Storing Your EV and How It Differs from Traditional Cars

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are not just changing how we drive; they’re also redefining the way we think about vehicle storage. Storing an EV, especially for prolonged periods, presents unique challenges compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Understanding these differences is crucial for maintaining the longevity and performance of your EV. Here’s an in-depth look at how to store an EV and the key distinctions from storing a conventional car.

1. Understanding Battery Health

The most significant difference between an EV and an ICE vehicle lies in the battery. EV batteries require careful maintenance, particularly when the vehicle is stored for an extended period.

  • Optimal Battery Charge: It’s recommended to store your EV with a battery charge between 50% and 80%. This range helps maintain battery health and longevity. Unlike an ICE vehicle, where fuel level isn’t a major concern during storage, an EV’s battery charge level is crucial.
  • Avoid Full Charges: Storing an EV with a 100% charge can stress the battery, leading to capacity loss over time. Conversely, storing with too low a charge can lead to a deep discharge state, potentially rendering the battery unusable.

2. Location Matters

The ideal storage location for an EV is similar to that of an ICE vehicle – a cool, dry, and secure area. However, for EVs, temperature control becomes more critical.

  • Temperature Impact on Batteries: Extreme cold or heat can adversely affect an EV’s battery. A temperature-controlled environment is ideal to prevent battery degradation.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Long-term exposure to direct sunlight can heat the battery and the interior electronics of an EV, potentially causing harm.

3. EV-Specific Preparations

Preparing an EV for storage involves steps that aren’t necessary for ICE vehicles.

  • Disconnecting Power: If your EV will be stored for an extended period, consider disconnecting the main power supply or battery. Consult your vehicle’s manual for the recommended procedure.
  • Software Updates: Ensure that your EV’s software is up-to-date. Some EVs can receive over-the-air updates, but others may require a manual update.

4. Tires and Mechanical Components

Just like ICE vehicles, EVs also need attention to their tires and mechanical parts when stored.

  • Tire Pressure: Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure to prevent flat spots from forming during storage.
  • Parking Brake: Use tire stoppers instead of the parking brake to prevent brake pads from sticking to the rotors.

5. Interior and Exterior Care

Taking care of the exterior and interior is similar for both EVs and ICE vehicles.

  • Clean and Wax: Wash and wax the exterior to protect the paint. Clean the interior and remove any perishables or items that can attract pests.
  • Cover the Vehicle: Use a breathable car cover, especially if you’re storing the vehicle outdoors.

6. Maintenance Checks

Regular checks are important, even when the car is in storage.

  • Battery Health Check: For long-term storage, periodically check the battery charge and maintain it within the recommended range.
  • Fluids in EVs: While EVs have fewer fluids than ICE vehicles, it’s still important to check brake fluid and coolant levels.

7. Reactivating the Vehicle

When it’s time to take the EV out of storage, the process is somewhat different from an ICE vehicle.

  • Slowly Recharge the Battery: Gradually bring the battery charge up to full capacity. Avoid fast charging immediately after taking the vehicle out of storage.
  • Check for Software Updates: Before driving, ensure that your EV’s software is current.
  • Inspect Tires and Brakes: Check the tire pressure and inspect the brakes for any issues.

8. Differences in Long-Term Storage

In long-term storage, the differences between EVs and ICE vehicles become more pronounced.

  • Battery Management: For EVs, managing battery health is a continuous concern, even in storage. In contrast, the primary concern for ICE vehicles is preventing the fuel from going stale.
  • Reduced Fluid Maintenance for EVs: EVs benefit from having fewer fluids that can degrade over time, unlike ICE vehicles.

Storing an EV requires a nuanced approach, focusing primarily on battery health and environmental considerations. While some aspects of vehicle storage remain consistent between EVs and ICE vehicles, such as tire care and physical protection, the technological differences in EVs call for additional steps and considerations. By understanding and addressing these unique needs, you can ensure that your EV remains in top condition, ready to provide a smooth, eco-friendly ride upon your return. Whether you drive a cutting-edge Tesla, a reliable Nissan Leaf, or any other electric model, these tips will help you care for your vehicle during those periods when it’s not in use, preserving its value and functionality for the future

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