Skip advert
Advertisement
Your questions answered

How to store an electric car long-term

If you're planning to leave your electric car dormant for weeks or months, here's how to prepare it for storage and keep it in good condition

Honda e

It’s easy to think that leaving an electric car standing for long periods would require nothing more than plugging it in, locking it and walking away. And you may well get away with that. But if you have any reason to leave your electric or plug-in hybrid car idle for a long period, it’s worth taking a few simple measures to maintain both the high-voltage (HV) battery and the 12v battery that powers the ancillaries.
 
More on that in a moment. First, in terms of keeping the car’s main battery in good condition, you’re best off not leaving the car plugged in for long periods. Just make sure it has a good amount of charge in it – ideally 80% or more – and then unplug it. Coil the cables neatly but loosely so they don't get kinked. It’s always worth making sure that cables are stored somewhere dry where they won’t be dropped or generally knocked about, as that can damage the plugs.
 
Finally, locate the 12v battery in your car. It's far more likely that you’ll have problems with a flat 12v battery than any issues with the main lithium-ion battery pack. The 12v battery in electric cars is exactly the same lead-acid battery that you may be used to seeing in petrol and diesel cars and it can lose charge gradually over prolonged periods, just as it will in any car.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

To avoid a flat battery, make absolutely sure that the car is switched off before touching the battery and always wear protective gloves. You’ll need a spanner or socket to loosen the nut holding the cable to the terminal. Always disconnect the negative terminal first – it’s normally a black cable. Then disconnect the connector from the positive terminal (normally a red cable) and make sure both cables are tucked away safely so that they don’t touch any metal part of the battery or vehicle.
 
You can leave the 12v battery in the vehicle while it’s standing, just make sure that it’s dry and that the cables can’t come loose and make contact. It’s better – if not essential – to store this lead-acid battery indoors rather than leaving it in a car that’s stored outside, as temperature changes aren’t friendly to battery charge and condition. Alternatively, a trickle-charger (an inexpensive purchase from any good car parts store) can be used to maintain charge in a 12v battery in an electric car, but the car will need to be parked in a garage with access to a domestic socket.
 
If the 12v battery does go flat, you can jump-start it from a normal petrol or diesel car, or from a portable power pack, using standard jumper cables. You must not jump start another car from an electric car or plug-in hybrid, however, as that can damage the electrics in the plug-in vehicle. Always check the owner’s handbook regards jump-starting, as manufacturer advice varies between brands.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Where can I buy hydrogen and where is my nearest hydrogen filling station?
hydrogen filling station
Your questions answered

Where can I buy hydrogen and where is my nearest hydrogen filling station?

A guide to where you can find hydrogen fuel stations for filling up a hydrogen fuel-cell car in the UK
11 Apr 2024
Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: specs, details and prototype ride of the new EV G-Class
G 580 with EQ Technology roadtrip photo front 3/4 on a hill
News

Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: specs, details and prototype ride of the new EV G-Class

The new G 580 will be revealed to the world on the 24th of April, we look at all the details of the forthcoming model and we ride in the prototype
12 Apr 2024
​Top 10 best small electric SUVs 2024
Top 10 best small electric SUVs Cover Photo
Best cars

​Top 10 best small electric SUVs 2024

Small electric SUVs provide low running costs, decent practicality and are more affordable than larger models, so they’re very popular. Here are the b…
8 Apr 2024