Electric vehicles (EVs) have taken the world by storm, offering a greener alternative to traditional petrol and diesel cars. But what happens when you need to store your EV for an extended period? Whether you’re going on a long holiday or simply won’t be using your car for a while, it’s essential to know how to store it correctly. In this guide, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of storing an electric vehicle safely, ensuring its longevity and optimal performance.
Why Preparation is Crucial
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s address the elephant in the room: why is it so important to prepare your EV for storage? Well, just like any other vehicle, an electric car has components that can degrade over time, especially if left unused. Batteries can discharge, tyres can deflate, and various systems can become stagnant. Proper preparation ensures that your EV remains in tip-top condition, even after months of inactivity.
The Ideal Space for Storing Your EV
When it comes to storing your electric vehicle, not all spaces are created equal. Here’s what you should look for when storing your car:
1. Always opt for an indoor space, like a garage, to protect your EV from the elements. Rain, snow, and even the blazing sun can take a toll on your car’s exterior and internal systems.
2. Humidity can be an enemy to electric components. Ensure the storage space is dry and cool to prevent any potential damage.
3. Rodents and pests can chew through wires and insulation. Make sure the area is free from any critters that might see your EV as their next home.
Preparing Your Electric Car for Storage
Now that you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to get your car ready. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Start by giving your EV a thorough clean, both inside and out. Dirt and contaminants can damage the paint over time, so ensure it’s sparkling before storing.
2. Inflate your tyres to the recommended pressure. This prevents flat spots from forming if the car sits in one position for too long.
3. Most EVs have a smaller 12-volt battery in addition to the main one. Disconnecting it can prevent it from draining during storage.
4. Instead of engaging the parking brake, use tyre stoppers or chocks to keep the car in place. This prevents the brake pads from sticking to the discs.
Maintaining the Batteries
The battery is arguably the most crucial part of your electric vehicle. Here’s how to ensure it remains in prime condition:
It’s a common misconception that you should fully charge your EV before storing it. In reality, it’s best to charge it to around 50-60%. This level is optimal for battery health during prolonged periods of inactivity.
If you’re storing your EV for several months, it’s a good idea to check the battery charge every few weeks. If it drops below 20%, give it a little top-up.
Batteries don’t like extreme cold or heat. If your storage space isn’t climate-controlled, consider using a battery warmer in the winter or a fan in the summer.
Improvements in battery technology
In the realm of nanotechnology, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have emerged as a game-changer, especially in the field of energy storage. These tiny cylindrical carbon structures, with diameters measuring just a few nanometres, have properties that can significantly enhance the safety and performance of batteries. But how exactly do they achieve this? Let’s dive in.
One of the primary concerns with batteries, especially lithium-ion ones, is the risk of overheating, which can lead to fires or explosions. This is often due to the build-up of heat during charging or discharging processes.
Carbon nanotubes have exceptional thermal conductivity. When integrated into a battery’s electrode or as a part of the battery’s structure, CNTs can efficiently dissipate heat, reducing the risk of thermal runaway—a primary cause of battery fires.
A battery’s efficiency is closely tied to its electrical conductivity. The better the conductivity, the more efficient the charge and discharge cycles become. Carbon nanotubes are excellent conductors of electricity. By incorporating CNTs into battery components, the overall conductivity of the battery can be improved. This not only boosts the battery’s performance but also reduces the chances of short-circuiting, a common safety concern.
Despite their minuscule size, carbon nanotubes are incredibly strong—many times stronger than steel because of this they are used in many products. When used in battery structures, they can provide added mechanical strength. This means that batteries can better withstand physical stresses, reducing the risk of damage or rupture that could lead to leaks or other safety hazards.
During the repeated charging and discharging cycles of a battery, the electrodes can degrade or form dendrites—tiny, needle-like structures that can pierce the separator between the electrodes. If the separator is breached, it can result in a short circuit, posing significant safety risks.
Carbon nanotubes can enhance the integrity of the electrodes. Their inclusion can prevent the formation of dendrites, ensuring the battery remains safe throughout its lifespan.
The unique properties of CNTs allow for more flexible battery designs. For instance, researchers are exploring the potential of creating bendable or foldable batteries for use in flexible electronic devices. Such designs, made possible by the inclusion of carbon nanotubes, can be inherently safer as they can adapt to various forms without compromising structural integrity.