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Long Term Battery Health and Ethics

Discussion in 'Charging and Infrastructure' started by Dan Detweiler, Apr 21, 2016.

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  1. Dan Detweiler

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    How's THAT for a cryptic thread title?! ;)

    Two questions here...both related.

    1) I put about 25-35 miles per day on my current daily driver (2012 Chevy Volt). With its electric range, this of course pretty much mandates that I plug in each night and have a full charge the next morning. With a Tesla however, the range now can span several days of normal driving for me. My question is if there is a difference in the long term health of the battery if I were to top off every night (to the recommended 80-85%) or drive for three or four days and then top it off overnight.

    2) This brings me to my second question. I have read about some instances where owners were found to be using the Supercharger stations "too much". I assume these were owners that lived close to a Supercharger and used it as their sole charging source, thus deferring all of their energy cost to Tesla. When I test drove the Model S earlier this week I asked the Tesla representative about this. She said that it involved people who were leaving their cars at Superchargers overnight or all day while they were at work, thus denying other owners of the ability to use that station. She also said this was happening almost exclusively in California where Superchargers are much more prevalent and accessible.

    I drive by the Atlantic Station Supercharger in Atlanta about once per week in my normal driving. It is about 35 miles from my home. My question is if I used the Supercharger say once per week and then just used my home charger as needed would that be considered abuse of the system? I know a lot of this is up in the air about weather Tesla will go to a pay as you go model for Supercharging or keep it free to the owner. I know the owners are paying for it now, they just have it worked into the price of the car at purchase but I wouldn't want to be perceived as unethical regarding the use of the stations.

    Any Model S or X owners out there have an opinion on this?

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  2. garsh

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    To answer your first question:

    LiON batteries are most happy at 50% charge. If you charged one to 50% and left it there, that would be the best way to prolong its life. But then it isn't very useful. It's generally best to not fully charge or discharge it. Keep it between 20% and 80%. If you do find that you have to fully charge/discharge it, then don't leave it in that state for very long. So if you need 100% charge for a long trip, try to time it so that it reaches 100% right before you leave. Likewise, if you arrive at a destination with little charge left, try to recharge ASAP.

    That said, I have a Leaf that I charge to 100% every day at work and discharge down to the Very Low Battery Warning when I arrive at work the next morning. I plug in as soon as I get to work, and it only sits at 100% for at most a couple hours before I leave. It sits in my garage at about 50% overnight at home. My battery is noticeably degraded, but appears to be about the norm for the car. Remember that Nissan didn't include battery thermal management like Tesla/GM, and that will also help extend the life of LiON batteries.

    As for your second question, I think you'd be fine. Tesla would be shooting themselves in the foot if they started policing that kind of usage.
     
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    • Dan Detweiler

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      So you're saying that it would be better for the battery to run it for a few days down to say, 30-40% and then fill it to 85% or so as opposed to topping it off every night?

      Dan
       
    • TrevP

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      Lithium batteries can be stored long-term at a 50% SOC (state of charge). If the voltage drops below a certain amount the battery can't recover and thus ends up being "bricked".

      Tesla recommends you leave the car plugged in overnight for conditioning and help mitigate "vampire drain' which is a certain amount of capacity loss due to car charging the 12volt battery from the main pack etc...

      Sure, with such a large battery pack you could run the car for a few days without charging it and no harm done but having a topped up battery every day is always nice for those unexpected long-distance jaunts.

      The Superchargers were envisioned to facilitate long-distance between-city traveling. There have been issues with some people abusing the system due to them being in cities, as mentioned by @Dan Detweiler but it's mostly a California problem.

      Where I am the nearest Supercharger is a 30 minute drive so there's no way I'm going to go there to get charged up on a daily basis. I'll charge at home thank-you very much. Wait, there's a Tesla high powered wall charger 2 minutes from me.... Never mind. ;)
       
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      • Dan Detweiler

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        Didn't know if the Supercharger thing was a cost issue or a convenience issue. Just don't know what would be considered "abusing the system".

        Dan
         
      • garsh

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        If you're only "topping off" to 80-85%, then I don't think it will really matter. You'll be fine either way.
         
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        • Dan Detweiler

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          Cool, thanks for the info.

          Anyone have further info on Supercharger "etiquette"?

          Dan
           
        • TrevP

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          For the most part people have been considerate and not hogging them but sometimes during long charging sessions people have run off to do errands or have something to eat and not checking the mobile app for completion and leaving others waiting for the car to be moved.

          Some have taken to using hang tags on the wands with contact information for those waiting. (Image courtesy of Insideevs.com)

          hang-tag.jpg

          The great guys over at EVAnnex.com have some window cards as well.

          The biggest problem has been "ICEing" which is a gas car parked in a Supercharging spot. Those are very bad people. Some are just ignorant to what the Superchargers are, others are doing it on purpose. Personally I think there needs to be some kind of PSA on EV charging spots. Proper signage and even painting the spots in green or red similar to handicapped parking spaces. Make it illegal to park cars there unless you are charging and then enforce them with tickets. That's the only way to curb the behaviour.
           
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          • MelindaV

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            At least on the west coast, parking in an EV space while not charging (or an ICE) is subject to a ticket/fine. WA is $124 and OR is $60-$500 (the Class D fine range, but would presume the lower end for sure), CA is set by the jurisdiction, AZ up to $350 CO $50... I expect if states/provinces don't have penalties now on the books, they will soon.
             
          • teslaliving

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            It also depends on what your time is worth. Its not that fun to sit at a Supercharger for 30 minutes to save $4 in electricity. I think the inconvenience of it will discourage most people -- its so nice just to plug in at home and start "full" every day. I only look at the charge state on road trips, otherwise its irrelevant.
             
          • JP White

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            Leo Laporte (a tech podcaster) has an X on order, In the information he's received from Tesla it informs him to refrain from using the SC in Petaluma where he lives, indicating its meant for those travelling through. He's not banned, just 'encouraged' to leave it free for others.

            Tesla will have to protect themselves from abuse. An Uber driver who owns a Tesla could use a local SC several times per day in order to fuel his ride. There needs to be billing model where such an owner can be levied a fee for continual use. Tesla's make awesome Uber rides, but I don't think Tesla should foot 100% of the fuel bill either.
             
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            • TrevP

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              Part of the problem here is that Tesla is doing installations in cities or very close by. If they kept them on the highways between locations it go a long way to prevent this.

              The closest one to me is a half hour drive away so you can be sure I won't be frequenting it but owners in Kingston, Cornwall etc could be tempted.
               

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