Understanding Electric Car Batteries

The automobile industry is growing up everyday as the world is non stop developing. Together with the exploration of car brands, nowadays, many manufacturers introduce new car line under the name electric car. According to the introduction of car makers, electric cars are convenient. And the important thing is it is friendly with the environment since it does not use fuel. But of course it has some drawbacks. One of the main problems is the electric car battery

electric car battery
Electric car is friendly with the environment since it does not use fuel. Cre: kinwun – stock.adobe.com

Understanding your electric car battery will help you save time and money investing in electric cars. Let’s find out how electric car batteries work and some tips to extend your electric car life.

A Brief Of History 

According to Wikipedia, electric vehicles first appeared in the mid-19th century. An electric vehicle held the vehicular land speed record until around 1900. The high cost, low top speed, and short range of battery electric vehicles, compared to later internal combustion engine vehicles, led to a worldwide decline in their use; although electric vehicles have continued to be used in the form of electric trains and other niche uses.

The invention of the first model electric vehicle is attributed to various people. In 1828, Ányos Jedlik invented an early type of electric motor. He also created a small model car powered by his new motor. Also in 1834, Vermont blacksmith Thomas Davenport built a similar contraption which operated on a short, circular, electrified track. Then in 1835, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh of Groningen, the Netherlands. His assistant Christopher Becker from Germany also created a small-scale electric car, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the world has faced a serious problem related to the emission of vehicles which use fuel. The interest in the electric car has increased rapidly. 

Since 2010, combined sales of all-electric cars and utility vans achieved 1 million units delivered globally in September 2016, and reached 3.3 million units in December 2018. The global ratio between annual sales of battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids went from 56:44 in 2012 to 74:26 in 2019

The Capacity Of Electric Car Battery

The capacity of an electric car battery can be understood easily as the capacity of our mobile phone. Why can’t our smartphones last longer than one or two days before they need to be recharged? Consumers want a smaller phone but high capacity battery by the time. So manufacturers are in the race of equipping phones with smaller batteries.

The same problem affects electric vehicles, where the range of an electric car is in large part tied to the volume of its battery. So what is the capacity of the battery for electric cars?

An electric vehicle’s battery capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), the same unit your home electric meter records to determine your monthly electric bill. In the electric vehicle world, kilowatt-hours are to batteries as gallons are to gas tanks. But a full battery does not mean a full fuel tank. Keep in mind that the rated capacity of the battery is something you will never be able to reach. To preserve battery efficiency and battery life, a “state-of-charge” management system never lets the battery become 100 percent full or 100 percent empty.

electric vehicle battery cost
Kia upgrades the e-Niro electric SUV battery for 2020 – and has promised a “major ramp-up” in supply of it. Cre: MAGROUND GmbH

So rather than pay too much attention to the fact that Kia E Niro has battery’s capacity at 64kWh or Honda E has usable battery rated at 35kWh, you should use the rated capacity figure to compare the relative size of batteries. You’ll never be able to tap all of that energy, anyway.

Charging Electric Car Battery

The Goals

Due to electric car battery technology, The car which uses an electric battery needs a charging system to recharge the batteries. There are two goals of the charging system. First is to pump electricity into the batteries as quickly as the batteries will allow. The second is to monitor the batteries and avoid damaging them during the charging process.

What users care the most is about time and money when charging the batteries. How long an EV takes to charge depends on its battery size and the voltage of the charger that the consumer uses. How much the charging costs depends on when and where the vehicle is charged.

Time consumption

Usually, electric car users charge the battery at home before the exploration of recharging stations. And most of them will use the 120-volt “trickle-charging” cord that comes with most EVs. A trickle-charging cord is intended to top off batteries from any standard electrical outlet that can be reached without an extension cord. Unfortunately, it can take about 20 hours or more for full charge on 120 volts. Therefore users want to change into 240 volt charger, which is faster to fill. The cost for changing the charger includes the installation fee is about $2000. 


Money consumption

About the cost for charging the battery, it varies for the rated capacity of each type battery and the way you charge it. If you charge at night, for sure it is the time at which the electric rates are lower than during the day. By that you can save money for that. It is also important to remember that the very act of charging carries a hidden cost. Battery charging is inherently inefficient because of the heat that’s generated. Fans and cooling systems in the car operate during the process, and they use some more of the electricity that’s coming down the charge cord.

The Range Of Electric Car Battery

If you enter the electric vehicle world. The most headache question you will face is the range of the electric car battery because it varies much more for an electric vehicle than it does for a conventional car. Nissan Leaf can go 252km, Peugeot i0n can go 150 km meanwhile Polestar 2 can go 470 km. High and low temperatures affect battery performance and reduce range. It is why some EVs are first being introduced in areas that aren’t very hot or very cold. Also, quick acceleration and fast driving discharge the battery faster. 

Because of the variables, the kilometers which electric cars can go may vary from the number which manufacturer indicated. For example, if the manufacturer says 250 km of range, it could be 210 km or it could be 280km.

electric car battery technology
Electric vehicles with battery type, range.

How Much Does An Electric Vehicle Battery Cost?

Before answering the question how much does an electric vehicle battery cost, we have to know what determines the electric car battery price

What determines the electric car battery cost?

The price of an electric vehicle battery is determined by its capacity in kilowatt hours (kWh), which dictates its range and the power level of the motor that it supplies. In 2015 the price of the battery of an electric car accounted for more than half (57%) of the vehicle’s production cost according to analysts at BloombergNEF. In 2010, the average price per kilowatt hour was 1,037 euros whereas by 2018 it was less than 160 euros. So by 2024 it could drop below 90 euros according to the Groupe Renault.

Another factor affecting the price of batteries is the material which car makers use to produce batteries. Since 2015, the electric car battery which is made of lithium has decreased since the drop in cost of lithium. If the batteries are made of cobalt, the batteries will cost much of money since cobalt is expensive currently. However, researchers are trying to reduce the cobalt content of batteries. And instead use nickel, use other material which is more plentiful and cheaper.

Price of electric car battery

According to Bloomberg new Energy Finance (BNEF), from 2010 to 2019, lithium-ion battery prices (when looking at the battery pack as a whole) have fallen from $1,100 per kilowatt-hour to $156/kwh—an 87% cut. From 2018 to 2019 alone, that represents a cut of 13%. The report also suggested that we’ll reach the $100/kwh mark earlier than it had previously anticipated—by 2023. But just in 2017, BNEF had previously predicted the business would fall below $100/kwh by 2025. 

battery for electric cars
Statistical table of price of electric car battery.

Sum Up

The energy output of an electric car battery depends on the capacity and number of lithium-ion cells it contains, but also varies depending on the conditions under which it is used. The challenge is to find the right balance between capacity, ease of charging, bulk and components needed to boost its energy efficiency.

Understanding your electric car battery will help you a lot in determining which electric car you should buy and how to use it in the most effective way. Check out other maintenance tips for better understanding your car problem and solution