16th June 2021
Thinking of making the transition to an electric vehicle, but wondering how long you’ll actually drive it for? In this detailed guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know – from how often you can expect to recharge an electric car battery, through to the battery’s lifespan and the environmental benefits of electric vehicles.
Electric car batteries store energy in kilowatt hours (kWh), an industry standard charging unit that you’ll probably recognise from your electricity bill. Like with petrol and diesel engines, the battery size in electric cars can vary. An average electric car has a battery of 60kWh which will be enough to power it for roughly 200 miles.
Electric cars operate by plugging into a charging point, and receiving electricity from the grid. This electricity is then stored in rechargeable batteries which powers the electric motor of the vehicle – and allows the vehicle’s wheels to move.
Unlike petrol and diesel vehicles, which aren't able to use kinetic energy caused by braking, electric cars store thermal energy from the brake pads and tyre's heat friction and reuse it to power the vehicle.
There are different types of electric vehicles that you can own and not all of them run solely on electricity. For example, hybrid electric vehicles use both a traditional combustion engine powered by petrol or diesel and an electric battery powered motor.
Like with fuel powered vehicles, how often you need to recharge an electric car battery will depend on how regularly you're driving, as well as the size of the car's battery and the power rating of the electric charger.
Most electric vehicle manufacturers encourage drivers to opt for regular top-up charging. This method involves accessing free charging points regularly to keep your battery running at full power as often as possible.
There are two ways to charge an electric vehicle. You can go to a public charging station or have a dedicated home charger installed if you have off-road parking. Find out more about how to charge electric cars in our helpful guide.
Charging an electric car is much cheaper than you might think. If you're charging an electric car at home with a battery of 60kWh and a 200-mile range, you're looking at paying just £10. That will take about eight hours if you're charging it from completely flat to full.
The time it takes to charge an electric car battery varies from 30 minutes to over 12 hours.
A quicker way to charge your electric vehicle is rapid charging, which can charge your car’s battery to 80% capacity in less than an hour.
According to the chief strategy officer of Britishvolt, Isobel Sheldon, modern electric vehicle battery packs are designed to last up to 12 years and 1500-2000 charge cycles. Manufacturers use a number of techniques to make electric car batteries last longer, such as 'buffering' batteries so drivers can't use the full amount of power, which reduces the number of charging cycles the battery goes through.
While an electric vehicle battery will degenerate over time and eventually lose its capacity to power a car, it can be repurposed to contribute to battery storage systems or be paired with renewable energy sources to help power your home.
When the battery does reach the end of its life, it’s recycled and the valuable materials, like cobalt and lithium salts, are separated out.
In comparison to petrol and diesel cars, electric vehicles are a much more environmentally friendly solution to road travel. The main environmental benefits are that they:
Learn more about the advantages of electric vehicles in our detailed guide.
Here are Merityre Specialists, our branches have fully trained experts providing maintenance checks and services for electric vehicles. Whatever vehicle you have, we always have you covered – simply locate your nearest Merityre Specialists garage now for more information about electric vehicles.