No EV owner can escape battery degradation. But drivers of battery-powered cars can take steps to reduce the rate at which the high-voltage battery pack loses its energy-storage capacity so that the driving range stays as close as possible to the original figure five or 10 years down the road.

The issue of battery degradation is well documented and we have several articles about what owners can do to minimize its effects, but this time we get a very nice rundown of what actually happens inside the battery when it loses capacity from none other than the man behind the YouTube channel Engineering Explained.

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Three tips that can make an EV battery last (almost) forever

YouTuber Engineering Explained (Jason Fenske) posted a new video showing in detail what happens inside a lithium-ion battery when its not being cared for properly.

As usual, Jason Fenske uses a simple whiteboard to detail the physical and chemical changes that happen inside each battery cell without the driver knowing, making us feel like we’re in school again.

But even if you’re not interested in the technicalities, Jason boils everything down to three steps that owners can take to maximize the life of the high-voltage battery, and they’re pretty simple:

  • don’t store an EV at high temperatures with a full battery;
  • don’t wait until the battery dies to recharge;
  • don’t routinely charge to 100%.

To be clear, these tips apply to Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries, and not Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) ones, which can be regularly recharged to 100% without worrying about degradation.

The reasons behind each tip are nicely detailed in the video, but the main takeaway is that, even if you can’t follow these steps–for whatever reason–it will probably be fine. The battery will still probably outlast the vehicle and even if the energy capacity drops, it won’t make the car undrivable (if it doesn't have other issues, that is).

As for fast charging, it makes little to no difference in the rate of degradation compared to Level 2 charging, so go wild if you can. We already knew about this from last year’s study published by Recurrent Auto, which found that EVs that are fast-charged at least 90% of the time show almost no difference in range degradation compared to EVs that are fast-charged less than 10% of the time.

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