Sheltering in place also means taking care of your EV.

Enel X, makers of the popular line of JuiceBox electric vehicle charging equipment wants you to know the basics of properly maintaining your EV while "shelter in place" orders continue. To that end, they've put up a new post on their JuiceBlog titled "Electric Vehicle Tips for COVID-19 Shelter In Place".

While electric vehicles do require much less maintenance than gas cars, it doesn't mean they don't require any maintenance at all. In fact, during extended periods of non-use, it may be even more important to follow proper maintenance protocols. When you're driving the car on a daily basis, there's little to worry about. It's when an EV is sitting unused for an extended period that you really need to make sure the battery is properly cared for. 

From the blog post:

"The heart of any electric car is its battery – and for many EV owners, this is where electric car maintenance questions arise. Most drivers are familiar with measures that need to be taken with gas cars while sitting for long periods, such as occasional driving to ensure adequate battery charge and to circulate the engine oil and coolant, and for longer periods changing spark plugs and air filters. Luckily, electric cars have fewer moving parts and are less maintenance intensive.

Standby power drain – or “vampire drain” – is one of the more noticeable side effects of an electric car that remains parked for an extended period. This drain is a slow reduction in lithium-ion battery energy caused by onboard systems that stay active while a vehicle is not in use, such as security systems, low-level computer systems, telematics, and so on. The loss of range is not significant on a daily basis, at approximately one to two percent per day, though that could increase slightly in colder temperatures. If left dormant for a week or longer, the loss in range can be noticeable."

What to do?

Making sure your EV's battery is kept at a proper state of charge is very important during periods of non-use. Most battery experts recommend keeping EV batteries somewhere between 40% and 80% while the vehicle is sitting for long periods. Some EVs, like Teslas for instance, allow the owner to set the maximum charge level, but many other EVs do not. If your EV doesn't have the ability to stop charging before it reaches 100%, you could just monitor the charging yourself, and then unplug the vehicle when it reaches the charge level you desire. 

JuiceNet charge level
A screenshot of the JuiceNet app shows my Tesla Model 3 charging and I've set the JuiceBox to only add 10 kWh to the battery. That will bring my charge level up to the state of charge that I want to keep the car at during this non-use period.

Unlike most EV charging equipment, Enel X points out in their post that their JuiceBox EVSE have the ability to stop charging when your vehicle reaches a desired level of charge. In order to initiate that feature, you need to enter into the JuiceNet app how many kWh you want to add to your battery and the car will stop charging once it has added your desired amount of energy to the vehicle. That's one of the unique features that the JuiceBox line of EVSE can do.

Enel JuiceBox
Enel X JuiceBox


Smart Charging and the Electrical Grid

Enel X (formally eMotorWerks) has been a leader in utility-EV charging load shifting, and demand response programs. That's because it's not only important to make sure our EV charging is coming from clean, renewable sources. The time of day that we charge can also play a big role in how much emissions the energy we're driving on has generated, especially in California:

"Even while sheltering in place, communities can still do their part for the environment by leveraging smart charging events to charge with the surplus of solar energy during the daytime as our daylight hours increase or evening wind production. While the daily lives of most have been turned upside down, the electrical grid is still seeing a decreased demand as workplaces, businesses, industrial facilities, event venues and more remain closed or operate at minimal capacity. However, demand from homes has remained steady and increased in many regions.

As a result, smart charging events are still happening frequently in California ISO and beyond, giving drivers the opportunity to not only charge with clean energy, but to save while doing so. Keeping your electric car plugged into your JuiceBox gives you the opportunity to maximize the use of renewable energy via JuicePoints or JuiceNet Green, depending on which program you’re participating in. For JuicePoints users in California or Hawaii, if you need to use your car sooner, just tap “Charge Now” in the JuiceNet app at any time to charge immediately without any interruption. Also, during this period, owners of JuiceNet-enabled devices can redeem JuicePoints for cash rewards."

So while you're taking care of your family and yourself, don't forget to take care of your EV. You can check out the entire JuiceBlog post here, and please, stay safe everyone. 

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