), the electric vehicle will be able to cover fewer miles.

The degree of degradation depends on numerous factors, including:

  • The type of battery (lithium-ion, lithium iron phosphate, etc.)
  • The type of car (hybrid vehicles are subject to less degradation than pure EVs)
  • How you drive your car (miles travelled, frequency of charging and discharging, etc.)
  • Your climate (cold weather can negatively affect performance)
  • The number of times you’ve charged and discharged your battery.

Degradation can happen in two ways: capacity fade and power fade.

Capacity fade refers to the reduction in energy capacity as batteries age, while power fade refers to the decrease in power capability over time. For EVs, both kinds of degradation are important. However, power fade is more critical since it can cause safety issues, such as longer charging times which lead to overheating and flame retardant systems being deployed in extreme cases such as battery fires.

How Does Batteries’ Degradation Affect EVs?

The main concern is that electric vehicles will lose their range capabilities over time. This means that by the end of the vehicle’s life, it isn’t able to go as far on one charge as it could when it was new. Many EV manufacturers offer warranties for their batteries, but those warranties typically only cover vehicles for up to 10 years or 150.

Future is Bright

With better chemistries and operating behaviors, we can surely make our batteries last longer, but when it comes to the manufacturing and operating ecosystem, its very vital to have battery health monitoring systems in place which includes a clear flow of accurate data, predictive modelling, data analytics and visualizations to better operate, understand and evolve the system from bare basics.

iRasus is part of a growing list of companies developing battery analytics tools focused on providing accurate data in real time on vehicle performance and behavior. iRasus operates on digital twin technology which gives it the ability to monitor battery health and charging cycles, enabling companies in EV ecosystem (EV OEM’s, Battery Pack OEM’s, Charging Station, etc) to remotely diagnose issues and make better business decisions for their EV customers.

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