Should I charge my electric car every night?

One of the most common habits of EV drivers who were first to join the electric car movement is “charging opportunism”. Because EV charging stations weren’t that common back in the day, drivers would take advantage of every station they could find to refill lost kilometers. After all, who knew when they’d have a chance to charge again? 

Fortunately, things are different today. EV charging stations are much easier to find, and you no longer have to plan your entire day around them. Many drivers have even gone the extra mile and installed a charging station at home for extra convenience. If you’re one of those drivers, you’re probably wondering if you should charge your electric car every night or if a full charge every couple of days will suffice.  

Although it’s super easy to plug in your EV before going to bed, leave it there for the night, and then wake up to a full charge, the truth is that this isn’t always necessary. The batteries on electric cars have come a long way in the past few years and, under normal city driving conditions, you only need to charge them once a week

Why there’s no need to charge your electric car every night 

Many drivers of electric cars have range anxiety. For example, if at the end of the day the battery is at 75%, they choose to plug it in just in case. While this anxiety may have been justified in the first days of electric cars, when batteries weren’t optimised, now, that is no longer the case. 

Nowadays, electric cars have an average range of 322 kilometres, which is more than enough for the maximum 60 km that a driver covers every day. So, unless you’re getting ready for a long road trip and need a full battery, you don’t have to charge your EV to 100% capacity every night. You won’t be stuck in the middle of the road if you leave home with a 60% battery, and, even if something comes up and you have to go somewhere far on short notice, there are more chargers along the way now than there were a few years ago. 

Think of your electric car battery as the battery on your smartphone. If the battery is at 80% when you go to bed, there’s no need to charge it overnight. Anywhere between 20% and 80% is probably enough to get you through the next day. If you work from home, there’s also no need to charge your car constantly because doing so might damage the battery. Keeping the battery half-full is usually enough. 

Are there any exceptions?

In general, you don’t have to charge your electric car every night. However, there are exceptions. For example, during the winter, most manufacturers recommend that the battery be kept warm at night to extend the driving range during the day (driving in cold weather can reduce the range by up to 30%).

Also, Tesla advises drivers to keep the car plugged in during storage because the vehicle gets software updates, and the battery might be depleted when it’s not in use. When in doubt, always refer to the car’s manual and official manufacturer guidelines. 

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