As gas prices and global temperatures skyrocket, people are becoming more and more interested in electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are the cars of the future. Not only are they cheaper to maintain and operate than gasoline-powered vehicles, but since they don’t release toxic emissions, they’re also better for the environment.
But if you’re thinking of making the switch, you may be nervous about the battery life and range of the EV. What if you don’t have enough battery charge to reach your destination?
Here at Sun Stoppers, we understand your concern, and we’re working to make the car of the future a viable option for you by extending your battery life using window tint. Air conditioning depletes your battery charge, so tinting your windows to keep your car cool significantly extends your range.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of EVs, looking specifically at how you can get the most out of your battery.
Why EVs are Popular
Although electric vehicles seem like a modern invention, even futuristic, they’ve been around just as long as gasoline-powered cars have been and were initially more popular.
It wasn’t until the 1910s when gasoline became cheaper, gasoline-powered cars became mass-produced, and the electric starter motor replaced laborious hand-cranking that gasoline-powered vehicles overtook electric vehicles in popularity. Eventually, EVs virtually fell off the market.
In the 1990s, interest in electric vehicles gained traction again due to environmental concerns. However, the automotive industry was doing just fine with gasoline-powered cars and didn’t want to shake things up by developing EVs.
But the automotive industry couldn’t hold onto the old ways forever.
As people grew increasingly concerned about the environment, improvements in battery technology extended electric vehicle range, and Teslas became popular, mainstream manufacturers began scrambling to develop their own electric vehicles.
The renewed interest in electric vehicles over the last 20 years is primarily driven by environmental concerns.
First, as global temperatures rise due to CO2 emissions, many people are concerned about climate change and, consequently, are eager for transportation options that are not powered by fossil fuels.
Besides climate change, consumers are also concerned about the toxic emissions of gasoline-powered cars that cause air pollution in cities.
Although consumers drive much of the demand for EVs, governments also are pushing for renewable energy and incentivizing EV purchases.
Much of this is due to environmental concerns, but there are also geopolitics surrounding global CO2 emissions and the fossil fuel industry. Governments often pressure other governments to reduce emissions.
They also would like to reduce their dependence on other countries for their fuel, although this is not necessarily fixed by switching to electric cars. For instance, by pushing for EVs, a country becomes less dependent on Saudi Arabia for oil but more dependent on China for rare earth minerals needed to manufacture batteries.
Reduction in Range Anxiety
“Range anxiety” is the fear of running out of power in your car before reaching your destination. It’s a significant factor in why people are nervous about switching to EVs.
In a gasoline-powered car, you can feel confident that there’s a gas station around every corner where you can fill up in minutes. If all else fails, a friend can fill a gas can and bring it to you.
But running out of battery is much more complicated. Charging stations are harder to find than gas stations, and even the fastest charging takes about half an hour, which seems like a long time when you’re used to filling up in five minutes. And if your electric battery runs out, your car will probably have to be towed by a company that knows how to tow EVs without messing up their electronic components.
However, as EVs become more mainstream, range anxiety is reduced. We have developed better batteries that can last longer, we’ve built many more charging stations, and supercharging technology keeps getting faster.
Furthermore, because of the Internet and cell phones, it’s much easier nowadays to plan ahead, to find charging stations near you, and to plan trips around charging convenience, such as finding hotels where you can plug in your car.
Electric cars are cheaper to maintain
Once you have an electric car, it’s cheaper to maintain than a gasoline-powered vehicle.
This is for two reasons:
- Due to the simplicity of an electric engine, electric cars have fewer moving parts. That means there are fewer things to maintain and fewer things that can go wrong.
- It is significantly cheaper to charge your electric car than to fill up at a gas station, although the actual number breakdown is difficult to predict since gas prices keep fluctuating and electricity costs vary by region.
Although electric cars need significantly less maintenance than gasoline-powered cars, it can be difficult to find a qualified mechanic if you do run into issues, and you probably shouldn’t work on them yourself without specialized training. However, as EVs become more and more popular, mechanics are learning new skills and adapting.
