After purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), one of the most important things you should consider is charging the vehicle. You want to ensure that you do everything right, so you do not damage the expensive high-voltage battery. One of the primary concerns is damaging the battery by leaving the charger plugged in. The good news is that leaving your electric car charger plugged in for an extended period is okay.
Can You Leave A Car Charger Plugged In?
You can leave a car charger plugged in because these new battery charging systems come with trickle charge technology that slows down the charging process once your vehicle’s battery is almost full. For instance, once the battery is 90% charged, the battery’s charging system will trickle down the charging process.
During this time, your electric vehicle will utilize a small percentage of the charge to keep the core electric functions running smoothly even if your car is not in use.
The trickle charge technology ensures that the battery’s full charge is restored until you unplug the charger. This means that your electric vehicle will always have enough charge and will never be overcharged.
Unlike many EV owners, the good thing about a fully-charged battery every morning is that you only get to charge your vehicle during off-peak electrical hours. This means that you will charge your vehicle for cheaper.
However, continuously charging your vehicle to 100% can easily degrade the battery and lower its lifespan.
Therefore, you should consult the owner’s manual regarding your vehicle’s charging system. This is because every electric vehicle has its guidelines and specifications regarding plugging it in for extended periods.
What Happens When You Leave Your Charger Plugged In?
- Some electric vehicles allow owners to set a maximum charge level. If you leave your charger plugged in, the vehicle will charge until it reaches its limit. Once this happens, the charging will stop even if your electric vehicle is left plugged in for several hours or days.
- Many EV owners usually set their maximum charging level at 80% or 90% since it allows them to use a supercharger if they get low on a charge while driving close to their home or a public charging station.
It is worth noting that electric vehicles charge faster when left at home, unlike at a public charging station, because they do not need to perform other functions simultaneously.
However, some electric vehicles have onboard systems that are always running. Such vehicles have a subroutine that helps maintain the battery’s temperature at a certain level while it continues charging.
If your EV has this subroutine, a low amount of charge will be used every time to cool or heat your vehicle while charging at home.
Suppose you plan to leave your electric vehicle plugged in over a long period. In that case, it is recommended that you store it under a shade or inside a garage, away from direct sunlight and hot temperatures.
This is because most EV batteries do not perform well in hot weather. In fact, the heat causes enormous stress to the batteries, especially when plugged in.
If your vehicle is plugged in under extreme hot weather conditions, its battery will lose an irreversible percentage of its total capacity.
This loss in capacity is insignificant. However, if your electric vehicle continues charging under these conditions for an extended period, the battery’s lifespan will reduce over time, and the charge will start draining.
Over the years, some EV owners have reported returning to drained batteries after leaving their vehicle plugged in for a long period.
How Long Can You Leave a Charger on a Car?
Generally, EV experts recommend that you should never leave a charger on your electric vehicle unattended for more than 24 hours. However, if you have a decent trickle charger, you can leave a charger on your EV for days, and your battery will not damage or drain any charge.
During this time, check your vehicle’s charging process to ensure that everything is progressing well and that the battery is not overheating.
The amount of time you can leave your electric vehicle plugged in usually depends on the battery’s strength and the type of charger you are using. Some of the leading EV manufacturers in the world design high-quality chargers you can leave plugged in indefinitely.
Therefore, before leaving a charger on your vehicle, you should ensure that you read the instructions to determine whether it is safe to do so.
How to Remember to Pluck Out the Charger Before Leaving?
Nowadays, more electric vehicles have advanced features that make it impossible to forget to pluck out the charger before leaving. If you try releasing the brake and pushing the gear button while the charger is plugged in, an error message will automatically pop on your dashboard. This error message reminds you to pluck out the charger before driving off to avoid causing damage.
However, if your EV does not display this error message, there are various things you can try to avoid forgetting to pluck out the charger before leaving.
For instance, you can set a reminder to pluck out the charger, especially if you are familiar with the charging patterns of your EV. Additionally, you can stand outside your vehicle while charging, especially if you are at a public charging station.
You may also activate an interlock setting on your EV that bars you from starting the vehicle or even reversing. This way, plucking out the charger before leaving will become a necessary and unforgettable routine.