Guide To Your Li-ion Electric Vehicle Battery

Electric Vehicle ownership is at an all time high, and an estimated 75% of global vehicle manufacturers have begun producing, investing in, or at the very least researching EVs, suggests data featured on McKinsey’s & Co. EVs operate not so differently from conventional fuel vehicles, but there are some key differences that change the driving and ownership experience, and those differences stem from the energy source: the EV battery.

This short but insight-packed guide to your electric vehicle battery overviews the things an EV owner should know about the battery, some science-backed practices for prolonging the health of the EV battery, what prospective EV buyers should know about the batteries, and more.


Awareness of factors such as preferred weather and temperature, battery life, and safety on rough terrains can help EV enthusiasts make informed choices. EV owners can also play a role in aiding battery recycling and repurposing efforts, and various brands have begun battery warranty programs that replace the battery as soon as it begins to lose capacity or performance.

Electric vehicle battery fundamentals

  • Battery Type: Most EVs use some variant of lithium-ion batteries due to their high energy density and long life span.
  • Capacity and Range: Depend on the battery's kWh capacity, which directly affects the vehicle's range.
  • State of Charge (SoC): Similar to a fuel gauge in ICE vehicles, it indicates the remaining battery charge.
  • Depth of Discharge (DoD): It's healthier for EV batteries to avoid full discharges regularly.

How to prolong EV battery health

  • Optimal charging: Avoid charging to 100% and depleting to 0% regularly. Keeping the charge between 20-80% is ideal for most Lithium ion battery technologies.
  • Temperature management: Extreme temperatures can degrade battery health. Parking in the shade/indoors and using pre-conditioning features can help.
  • Driving habits: Smooth acceleration & braking can reduce battery strain, as well as using eco mode.

Inspiration from EV fleet battery maintenance strategies

In their initial takeoff, EVs were first rife in the commercial ecosystem, which included cabs, fleets, and public transport. Here are some insights adapted from commercial EVs that personal EV owners may benefit from:

  • Predictive maintenance: An increasing number of EVs use data analytics embedded in the Battery Management System (BMS) to predict and prevent battery issues before they occur.
  • Charging strategies: Implementing smart EV charging schedules to minimize battery strain, by preventing deep discharge and frequently topping up the battery within its ideal State of Charge range.
  • Battery swapping: Some fleets use battery swapping to maintain continuous vehicle operation. We may see personal EV battery swapping options in the future, though not soon. If you as an EV owner want battery swapping at home, it would be a good idea to contact your EV manufacturer and tell them your demand.

Factors for prospective EV buyer awareness

  • Weather and temperature: Batteries perform best in moderate temperatures, and Lithium-ion Batteries are sensitive to temperature extremes. High temperatures can accelerate chemical reactions, leading to faster degradation, while low temperatures can slow down ion mobility, reducing performance.
  • Chemistry variants: Different lithium-ion chemistries react differently to temperature changes. For example, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries are known for better performance at high temperatures compared to other lithium-ion variants, but carry a shorter range.
  • Safety: EV batteries should have robust safety features to prevent thermal runaway and are generally considered safe for offroading, but checking international safety scores is always a great idea.

EV battery recycling & repurposing

EV batteries are full of toxic but valuable critical materials that can be recycled at high yields and efficiencies with current technologies.

As an individual you can help circularity through:

  • Awareness: Owners should become aware of recycling programs and participate in them when the battery reaches its end-of-first-life and begins to lose performance.
  • Second life batteries: Consider choosing Energy Storage Systems made from repurposed EV battery cells for home solar setups and backup UPS.
  • Consumer demand: Contacting your EV brand and inquiring about their battery recycling or disposal process will tell you the depth of sustainability of your vehicle.

How does EV safety compare to ICE vehicles:

  • Fire risks: EVs have an estimated 20% to 80% lower risk of fire compared to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles.
  • Structural safety: EVs often have a lower center of gravity, significantly reducing rollover risk.
  • Battery versus fuel: EV batteries are considered safer than gasoline due to the absence of flammable liquid fuel.

For the most suitable lithium-ion battery technology for rough terrains like offroading, solid-state batteries are emerging as a safer and more stable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries, offering higher energy density and reduced risk of thermal events. Continuous advancements in technology mean that staying updated with the latest research and manufacturer guidelines is crucial for accurate information.

Safety across different Lithium-ion chemistries

Battery chemistry plays a crucial role in the performance, safety, and charging strategies of EV batteries.

  • LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate): Known for its safety due to its thermal and chemical stability. It's less prone to overheating and is thus considered one of the safest lithium-ion battery chemistries.
  • NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt): Offers a good balance between energy density and safety but can be more susceptible to thermal runaway if not properly managed.
  • NCA (Nickel Cobalt Aluminum): Similar to NMC, it has a high energy density but requires careful thermal management to ensure safety.

To conclude

Understanding these nuances helps EV owners, fleet operators, and prospective buyers. It's important to note that while LFP batteries might offer better safety and thermal performance, they typically have a lower energy density than NMC or NCA batteries. This trade-off must be considered when choosing the right battery for specific driving environments, especially in terms of range and performance requirements.

Prospective EV buyers should consider their driving habits, climate, and charging infrastructure when selecting a vehicle. Those in hotter climates might lean towards EVs that come with LFP batteries, while those in moderate climates could consider NMC or NCA powered EVs for a longer range.

In terms of aiding battery recycling and repurposing efforts, EV owners can contribute by choosing vehicles with batteries that have a well-established recycling chain. The choice of battery chemistry can further enhance safety, with LFP, NMC, and LTO being notable examples of battery chemistry with a strong safety profile. The types of EV batteries are diversifying, but Lithium ion batteries are expected to be a mainstay of electric transit for the foreseeable future.