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The COVID-19 crisis means many of us are using our vehicles much less frequently, or in some cases not using them at all.
Owners of battery-powered vehicles might wonder how much charge they should keep in their batteries and whether their batteries will become depleted if their vehicle is not used and recharged regularly.
So we asked our battery expert Bob Taenaka, senior technical leader, Battery and Cell System Development, for some tips on how to keep an electrified vehicle in top condition while self-isolating.
Taenaka says, the most important thing is to make sure your 12-volt battery stays charged and that your high-voltage battery has adequate charge - 10 percent or more - to prevent it from potentially draining to zero percent. If you have driven and/or had your vehicle on plug for a total of at least 8 hours within the past month, the 12-volt battery should be adequately charged. For longer periods of time between driving, you should also take additional steps. We recommend you always consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on “Vehicle Storage” for longer than 30 days.
If you’re storing your battery electric vehicle without plugging it in, Taenaka recommends keeping it at a state of charge between 10 percent and 80 percent. Ford hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are designed to stay above a 10 percent state of charge during normal operation.
A high-voltage battery above 10 percent state of charge can go for more than six months without charging, but the 12-volt battery will drain much faster, especially when connected to the vehicle. If you do not plan to drive your electrified vehicle for longer than 30 days, Taenaka recommends following these steps for the sake of your 12-volt battery:
“If you are storing your vehicle for longer than 30 days without use, we recommend disconnecting the negative terminal of your 12-volt battery,” says Taenaka.“This avoids depletion and potential damage to the battery, which runs the internal systems such as heating -- without the need for monthly maintenance.”
If disconnecting the 12-volt battery, these details are important to know:
With warmer temperatures on the way, your vehicle and its batteries are designed to handle long-term storage outside in direct sunlight. Taenaka says that if you are experiencing extreme hot weather and the vehicle needs to be stored for more than 30 days, if practical for you, store your vehicle in a garage or in the shade to preserve battery capacity and extend its life span.
Always refer to your owner’s manual for important details about storing your vehicle and removing it from storage.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification; mobility solutions, including self-driving services; and connected services. Ford employs approximately 187,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit corporate.ford.com.