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Do Electric Cars lose charge when they are parked? (Range Loss)

It’s 2021 and the pandemic continues to be a giant smear on our lives. You may find yourself not driving as much as you used to. I have personally dropped from about 40,000 km a year to about 4,000 km a year. Needless to say, I’m not getting the biggest benefit from my EV at the moment, I was curious, did my EV lose any charge or range while it was parked?

You too may be taking fewer family trips or maybe you’re working from home most days while your EV sits in your driveway all day waiting for you to use it.

Normally the last thing you do before heading inside is plug in the charger. If you’re like me, however, if I have over 70% I usually just park it and head inside knowing I’ll be out for another short trip sooner than later.

I did that once recently, then never went anywhere for the next 5 days. I started to wonder. Did my car lose its charge just sitting there parked? Did my range drop significantly, or not at all? I had never thought about it before and I was truly curious about what I was going to find.

As it turns out, drum roll, please. I lost 9 KM of range. Big whoop!

Doing some research after the fact, that seems to be in line with most cars on the market.

On average, an electric car loses 1-2 miles of range per day when parked or sitting idle.

Why does my EV lose charge?

So why does your EV lose its charge and range when it’s just sitting there doing nothing?

Well, when your car is off, it’s not really off. Power is still supplied to the computer systems, running anything from the alarm system,  or Tesla’s sentry mode, battery monitoring, to Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s common an all cars, not just electric vehicles. Even gas powered cars have a drain on batteries which is sometimes why you find yourself stranded after the car has sat for a long while.

It’s worth noting that environmental conditions play a large part in the battery drain as well. On cold days, the batteries deplete much faster, and you get less range as well. See my post here about that.

What can I do to prevent battery drain when parked?

How can you prevent a loss of charge and range? The best thing to do is keep the car plugged in. The software prevents damage from overcharging so there is no downside to always keeping the car topped up. This will also help on cold days when you want to pre-condition your batteries or warm up the car. What is preconditioning? I talk about that here.

Put on power-saving mode if your car is so equipped and shut off any systems you don’t need. For example, do you really need sentry mode on when the car is sitting in your garage? Depends on where you live I guess, but you get my point.

If your car is always communicating to your router, or mobile data, you can suspend that as well.

The thing is though, it won’t save you much. So it’s not really worth worrying about. Unless of course, you run out of power one mile from your house. Then you can curse me. Use the contact form above!

This is one of those things you wonder about from time to time, but then forget to check on when you do. I have no idea what my battery level is right now, so if it’s less than what it was since I last parked, I have no idea. Hence this post.

Happy motoring.