The EV revolution is upon us, are you ready? No, we thought not. Along with learning about charging infrastructure, why EVs can waste 0-60-mph times, and why Elon Musk isn’t the savior everyone wants you to believe, one of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind is “how does an electric car battery work?

If you, too, are wondering about the intricacies of EV battery technology and how it returns lightning-quick acceleration, put your mind at ease, the editors at Car Bibles are here to illuminate all. Ready to get schooled?

What Is an Electric Car Battery?

An electric car’s battery is the device that stores the power that is delivered to the electric motors that motivate its wheels. Put simply, as an internal combustion engine delivers oomph in something like a Koenigsegg Agera RS, so too does an EV’s battery for the Porsche Taycan Turbo S. 

How Does an Electric Car Battery Work?

Pretty much like any ordinary rechargeable battery, to be frank. 

An EV’s battery is made up of thousands of battery cells. When charged through the use of a home plug or fast-charger, those cells store power through electrical chemistry, and when called upon, deliver power to a single or set of electric motors. These motors can be in-wheel, on the axles, near the center of the car, or like Ford’s Mustang Mach-E RTR built by Vaughn Gittin Jr., some combination of all the above. 

When the battery is depleted of its energy, you must once again plug into either a wall socket, which takes longer due to a home’s output, or that of the ever-expanding fast-charger infrastructure. The power is pulled from the electrical grid, which gets its energy from a mix of coal, natural gas, wind, solar, and other power suppliers, though the vast majority is coal-produced. 

A see-through view of the Volkswagen ID.4.
The Volkswagen ID.4 is just the start of VW’s electric car lineup.

What Can You Do To Increase Your Battery Life?

A lot! One of the key things to do is to ensure you maintain your vehicle according to its scheduled maintenance. Make sure you’re hitting every milestone and your car will keep going and going and going. Get it? Like the Energizer bunny! 

You can also head on over to Car Bibles’ article on How to Get the Best Tesla Battery Life, which talks about this very topic!

What Affects Electric Vehicle Charging Speed?

Need to know exactly what affects your EV’s charging speeds? Great! Car Bibles already did an exhaustive look at that very topic in our guide, How Long Does It Take to Charge a Tesla?

Car Bible’s Glossary for EVs

Educate yourself below!

  • Hybrid

Simply stated, a hybrid car is one that uses both gasoline and electrical energy to operate. This is accomplished through the use of a gasoline engine/range-extending power generator, and/or a battery pack. 

  • EV

An EV, or electric vehicle, is one that runs on battery-stored electric power alone. It does not derive any power directly from the burning of fossil fuels. 

  • MPGe

MPGe stands for “mile per gallon-equivalent” and refers to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle’s energy efficiency over an average distance in the same way an MPG refers to a gasoline engine’s efficiency over an average distance. 

  • kWh

kWH stands for kilo-watt per hour and refers to the max output of an electric vehicle’s battery. In some parts of the world, it can also refer to the power output of a motor, including those powered by gasoline or diesel. 

  • Volt

Named after Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, a volt is a unit of electromotive force. 

A plug for an electric vehicle.
The Volkswagen ID.4 plugs in for charging.

Your Questions, Our Answers on EV Batteries

Your burning questions answered!

Q: How Long Does a Battery Last in an Electric Car?

A: Manufacturers will claim certain mileage, but honestly, we’re still in the EV’s infancy, and we won’t have concrete battery longevity figures until we’re 10, 15, maybe even 20 years from their initial push. 

Q: What Does it Take to Make a Battery for an Electric Car?

A: Mining, refining, processing, construction, and charging. In other words, though they’re more environmentally friendly than gasoline engines, they still require a lot of energy and resource consumption, including mining nickel, cobalt, lithium, and other materials. 

Q: Do Electric Cars Lose Charge When Parked?

A: They do! All batteries lose charge over time, even when not being used. 

Q: How Many Batteries Does an Electric Car Have?

A: Technically, one, but it’s made up of thousands of individual cells. That is until a manufacturer can figure out how to build a solid-state battery for your car. 

Q: How Many Volts Does an Electric Car Run On?

A: That depends on the manufacturer and the vehicle. Porsche’s Taycan runs on an 800-volt system in order to be capable of ultra-fast charging, while Tesla’s Model 3 runs on 350 volts. Audi’s e-tron runs 396 volts, and Mercedes-Benz’s EQC runs on 405 volts. 

Q: Should I Charge My Electric Car Every Night?

A: Yes, but make sure you set the max charge to only 90-percent, as that will reduce the thermal load and protect the battery pack’s longevity.

Video on EV Batteries

Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly how EV batteries work. We pulled it from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.

Car Bible’s Favored EV Related Products

You can buy car seat products at almost every auto parts and baby store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. We picked the best Home EV Chargers, which we think you’d benefit from. These are some of the best, reasonably priced, products around. 

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