More reasonably-priced cars on the market
The popularity of electric cars is a positive feedback loop: As they become more popular, manufacturers pour more resources into developing budget-friendly EVs. And as more budget-friendly EVs flood the market, they become even more popular.
Today there are plenty of options on the market for a variety of budgets, including:
- Nissan Leaf, which starts in the upper $20,000’s*
- Chevrolet Bolt, which starts in the lower $30,000’s*
- Tesla Model 3, which starts in the mid $40,000’s*
*Please note that pricing is 2022 pricing and may vary
Furthermore, as more EVs enter the market, it eventually creates a used car market for EVs, expanding availability to even more people.
Getting the Most Out of Your EV
Now that we’ve explored the popularity of electric vehicles, let’s talk a little bit more about range anxiety, what it is, and creative ways we can get more out of our electric car batteries.
“Range anxiety” is a term for the nervousness people feel about running out of charge before they reach their destination. It’s one of the top reasons people are reluctant to purchase EVs, along with worry over long charge times, access to charging stations, and the up-front cost of buying an electric vehicle.
Electric car manufacturers work hard to reduce range anxiety by giving drivers plenty of warnings and directing them to nearby charging stations. They also keep an extra margin of power on hand so that even when your car tells you it’s out of battery, you still have a little charge left to get you to a charging station.
But it’s still a massive headache to run out of charge. Because of this, EV owners, need to pay close attention to their EV batteries.
Your batteries are far and away the most important part of your EV. Getting the most out of your EV is synonymous with getting the most out of your EV batteries.
“Battery life” vs. “battery lifespan”
To get the most out of your EV batteries, you need to think about two factors:
- Battery life
- Battery lifespan
“Battery life” refers to how long you can go on a single charge. To reduce range anxiety and get the most out of your EV, you must pay attention to your battery life.
The best way to do that?
Figure out what’s draining your battery and how you can prevent it. (But we’ll get into more detail on that in a later section.)
“Battery lifespan,” on the other hand, refers to the overall lifespan of your batteries. Over time, batteries deteriorate, but there are things you can do to keep your batteries healthy longer.
Your battery lifespan not only affects how many years you can use your EV, but it also affects battery life. As your batteries deteriorate, they won’t hold a charge as well.
Let’s look at the best ways to extend your battery lifespan and keep your batteries healthy.
How to Maintain Your EV Battery
Here are some of the top ways to increase your battery lifespan:
- Use standard charging instead of fast charging as much as possible
- Don’t charge your batteries all the way to 100%
- Don’t let your batteries deplete past 10%
- When storing your vehicle, keep it charged between 25% and 75%
- Drive your vehicle to warm it up a bit before charging in frigid weather
- Keep your vehicle from getting too hot or too cold
How hard and fast are these rules?
Some of these “rules” may seem pretty inconvenient. When we’re used to gasoline-powered cars, our instinct is to charge as fast as possible, charge it up all the way, and then drive as much as possible before re-charging.
Switching to battery power means we need to re-tool how we think about cars. In some ways, an EV is more like a cell phone—if you charge it up every night, you should be able to use it all day without worrying that it will run out of juice.
Furthermore, with your everyday commute and errands, you will not need to charge your car to full capacity. A 75% charge works just fine.
While these are good rules to follow, using superchargers does not have an outstandingly negative impact on your battery. Typically it’s a lifestyle of repeated supercharger use that harms your car battery, not an occasional use.
The importance of temperature control
Many of these “rules” are ultimately based on temperature. Heat degrades lithium-ion batteries. That’s why supercharging, for instance, can damage batteries, as the rapid transfer of power generates more heat.
Because of this, you should consider ways to keep your electric car cool.
How is this done?
First, it’s always a good idea to have a garage to park your car at home. Not only will this give it a more temperature-controlled environment, but it may make it more convenient to charge, depending on your setup.
When parking it in other places, think critically. Stay out of the sun as much as possible, opting to park in parking garages or under trees in hot or sunny weather.
