How EV battery trends impact fleet adoption
January 09, 2023
The battery of an electric vehicle (EV) is the most important, and costly, component making up about 30% of the EV’s cost. Managing charging and driving behavior is therefore crucial to keep EVs operating efficiently.
Widespread fleet EV adoption requires higher-capacity batteries or more efficient EVs
Longer range and more efficient components within an electric car are accelerating EV adoption. As range anxiety lessens, fleets are seeing more opportunities to add EVs into their operations, as replacements to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. Higher EV adoption means more focus on the benefits of managing battery health, including bolstering resale value, reducing overall total cost of ownership (TCO) and extending the vehicle’s lifespan.
5 global EV battery trends to watch
Sales of EVs reached a tipping point during the first half of 2022 – with the category representing more than 5% of total vehicle sales in the United States (U.S.), according to Bloomberg. This tipping point indicates that EVs could rise to make up a quarter of sales by the end of 2025.
The quicker adoption curve is being driven by these 5 EV battery trends:
- Lower costs – Production costs are trending downwards, while batteries retain or increase energy density, which enables a longer range. For example, the price to build a battery on a Nissan LEAF has decreased, so Nissan has been able to make bigger batteries for the 4th regeneration LEAF, which has improved autonomy (range) compared to the 1st Generation LEAF built in 2010 that had a smaller battery. Battery costs from 2014 to 2022 have been reduced by 78%, leading the way for technology and efficiency to evolve rapidly at a more affordable cost.
- Increased capacity – Average EV battery pack capacity increased 71% in the U.S. over the six years leading to 2020, according to global battery supplier ACC. Higher capacity lowers range anxiety.
- New materials arrive – EV batteries are incorporating silicon in anodes as an additive to graphite, which minimizes loss in energy density and contributes to longer range.
- Investments in battery material production increase - battery production incentives in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act provide 25% to 30% cost reduction (at the battery pack level) for battery manufacturers to establish a supply chain based in North America – which could make the US the most profitable region to make batteries.
- Composite enclosures are replacing aluminum – Composites are sturdier and lighter, which can improve vehicle durability.
EV manufacturers boost battery quality and warranties
Lithium-ion batteries see a slow degradation over time, which is making automakers more confident to extend the warranties on their batteries. According to Recurrent, most EVs lose 5% to 10% of their battery life in the first 5 years of ownership. While Geotab indicates that EVs in fleets typically lose 2.3% of their life each year.
The quality and durability of batteries is improving because of solid Battery Management Systems (BMS) that OEMs are incorporating into their vehicles. Higher-quality batteries will last longer, which reduces TCO and maintains the value on the vehicle to be better suited to a beneficial retail price after lease terms end. U.S. and California mandates have pushed battery warranties and quality even higher:
- Federal EV battery warranty – 8 years, 100,000 miles
- California EV battery warranty – 10 years, 150,000 miles
How you can improve battery longevity
EV drivers should follow best practices that extend battery longevity to ensure strong resale performance and lower TCO.
Level 2 charging
It’s important to match up charging to the way the EV will be used by the fleet driver. Using level 2 charging overnight is usually enough for an EV to reach a nearly full charge. Drivers should configure charger settings, so the battery doesn’t drain below 20% or max out above 80%.
When to use fast charging
Fleet EV drivers typically average between 30 to 40 miles per day. If a longer trip is required, fast charging can help, but it shouldn’t become the daily charging routine. Fast charging can usually deliver an 80% charge in about 20 minutes, according to Electrify America.
Altering driving habits
Acclimating the EVs cabin before driving helps reduce usage of the charge for climate control. Additionally, remotely start your EV 15 to 30 minutes before you plan to drive.
Manufacturers are implementing features to extend EV battery lifespan. For example, Hyundai and Kia EVs now include a button that the driver can push on the way home that acclimates the battery for charging. Temperature extremes cause havoc to state-of-charge, whether it’s the extreme heat of the Arizona desert or the subzero of a Calgary winter. Tesla vehicles also have a pre-conditioning mode that warms the cabin during extreme cold.
Driving style can impact EV battery life. Here are 3 tips to preserve charge:
- Avoid hard braking and accelerating to top speeds.
- Don’t over-use climate control.
- Tap brakes – coasting doesn’t activate regen braking.
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