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How to maintain your EV when not in use

How to maintain your EV when not in use

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed how to keep your car healthy while not being used to commute to work during lockdown. As more Canadians are investing in electric cars, I thought it might be useful to cover those too. If your EV is sitting on the drive during the COVID-19 epidemic, what do you have to do to maintain it?

Cars are not designed to sit still but different cars handle it better than others. If you own an EV, here are some things to look for while your car sits idle during lockdown.

Battery charge

Batteries are not built to sit idle at full charge or at low charge. Some manufacturers have guidelines, but if not, leaving the car at between 50-70% charge is okay. If you can, set an upper charge limit on the charger at a maximum of 80%.

If you battery has a sleep or shipping mode, use that if you know you won’t be using it for a few weeks. If it will only be days between drives to the store to get groceries, you don’t have to use this setting.

Charging

Some manufacturers recommend leaving an EV connected to the charging station when idle. If yours is one of these, follow that suggestion. Follow all manufacturers guidance to help maintain warranty and give your car the best chance of survival.

Tesla recommends leaving an EV connected to the charging station while Nissan recommends disconnecting it so the batteries enter deep sleep mode. Check your instructions.

Keep an eye on conditions

While spring shouldn’t throw up any surprises, this is Canada after all. Keep an eye on the weather for any extreme warm or extreme cold, especially if your car is on the driveway. If extreme weather is expected, protect the car as much as possible with a cover or by moving into the garage.

Maintain fluids

While you don’t require fluids in an EV like you do a conventional engine, you will still have wiper fluid and brake fluid. Check these before you plan to use the car after a prolonged period of storage to make sure the car is ready when you are.

Check tires

Give the tires a once over before you use the car and check pressures. If you won’t be using the car for weeks at a time, rotate the tires so the weight of the car is not sitting on the same contact patch. This will avoid developing a flat spot where the tire is flattened against the driveway.

Aside from the battery charge state and basic checks, EVs should handle a few weeks of lockdown better than many owners. Check the charge state every now and again and everything should be okay!

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