Fast charging all the time not good for EV batteries; AC charging better to slow degradation – EV expert

With electric vehicle (EV) adoption in Malaysia expected to increase over the next couple of years as a result of tax exemptions that will be introduced from next year, it’s no surprise to see infrastructure providers making the move to up the charging network to support that.

Electric vehicle charging solutions provider ChargEV is one of these, announcing the introduction of new 22 kW AC chargers as part of its ongoing public network update. Now, we’ve seen people ridiculing the new 22 kW chargers, calling them ‘dinosaur tech’ compared to 200-300 kW DC fast chargers. The point is, chargers in public buildings aren’t designed to fully charge your EV anyway, and are really only for top-ups while you do your business at the mall. Your main place to charge should still be at home.

As it moves along eventually, the availability of DCFC points is expected to expand, although with extra requirements and additional cost they are not expected to form the majority of the public charging network, at least not in the foreseeable future.

In any case, charging fast every time, all the time may not be ideal, says Johan Hellsing of China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT). The principal expert, Motion & Energy at the innovation centre for the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said that doing so would be detrimental to the battery in the long run.

“It is a small negative impact each time. If you fast charge once a month, you won’t notice it very much, but if you fast charge every time then you will see some faster degradation of the battery,” he said during an interview some time back.

Hellsing, who said that getting an EV’s battery to full even with DC charging will never be as quick as the refuelling process that motorists are used to now, said that there would also be a price to be paid elsewhere.

“There may be cases where it won’t be possible to load the grid with that power in a short time, so you need to have some local storage, which means additional cost. The electricity will be more expensive, the technology will be more expensive, also the battery will age faster. So far, I don’t see any technologies overcoming it totally,” he explained.

So, the only place you really need fast chargers are on highways, in the middle of long trips. That’s how Tesla says its Superchargers are designed to be used, as occasional quick chargers, not as a daily. The reality is that overnight AC home charging should take care of movement ability (unless you happen to stay in an old condo), also helping to preserve the battery over the long run.

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