Every year we inch closer to an all-electric vehicle future across the world. The technology is currently in a place that makes it a completely viable alternative to traditional combustion engines and the exponential innovation in the sector makes this latest step forward in transportation extremely exciting. However, for many people, the emergence of fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles - or EV and PHEV - has gained prominence at such a speed that they are left with questions about the ins and outs of owning such a vehicle. The main questions our team at Simon Lucas Mitsubishi gets is in regards to the battery technology that powers these vehicles.
So if you’re looking to get up to speed on this revolutionary technology, here’s everything you need to know about the battery that powers EVs.
Evs and PHEV are powered by lithium-ion batteries. While a PHEV pairs this with a combustion engine, an EV only uses the battery to power itself. These batteries are perfect for electric vehicles as they have a higher energy density than traditional lead-acid or nickel-cadmium batteries. Because the battery boasts a high energy density it takes up far less space. Another feature of lithium-ion batteries is the speed at which they can be recharged and the high amount of charging cycles they are able to tolerate. It’s because of this that the lithium-ion battery has been adopted by multiple technologies that have a high level of daily use such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Compact and ready for action, lithium-ion batteries are perfect for EV technology. These batteries are connected to the electric vehicle’s motor which turns the car's wheels. When you put your foot on the accelerator the energy stored in the battery is delivered to the motor, powering the vehicle and depleting the battery’s reserves. The size of the battery is measured in kilowatt-hours, of kWh, and equates to 1000 watts of energy per hour. The higher kWh the bigger the “gas tank” of an electric vehicle.
There are two main ways people charge their EVs. Most commonly owners of EVs will plug their vehicle in to charge overnight at their home. This can be done either through your home's regular power outlets or you can invest in a faster charging outlet to be installed into your home. The second manner is through commercial fast-charge stations which allow owners to charge their PHEV or EV on the go. The time it takes to charge the battery will differ significantly based on what is used to charge the vehicle as well as the car’s battery size. For example, if your electric vehicle has a 40 kWh battery it would take approximately 11 hours to charge it from a standard kiwi wall outlet at home or 1 hour from a fast-charge station. A 75 kWh battery may take 21 hours and 2 hours respectively.
The life expectancy of an EV’s lithium-ion battery varies significantly depending on how the vehicle is used. An extremely conservative estimate is 160,000 km. However, a well-maintained electric vehicle’s battery is capable of far more than that, with many vehicles being driven with their original batteries even after hundreds of thousands of kilometers.
The overall maintenance of an EV vehicle is extremely low. However, the driving and charging habits of the owner will influence the longevity of the vehicle's battery. One of the main factors in the degradation of a lithium-ion battery is the amount of charging cycles it is exposed to. Owners of EVs are able to optimise their batteries life by limiting the amount of time they fully deplete their batteries before charging, with experts recommending minimising times that the batteries reach below 4% charge. On the other end of the spectrum of charging, fully charging can also affect the battery’s lifespan (but not as severely as depleting it). The best practice for maintaining the health of a lithium-ion battery is to “top up” the charge rather than fully draining and then putting it through a full charge cycle.
Lithium-ion batteries do not fare well in the heat. While EVs employ advanced cooling systems to mitigate this, the EV battery will degrade at a faster rate in warmer climates.
Mitsubishi has a legacy for the innovations they have brought to the electric vehicle market. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV was the world's first modern highway-capable mass-production electric car. Released in 2009, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was applauded for pushing the boundaries of what was possible with electric vehicles and received a number of awards for doing so. These included the "2009 Japan Automotive Hall of Fame Car Technology of the Year" award in October 2009 and the "Japanese Car of the Year Most Advanced Technology" awarded during the 41st Tokyo Motor Show in 2009.
Mitsubishi has continued its development of industry-defining innovations, and their latest generation of battery technology is no exception. Mitsubishi has taken its years of experience developing battery technology to power its two latest PHEV models, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV. Both these plug-in hybrid vehicles take advantage of the technology that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV paved the way for, placing electric motors on both the axles delivering 130Kw of power to each motor from a 13.8kWh high capacity lithium-ion battery. Mitsubishi has taken the time to see the pros and cons of a full electric vehicle (EV) and a classic hybrid vehicle to deliver a range of PHEVs with all of their strengths and none of their weaknesses. Both the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Eclipse Cross PHEV boast full EV modes that don't require the use of their combustion engines but are also able to use their engine in combination with their electric motors for extended range and performance. With multiple drive modes to take full advantage of their electric motor technology, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Outlander PHEV provide a fuel-efficient vehicle without ever compromising on performance.
Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle offering is perfect for daily runners or for a longer adventure with the family. The Mitsubishi Outlander has all the outdoor utility that fans have come to adore, from towing a boat to getting around the worksite. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV provides the zippy “off the line” performance that is well known from their previous models. Both vehicles are designed to be charged on the go or at home overnight, ready for the day ahead.
Both the Mitsubishi Outlander and Eclipse Cross PHEV have an 8 year / 160,000km lithium-ion battery warranty, giving you peace of mind that in any unfortunate circumstances your battery is covered. For more information on Mitsubishi’s lineup of plug-in hybrid vehicles, get in contact with the team at Simon Lucas Mitsubishi today!
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