Tesla battery expert recommends daily charging limit to optimize durability

Like owners of gas-powered cars, electric car owners can adopt driving and ownership habits to prolong the useful life of their vehicles.

Simple habits, like not driving a vehicle too hard or rotating the tires regularly, are common to gas-powered and electric cars, but some habits are new and only for electric vehicles, like optimizing charging habits.

The main one being the daily charging limit and now a Tesla battery expert made his recommendation to optimize durability.

Jeff Dahn, a renowned battery researcher and the leader of Tesla’s research partnership through his battery-research group at Dalhousie University, has been working on li-ion battery durability for Tesla for a year now.

He has been studying the impact of the charge and discharge rates on the lifecycle of Tesla’s batteries.

They have reportedly been making progress and we recently reported on Dahn saying that they created in the lab a new battery chemistry that doubles the lifetime of batteries in Tesla’s products 4 years ahead of time.

Historical data from Tesla’s current battery packs show about 5% capacity degradation after 50,000 miles (80,000 km) and the capacity levels off for about 150,000 more miles before coming close to hitting 90% capacity.

Therefore, they are already doing well and could last for years and hundred of thousand of miles, but there are also things that you can do to optimize the results.

One of those things is not charging to a full charge too often. Repeated full charges can negatively impact li-ion battery cells, which is why Tesla recommends to only daily charge to 90% capacity and to charge to 100% only when needed for long trips.

In the past, CEO Elon Musk even recommended 80% daily charging:

Both are easily manageable in Tesla vehicles since they all offer over 200 miles of range on a full charge and therefore, they can cover most daily commutes with even just a fraction of a full charge.

But if someone wants to really push the optimisation to its limit, Dahn suggests going even lower.

A Model X owner on TMC aims to keep his all-electric SUV for up to 20 years and he decided to reach to Dahn for advice on daily charging to optimize the battery pack longevity. The researcher responded:

“I would recommend charging to 70% normally. When you need a long trip, charge to 100%.”

That’s even lower, but again, it’s still over 150 miles of range on most versions of Tesla’s vehicles and if the need arises, they can actually charge to 100%.

It’s quite easy to set up the charge limit, which can be done in the car or through Tesla’s mobile app. The problem is for unplanned use of the car, it can be useful to have the extra charge.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below if you would consider reducing your car’s daily charging limit in order to make the pack last a while longer?

The owner made a video about the exchange with Dahn:


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