EVs and Quarantine: Heed This Expert’s Advice

A few days ago, we gave you five tips to maintain your car in good shape in case you’re stuck at home instead of being physically at work.

But what about those who own an electric vehicle? What important things should they know about? What precautions should they take?

To answer those questions, we turn to Bob Taenaka, senior technical leader in charge of battery and cell system development at Ford.

The number one thing, he says, is to make sure your high-voltage battery (which powers the electric motors) has 10 percent or more charge to prevent it from potentially draining to zero should you keep your EV idled for a long period of time.

Photo: MINI

If you’re leaving your EV in the driveway or garage without plugging it in, Taenaka recommends keeping it at a state of charge between 10 percent and 80 percent. A high-voltage battery above 10 percent state of charge can go for more than six months without charging.

As for the 12-volt battery, it should be adequately charged if you have driven and/or had your vehicle on plug for a total of at least eight hours within the past month. However, since this type of battery will drain much faster, especially when connected to the vehicle, you’d be wise to take one of the following steps if you don’t plan to drive your EV for longer than 30 days:

  • Keep your EV plugged to a power outlet or home charging station;
  • Connect your 12-volt battery to a smart battery charger and leave it on a continuous slow charge;
  • Disconnect  the negative terminal of your 12-volt battery.
Photo: MINI

If you opt for the last one, Taenaka has a few more things to say. First, be sure to have your key fob with you outside of the vehicle, because you may need to use the physical key to lock and unlock the doors. Also, if your EV is stored in a locked garage and the 12-volt battery is in the trunk, leave the trunk open.

Finally, while EVs and their batteries are designed to handle long-term storage outside in direct sunlight, Taenaka warns that if you are experiencing extreme hot weather and the vehicle needs to be stored for more than 30 days, if practical for you, store your EV in a garage or in the shade to preserve battery capacity and extend its lifespan.

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