HOW LEVEL 1 CHARGING CAN EXTEND THE LIFE OF A LITHIUM ION BATTERY
Posted by John Hipchen on October 10, 2014
The lithium ion batteries that are in plug-in electric vehicles (PEV’s) are actually composed of many individual cells. Depending on the size of the battery, there can be over 100 individual battery cells. Imagine about 50 typical “D” cell flashlight batteries all connected together and you start to get the picture of what a lithium ion battery, which is about 24 kWh in size, looks like. According to battery technology experts, one of the factors that can reduce the life of a battery is voltage differentials between the individual cells of the battery. High current, high voltage charging produces the highest risk of voltage differential between individual battery cells. Conversely, the low current, low voltage charging of Level 1 (1.92 kW max at 120 vac,) produces the lowest. According to the experts, Level 1 charging is least damaging to the battery and may actually extend the life of the battery if other factors such as extreme heat and cold are not issues.
With battery degradation in mind, commercial Level 1 charging seems to make sense for workplaces and other long-term parking situations such as airports and hotels. Vehicles are parked longest at home and at work. Most owners of PEV’s leave home with a fully charged battery and commute less than 30 miles to work. 20 miles of range can easily be recovered with Level 1 charging during a normal work day…and Level 1 charging at work just might help the battery last longer.