- Prepare the Battery
- Find the Right Storage Location
- Prepare the Vehicle
- Disconnect and Maintain Electrical Components
- Regular Maintenance Checks
As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain popularity, it’s important to know how to properly store them when they’re not in use for an extended period. Whether you’re going on vacation, storing your EV during winter, or simply not using it for an extended period, following the right storage procedures will help maintain the vehicle’s performance and ensure its longevity. In this article, we’ll explore the essential steps to store an electric vehicle effectively.
The battery is a crucial component of an electric vehicle. To ensure its longevity and optimal performance, follow these steps:
- Charge the Battery: Before storing your electric vehicle, make sure the battery is fully charged. A full charge will help prevent it from self-discharging over time and potentially entering a deep discharge state, which can be harmful to the battery’s health.
- Maintain Battery Charge: To prevent battery degradation during storage, it’s essential to maintain an appropriate charge level. Aim to keep the battery at around 50-70% state of charge (SoC) during long-term storage. This range helps balance the battery’s chemical reactions and prolong its lifespan.
Choosing the proper storage location is vital to protect your electric vehicle from external elements and ensure its safety. Consider the following factors:
- Sheltered Environment: Ideally, store your electric vehicle in a sheltered environment such as a garage or a carport. This protects the vehicle from extreme weather conditions, direct sunlight, and potential damage from falling debris.
- Temperature Control: The best moderate temperature range for storing an electric vehicle is generally between 50°F (10°C) and 77°F (25°C). Storing the vehicle within this temperature range helps to maintain the optimal conditions for the battery and other components.
Extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold, can have adverse effects on the battery’s performance and lifespan. In extremely hot conditions, such as temperatures above 95°F (35°C), the battery’s degradation rate may increase, leading to reduced capacity and overall performance. On the other hand, extremely cold temperatures, below freezing point, can impact the battery’s ability to deliver power efficiently and may reduce its overall range.
By storing the electric vehicle within the moderate temperature range, you minimize the risk of accelerated degradation or reduced performance of the battery. However, it’s important to note that modern electric vehicles are designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures, and short-term exposure to temperatures outside this range should not cause significant harm. But for long-term storage, maintaining a moderate temperature range is ideal for preserving the health and longevity of the battery and other vehicle components.
Preparing the electric vehicle before storage will help preserve its condition and prevent any potential issues when it’s time to use it again. Take the following steps:
- Clean the Exterior and Interior: Thoroughly clean the vehicle, both inside and outside, before storage. Remove any debris, dirt, or organic matter that could potentially cause damage or attract pests. A clean vehicle is less likely to experience corrosion or unwanted odors during storage.
- Check Fluid Levels: Check and top up all fluid levels, including coolant and washer fluid. This ensures that the vehicle is ready for use immediately after storage without any fluid-related issues.
- Inflate Tires: Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure level to prevent flat spots from forming during storage. Periodically rotating the tires or using jack stands can also help maintain their shape.
To prevent unnecessary battery drain and electrical system issues during storage, take the following precautions:
- Disconnect the 12-Volt Battery: Disconnect the 12-volt battery to prevent parasitic power drain. This battery powers the auxiliary systems in the vehicle, and disconnecting it ensures that these systems do not draw power while the EV is stored.
- Maintain a Battery Tender or Trickle Charger: Consider using a battery tender or trickle charger specifically designed for electric vehicle batteries. These devices help maintain the battery’s charge level during storage without overcharging it.
Performing periodic maintenance checks during storage will help identify and address any potential issues before they become major problems. Follow these recommendations:
- Monthly Inspection: Visit your storage location monthly to inspect the electric vehicle. Check for any signs of damage, leaks, or pest infestation. Start the vehicle and allow it to run for a short period to circulate fluids and maintain mechanical health.
- Tire Rotation: If possible, rotate the tires every three to six months to prevent flat spots. This helps maintain their integrity and ensures a smoother ride when you start using the vehicle again.
Properly storing an electric vehicle is crucial for its long-term performance and longevity. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your EV remains in optimal condition during periods of storage. Remember to prepare the battery, find an appropriate storage location, prepare the vehicle, disconnect electrical components, and perform regular maintenance checks. With these practices, your electric vehicle will be ready for use when you need it again.
Nick Zamanov is a head of sales and business development at Cyber Switching. He is an expert in EV infrastructure space and he is an EV enthusiast since 2012, Since then Nick strongly believed that electric vehicles would eventually replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.