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Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night? (Truth Revealed)

by Emily Nicholls | Updated: January 9th, 2023
Tesla Charging Station

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Many electric car owners wonder about how and when to charge their cars worrying that frequent charging will deplete the battery. I would like to calm their worries with this guide. 

Generally, you should not charge your EV every night. In most driver scenarios it is not necessary, but furthermore, charging your vehicle every night can shorten the lifespan of the car’s battery. 

Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night?

charging EV

It is not recommended to charge up your EV every night. Many drivers, unless driving long-distance every day will not need to charge it up so frequently anyway. If we look at the Tesla Model S, which boasts a range of 405 miles, it is unlikely unless you are traveling on a long road trip that you will deplete the battery down to a point where it needs charging. 

Even the Tesla Model 3, which has the smallest battery out of the models will last for 262 miles. When you take into account that the average driver in the US drives 14,263 miles per year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Most drivers who have access to home charging charge up their vehicle every 2 or 3 days.

It is important to remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for charging your EV’s battery, though. 

Why Should I Avoid Charging My Electric Car Every Night?

Charging car

The lithium-ion battery packs in EVs have improved significantly over the past few years; however, the process of charging and discharging the battery causes it to degrade over the years. Less frequent charging will ensure the battery does not degrade to the extent it otherwise would.

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Whether you are charging the battery up just 10% or 50% it still counts as a charging cycle so it is important to make it count when you do charge up your vehicle.

Are There Any Pros To Charging My electric car every night? 

While there is plenty of information out there on why not to charge up your vehicle each night, it is important to note that there are some benefits too. One of the pros of charging every night is that it forms a habit, which will mean you are less likely to forget to charge up the vehicle and find yourself falling short. 

Black Tesla Charging

Additionally, sometimes we need to make unexpected journeys and it is no good if something pops up and you do not have the charge to get you to where you need to go. If your battery is sitting at around 20 or 30% then you may not be able to just set off, and rather will need to take the time to charge up or find an alternative mode of transport.

While it is a big no-no charging the battery up to 100%, many drivers do try to maintain a happy medium the majority of the time and that is something that EV car owners need to take into account. 

Can I Charge My Electric Car Up Overnight?

Yes, many EV owners charge their cars up overnight at home. There are generally two concerns that are voiced: some worry about it being a fire hazard or that it wastes money by charging it overnight. However, it presents a very low fire risk and it is no different from keeping other appliances plugged in overnight. Furthermore, when the car reaches the battery level you have set it to charge to then it will cease drawing electricity. 

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Should I Charge My Vehicle Up To 100%?

telsa control

While it is commonly known that it is not recommended to run your vehicle battery down to 0% since it can cause damage, one of the less discussed matters is how much you should charge it up. It has been found that both extremely high and low state of charge creates stress on the car’s battery, according to the State of Michigan. So, for this reason alone you should avoid frequently charging the vehicle up to 100%.

The optimal state of charge should be between 30% and 80% capacity, and although this is not always going to be possible it should be your main aim to avoid going out of these parameters frequently. 

Don’t Electric Vehicles Have Battery Management Systems? 

Although electric vehicles do have battery management systems in place aiming to prevent running the battery to extremes outside the optimal state of charge, some systems are more protective than others.

However, most chargers can be turned off when the battery gets to the desired state of charge. As you become a more experienced electric car owner, it is likely that battery charge will become second nature and not the cause for concern often voiced on EV forums. 

Why Do So Many People Have Range Anxiety?

electric car shop

It seems to me to be quite absurd that range anxiety is so real, yet most people do not get in such a state of anxiety over how much gas is in the vehicle, unless perhaps over the cost of filling up. While I can understand that you need to plan carefully to ensure you have plenty of charges to get you to your next destination or charging point, it is no different from planning when and where you are going to fill up your vehicle with gas

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Unless you live in a place with very little access to charging stations or do not have access at home, then the chances are you will not have a problem. Many electric vehicle owners find that they quickly learn the car’s range in different terrain and conditions, and get into a routine of when and where to charge. 

Charging Stations Are Rapidly Being Built-out

Charging stations are rapidly being built-out in order to provide the necessary infrastructure as countries look to adopt greener transport initiatives. According to the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center, there is approximately 55,000 electric vehicle charging locations across the United States. Many new buildings, whether commercial or residential are also ensuring that they have available charging stations on hand to accommodate the increase in electric cars on our roads. 

While it may seem a long way off, many countries have set their goals for banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles. According to a BloombergNEF report, it is expected that just over half of passenger vehicles sold in the US will be electric by 2030. This follows President Biden’s Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks, which sets out the targets of his Build Back Better Agenda that aims to set the US as a leader in electric vehicles.

Final Thoughts

white tesla

While many car drivers who have access to home charging do charge up their vehicles every night, there is an argument against such frequent charging. For most people’s needs, charging every few days is sufficient for their driving needs.

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While charging stations are becoming more prevalent, some people do struggle with range anxiety and so they may want to charge up more frequently. If there is one takeaway here, it’s to avoid 0% and 100% battery charge at all costs.