Do you wonder what powers an electric car? Most people have a faint idea of the inner workings of an EV but most people are surprised to know that most electric vehicles are powered by the same battery used to power a regular smartphone. The only difference is that an electric vehicle battery pack has thousands of such cells.
Another common concern people have is regarding battery degradation. Everyone has experienced the degradation in the performance of batteries in their smartphones after a couple of years. Smartphones with replaceable batteries have become a rare commodity and most people are forced to upgrade to the latest model.
Do you wonder if the same is going to happen with an electric vehicle? Fortunately, things work differently with electric car batteries. This blog post will explore the most common questions people have concerning electric battery packs, charge cycles, battery lifespan and all the related things.
What Is an EV Battery?
Most electric vehicles on the road are powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. This is a rechargeable battery that is primarily made of a combination of lithium ions, nickel, cobalt and some other rare earth metals.
An EV battery needs to be light yet have a high energy density. This helps in packing more batteries into the small space. Big EV manufacturers such as Tesla use the common 18650 battery which is also used for smartphones. There are different types of lithium-ion batteries including:
- NCM – Stands for nickel, cobalt, and manganese.
- LFP – Stands for lithium, iron, and phosphate.
- NCA – Stands for nickel, cobalt, and aluminium.
How Do EV Batteries Work?
There are four main parts of a lithium-ion or an electric vehicle battery. These include:
Cathode and anode store lithium ions. The liquid electrolyte is responsible for carrying lithium ions between the cathode and anode. The role of the separator is to physically keep the anode and cathode separate. This allows only ions to pass through.
When you press the accelerator in your car, the battery starts discharging. In this process, lithium ions move from the negative electrode or the anode to the positive electrode or the cathode through the electrolyte.
This process produces energy in the form of electricity which is supplied to the motor for powering the electric vehicle. During the charging process, this process happens in reverse.
Electric Vehicle Batteries Capacity
The battery capacity of an electric vehicle is measured in terms of kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy. Modern electric cars are available in wide-ranging battery capacities. For instance, there are cars that have a battery pack with a capacity of just over 17 kWh whereas you also have the Tesla Model S and Model X which have a battery pack with a capacity of over 100 kWh.
Higher capacity simply means more range. Manufacturers of electric vehicles are constantly innovating and trying to increase the range of their electric vehicles.
What makes lithium-ion perfect for electric vehicle batteries is limited degradation in its recharge capacity after thousands of car cycles. There are Teslas out there that still retain more than 90% of the original charging capacity after being driven for more than 350,000 km.
Most modern manufacturers offer extended warranty for their batteries. In most cases, the warranty covers the battery up to 100,000 km or 8 years. The warranty suggests that the battery will retain at least 80% of its original charging capacity after being driven for 8 years or 100,000 km.
How Long Does an Electric Car Last?
An electric car is surprisingly lean. There are electric cars out there that have no more than a total of 20 moving components whereas your traditional cars have over 200 moving components.
At the end of the day, the electric car will last as long as its battery pack. Battery manufacturers have made a lot of progress in enhancing the serviceable life of battery packs. As mentioned earlier, most manufacturers offer a battery warranty covering 8 years or 100,000 km.
In short, there is no need to worry about battery degradation. Electric cars are going to last longer compared to traditional ICE cars.
Electric Car Batteries Environmental Impact
Everybody is concerned about the environment these days and the disposal of electric car batteries pose yet another challenge. The good news is that the electric car battery pack can be put to other uses once it is not fit for use in an electric vehicle.
For example, many manufacturers are repurposing batteries that have deteriorated to 70% of the original charging capacity for use as power storage for home use or for powering freezers and refrigerators in the stores and other similar purposes.
How to Dispose of EV Batteries
In Australia, around 3,300 tons of lithium-ion battery waste is generated each year. This number is expected to go up fast with the rise in the number of electric vehicles on the road.
There are several processes that are being used around the world including pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy. Several other processes and logistical solutions are being explored for the safe and efficient disposal/recycling of EV battery waste.
Currently, you don’t need to worry about recycling as these batteries are expected to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.
Most electric vehicle batteries are lithium-ion which also power your smartphone. The only difference is that a typical EV packs in thousands of these cells along with various other technologies to keep the battery pack efficient.
EV batteries are much more environmentally friendly compared to fossil fuels as these batteries last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. Most manufacturers offer a generous warranty covering at least 8 years or 100,000 km. In short, EV batteries last a really long time and are good for the environment compared to the options in use today.
Buy Electric Vehicle Chargers at Get Electric
Get Electric is the premier provider of a variety of electric chargers – commercial & residential – at affordable prices. We offer a wide range of products with options for an embedded digital advertising system along with a fast EV charger. Our chargers are designed to withstand extreme environments and are made from industrial-grade components with a minimum service life of more than 15 years.
Please call us today on 1800 GET NOW to learn more about our EV charging and infrastructure solutions or leave an enquiry and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.