Finally, it’s a good idea to think about tinting your windows! This can enormously affect how hot your car gets, extending both battery and vehicle lifespan.
It’s a win-win situation: not only does window tint keep your car cool and your battery lasting longer, but it looks awesome!
How Temperature Affects Battery Life
Now that we’ve discussed your battery’s lifespan, let’s get into battery life. How can you get the most out of a single charge?
Just like battery lifespan, the primary thing that affects your battery life is temperature.
Well, let’s get into it.
Driving In Cold Weather
Driving in cold weather significantly decreases battery life, especially if you’re driving fast.
In fact, Wired magazine interviewed battery expert Qichao Hu about the impact of temperature on battery life and wrote that “he might get 300 miles out of his Model 3 by driving 70 miles per hour, but if he speeds up to 80 and it’s cold outside, that range may sink to about 180 miles.”
This decrease in battery life is due to the combination of high power and low temperature.
To get the most out of your EV in cold weather, warm up the battery before charging, and be willing to drive slower than usual, especially if you’re worried about range that day.
As a bonus, cold weather can often mean snow and ice so driving slowly is a win-win.
Running the air conditioner or heater
Running the air conditioner or heater in your EV depletes the battery quite a bit.
Therefore, one of the best ways to increase battery life is to keep your car as temperature-controlled as possible.
You can do this by:
- Parking in a garage whenever possible
- Parking in the shade whenever possible
- Getting your windows professionally tinted
Electric vehicles are usually equipped with various climate control features such as preconditioning, which sets your car to a specific temperature before you begin your trip, or cabin overheat protection, which keeps your vehicle from reaching dangerous temperatures on scorching days.
While these are valuable tools, remember that if your car is not plugged in, these features will draw power from the battery, reducing battery life.
The best way to keep the HVAC system from draining your battery is to take measures to park your car in as climate-controlled environments as possible and to tint your windows to prevent the sun’s heat from warming up the interior of your EV.
How Tinting Your EV Windows Can Help
If you own an EV, you may wonder how much it’s worth the trouble to do all these things to maintain your battery.
You have a lot to accomplish in life—vacations to enjoy, family to make memories with, and friends to visit. It’s tempting to fill up quickly at a supercharging station or to grab the first available parking lot along the street.
These decisions will ultimately be up to you, and you may have to make some tradeoffs.
However: There’s one thing you can do for your battery right now that’s a total win-win and won’t require any tradeoffs.
You can tint your windows.
Window tint blocks up to 98% of solar heat, keeping your car at a reasonable temperature even on hot sunny days. Not only that, but it looks fantastic!
Here at Sun Stoppers, we use XPEL’s PRIME ceramic film, which blocks solar heat without affecting visibility.
You probably expect window tints to be dark and maybe even reflective, and while this can be the case, it doesn’t have to be.
While your back windows can be tinted darker depending on your state laws, your windshield, below the manufacturer’s AS-1 line, cannot. However, we can still add a clear coating that uses multilayer nano-ceramic particle technology to block up to 98% of infrared heat and over 99% of harmful UV rays without affecting color or visibility.
Besides blocking heat, tinting the windows of your vehicle provides other benefits, such as:
- Reducing sun glare for safer driving
- Protecting your skin from damaging UV rays
- Giving you more privacy
- Improving the vehicle’s appearance
- Preventing interior sun damage
In short, window tint keeps you more comfortable, keeps your battery from draining and deteriorating, and looks amazing!
As you cruise around in your new EV with expertly tinted windows, you can feel confident that your car is as energy efficient as possible and that you can get to your destination without the air conditioner draining your batteries.
At Sun Stoppers, we have over 20 years of experience providing the highest quality window tint to meet your window tinting needs, and we can help you choose the window tint that’s right for you.
We also offer other services for your EV, such as:
Also, our window tinting expertise goes beyond EVs. We offer:
Ready to keep your car cooler on the hottest of days?
Contact us today for a free quote! We can’t wait to work with you.