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30 Oct, 2018|

Electric vehicles and battery life

We’ve all seen in the news plans to make vehicles on the UK roads effectively zero emissions by 2040. A plan which will ultimately result in the banning of petrol and diesel vehicles. With pressure recently being applied to the government to bring this target forward to 2032, electric vehicles are receiving a lot of attention given that uptake is expected to rise rapidly over the coming years.

According to WhatCar.com, battery life is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to making the move to an electric vehicle. This is an area that will be of obvious concern to those involved in the shipment of cargo by truck or van given the nature of the work many of the vehicles carry out and distances they travel.

Batteries as we know from those that we use at home have a limited life and over time, their capacity decreases. This is no different to the batteries which are used in electric vehicles. As the battery in the vehicle is charged and then discharged through use, each of these cycles results in the battery losing some of its capacity. The more cycles the battery goes through the more it degrades.

Over time this will mean that the vehicle can do less mileage for each battery charge until it becomes impractical to use the vehicle as the mileage achieved before requiring another charge is so limited. Ultimately this would mean a new battery being required.

There are steps that can be taken to maximise the life of the battery and avoid causing damage

Not over charging the battery – it’s not good for batteries to be kept constantly at full charge
Avoid heavily draining the battery – a battery is likely to last longer if you avoid draining a lot of its power in one go
Avoid exposing the battery to extreme heat or cold – keeping the battery at an even temperature is much better for it

There is also ongoing work looking at how the batteries can be recycled without further impact on the environment. Under current EU regulation the recycling of batteries is the responsibility of the car manufacturer, so they will be keen to find the best solution – whether this be recycling or reuse.

It is also thought that future developments to the battery and types of chemical make-up used could further improve capacity and range.

If you work in the cargo industry moving goods via land, then this is an area for you to keep an eye on. We recently blogged about what the move to electric vehicles could mean for the transport and cargo industry and Anthony Jones as a whole are keeping up to date with changes and what the of new electric and autonomous technology could be on fleet insurance.