By Sarah Lozanova, EV Copywriter
As electric vehicle (EV) ownership increases and becomes more mainstream, some car shoppers still have their doubts about switching away from vehicles with an internal combustion engine. Although the price of EVs has dropped, the EV tax credits continue, and the range has increased, many consumers are hesitant to own one. Car shoppers have a variety of concerns about taking the plunge, with many centered around relying on batteries and EV infrastructure.
Three main worries are the lack of public EV charging options, a short driving range, and the need to potentially replace the EV battery. Also, people who live in multifamily buildings or lack a dedicated parking spot may have issues charging at home. In addition, lack of knowledge about EVs continues to be a hurdle to widespread adoption. In particular, consumers need more information about EV batteries and specifically how long they last.
Battery technology has rapidly advanced in the last decade, and many car shoppers hold onto outdated or inaccurate information on the topic. Therefore, it is critical for EV professionals to educate consumers and help dispel myths.
How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Typically Last?
While lead-acid car batteries last about 3 – 5 years, EV battery lifespan is much longer. Typically, today’s EV batteries last 10 – 20 years. Many car manufacturers offer an 8 – 10-year or 100,000-mile warranty on EV batteries, which can help ease consumer concerns about battery longevity.
However, like solar panels, EV batteries don’t typically give out one day and stop operating. By contrast, they slowly degrade over time and become less effective in storing energy, decreasing vehicle range by 1% to 2% annually. This means the vehicle can eventually travel a shorter distance on a single charge.
What Kind Of Batteries Do EVs Use?
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) all use lithium-ion EV battery packs. Laptops, tablets, cell phones, e-bikes, and solar PV battery storage use lithium-ion batteries as well.
These battery banks have numerous advantages over other types because lithium-ion batteries have:
● High energy per unit mass
● High power-to-weight ratio
● Good temperature performance
● High energy efficiency
By Sarah Lozanova, Clean Energy Copywriter
Fires in electric vehicles (EVs) and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) have gained significant media attention in recent years. In a high-profile move, GM recalled Bolt batteries in 2020 and 2021, costing the company $1.9 billion. Battery defects were contributing to thermal runaway, but GM was not alone. Hyundai and Ford also recalled batteries for causing fires, costing the companies hundreds of millions of dollars each.
Likewise, there is a risk of building fires from residential, commercial, and utility-scale energy storage batteries. For example, due to fire hazard concerns, LG Energy Solutions recalled roughly 10,000 RESU 10H storage batteries in 2021. In addition, in 2019, an ESS caused an explosion at an Arizona Public Service (ASP) site, injuring several firefighters.
Although manufacturer defects have contributed to this issue, clean energy technicians need to create a thermal management strategy to prevent the risk of thermal runaway and the associated fire danger.
What Is Thermal Runaway?
Thermal runaway can be unforgiving if left unchecked. Thermal runaway is a process that involves increased temperature. Then, the release of energy causes a greater increase in temperature. Then, the cycle repeats itself, and this uncontrolled positive feedback can have a destructive result.
This phenomenon occurs in chemical engineering with exothermic reactions and electrical engineering with increased current flow and power dissipation. In civil engineering, thermal runaway occurs when large amounts of excess heat are released from curing concrete or in astrophysics with runaway nuclear fusion reactions in stars.
What Is Thermal Runaway In A Battery?
Thermal runaway in lithium-ion battery pack technology can occur when damage in a battery cell causes the release of toxic or flammable gases. This can then create a chain reaction as the decomposition of one battery cell spreads, causing further chemical reactions. In the process, heat builds up more quickly than it can dissipate. Finally, the battery ignites or even explodes.
One critical component in a lithium-ion battery is the separator, a porous membrane separating the anode and cathode sides of the battery while allowing ion transfer. However, separator breakdown, often caused by heat, can lead to thermal runaway.
Abuse factors on batteries are also often the trigger of thermal runaway. Common abuse factors include overcharging, overheating, battery misuse, manufacturer defects, and short circuits.
Often, excess heat accumulates faster than it is expelled. This causes the electrolyte in the battery to turn from a liquid into a gas. As the gas expands, it increases the internal pressure in the battery faster than it can be vented.
If there is intervention at this point and the abuse factor stops, this can prevent thermal runaway. However, if the separator in the battery is damaged, the positive and negative sides of the battery start mixing. The cracking of the separator causes smoke, which signals that failure is imminent and thermal runaway occurs.
By Sarah Lozanova, Clean Energy Writer
In 2022, more EVs are available than ever before, including the Rivian R1T, the first all-electric pickup, and the Lucid Air, winner of the 2022 Motor Trend Car of the Year award. As EV sales increase, ownership is becoming more mainstream and widespread. Now, EV shoppers have many options, from simple sedans to luxury cars and powerful SUVs.
If you're going to have a business installing EV Charging Stations, you should know about EVs. For instance, how far can one go? Many solar installers are also installing EV chargers as a way to upsell customers and provide a value add service.
Many potential EV drivers are concerned about recharging their EV batteries on the go because it is harder to charge a car than fill up with gas. Although range anxiety may not be a direct concern of your customers, let’s explore this critical topic so you can help educate the masses.
What Is An Electric Vehicle?
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have one or more electric motors to propel the vehicle and a battery pack to store energy. However, all-electric vehicles do not have an internal combustion engine and most have regenerative braking, which helps charge the battery when braking.
Now, there are all-electric sedans, SUVs, CUVs, sports cars, and pick-ups available on the market. Both legacy automakers, such as BMW, Chevy, and Hyundai, make EVs, as well as American start-ups like Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid Motors. Also, there are all-electric delivery vans and semis on the horizon.
By Sarah Lozanova, Clean Energy Writer
If you don’t already own an electric vehicle (EV), you might soon. Most automakers are ramping up the development and production of electrified models, including SUVs and pick-up trucks. EV ownership is predicted to skyrocket in the next few years. Because these vehicles need to charge, it is important to figure out the best approach.
When considering an EV purchase, it is wise to consider how you will charge it. The length of time it takes to charge depends on the battery capacity and the speed of the charger. It takes longer to charge a car with a larger or more discharged battery — or from a slower charging device. The way that many EV owners charge their vehicles is similar to how they charged their cell phones before quick chargers became widespread. They give the EV a full charge overnight and top it off as needed throughout the day.
Ideally, owners can charge their electric vehicle at home in a garage or driveway. This is typically the most convenient, especially when using slower units. Let’s explore the different types of chargers available.
Level 1 Chargers
These devices work from a standard 120-volt wall outlet and all EVs come with a standard home connector kit. However, Level 1 chargers require more time to charge the vehicle than higher-volt alternatives. Many EV drivers use this option if they are not in a hurry to charge because it doesn’t require an investment in additional equipment or electrical upgrades. It can also be convenient on the road because it requires no more than a standard electrical outlet.
Level 2 Chargers
For faster home charging than the standard wall units, some EV owners upgrade to Level 2 chargers. These units run off of 240-volt currents, allowing the vehicle to charge in several hours. From an electrical perspective, the chargers require the same voltage as many electric ranges, dryers, and water heaters.
Image Credit: Ivan Radic