do electric cars lose charge when parked

Do Electric Cars Lose Charge When Parked? Suppose you want to know  the best 12v battery in electric car, then this article is what you need. It contains what happens when ev runs out of charge. Also, it includes refueling electric cars.

In short, there’s no need to worry! Electric cars can handle extended periods of inactivity very well, even better than combustion-powered engines, in fact, whose 12V batteries can lose charge, and whose fluids and radiator hoses can become damaged

If left unplugged, an electric car battery pack can drain by as little as a few percent of total battery capacity per month, although this depends on a number of factors, including power-sapping features that don’t turn off

refueling electric cars

Do Electric Cars Lose Charge When Parked

Your Tesla loses range when parked caused by Vampire battery drain. This can vary from a few miles per day to quite significant amounts depending on the settings in the car and can be a problem if leaving your car while on holiday.

Like any other new technology out there, electric cars come with their own unique set of problems. While not detracting from the obvious advantages, they are essential to point out, especially the issue of so-called “Vampire Drain.” This is, interestingly, a mechanical area in which a traditional car and electric car are the same.

Used Tesla battery cells

Both electric and gasoline cars are made to be driven. That’s not just some corporate slogan, it’s a mechanical truth. When a battery is left idle for long periods, it gradually loses its charge. They don’t lose it for exactly the same reason or at even the same rate, but it does happen. Electric cars are a lot less mechanical than traditional ones, and often contain much more electronic and computerized equipment.

Take a Tesla, for instance. When you park it up and lock the garage, your car doesn’t just stop working. It still operates a number of systems like battery monitoring, stand-by mode and many others. This is the cause of vampire drain in electric vehicles: sitting idly, monitoring itself and waiting to be turned back on again. The loss of power isn’t so dramatic, possibly a few miles of range per day of idling, but it can be more depending on the conditions

Extreme temperatures both hot and cold tend to affect battery technology quite adversely, though an EV battery pack is well housed against these problems. The great difference with EVs and vampire drain compared to that of regular cars is the ability to monitor the battery condition. Many EVs and charging stations come with accompanying apps that display the state of your battery on your smartphone. So, if you want to maintain a healthy battery charge of 20 percent minimum and 80 percent maximum, you can do that. Only the very newest internal combustion cars – and then usually only at the top-end price bracket – offer such smart features.

Is My EV Losing Charge While Parked?

Renault Zoe and Hyundai IONIQ EVs next to each other

In light of the explanation I gave above, the simple answer is that most likely yes, your EV is losing some amount of charge while parked and idle. If you’re still plugging your car in each day and maintaining the charge level between 20 and 80 percent, then the amount you’ll lose to vampire drain will be minimal. It can only happen when the car is sitting and not charging, after all.

The main source of the problem in modern cars is the sheer number of electronically founded functions that the car relies upon to work properly. This means that even when “off,” the car is still doing something, and that requires power. Below I’ll go into more detail about what to do about vampire drain, and how you can minimize it.

How Can I Prevent Vampire Drain in My Car?

There are a few things you can do to prevent vampire drain. How much you can do does depend on the make and model of your particular electric car. Some allow more functionality than others.

1. Keep the vehicle plugged in to maintain charge

You might think that this is wasteful or risks “overcharging” the battery, but in fact it’s much worse to let the battery drain to zero or near-zero before charging, so maintaining an optimum charge level is a good idea. Furthermore, if you set the maximum charge level to 80 percent, then the charger will only work to do and maintain that level. It won’t continuously charge at full whack until you reach 100 percent.

2. Charge the vehicle to at least 80 percent before idling

To minimize the effects of vampire drain when you can’t leave your car plugged in continuously when idling, you should pre-charge it up to 80 percent – 90 if possible. This will at least leave you with as much charge as possible if you later need the car and vampire drain has occurred in the meantime.

3. Activate “Power Saving” Mode

Whatever your car calls it exactly – energy saving, power saving, etc – activate this setting on your car and it will minimize power consumption when idling. Your smartphone usually features the same function, deactivating various unnecessary systems in order to conserve energy.

If your car is a Tesla and thus partially relies on Internet connectivity to receive updates, or is by default standing by to connect with your key fob, you can deactivate this function by unchecking the “Always connect” button in the energy saving screen. Other cars may have a similar option to turn off auto-connecting, instead making the car wait for you to physically reactivate it.

4. Leave the Car Unplugged

No, we are not contradicting ourselves here. There are some models of car that actually benefit from the non-plugging-in approach. The Nissan Leaf, for example, when left unplugged will enter into its “Deep Sleep” mode to conserve energy. If your EV has a similar function to this, then follow that route to save on energy drain.

5. Deactivate “Preconditioning” (Tesla) and Similar Preset Features

Is your electric car programmed with various presets? Is it set to wake up at certain times and activate climate controls to make the car perfect for when you usually set off to work or to do the school run? These presets should be turned off if you know your car is going to be idle for a while. It should be a matter of just pushing a button or two in the car itself or via your smartphone.

what happens when ev runs out of charge

If You’re Considering an Electric Car, Be Sure to Do Your Homework

Just a few years ago, many people may have never seen an electric car in person, unless they lived in a place like California where electric vehicles are popular and readily available. Now, several automakers offer compelling electric vehicles (EVs) nationwide. Today, it’s not uncommon to see a Tesla Model 3 regardless of where you live.

As electric cars become less expensive and widely available, more people are interested in buying them. There are many reasons – aside from the environmental benefits – to switch to an EV, such as superb efficiency, cheaper energy costs, less maintenance, and better overall performance. However, making the transition from gas to electric is a big step. Before you take the plunge, be sure to do your homework and ask the right questions.Closeup of electric vehicleWestend61 / Getty Images

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most important considerations for potential EV owners, listed in the form of questions. While some include complete answers, others depend on various factors, including which EV you choose, where you live, and how you plan to use the car. 

Read through the following information to decide if electric car ownership is something you’re really serious about. If you decide to move forward, be sure to get all of your questions answered before completing the transaction.

Read on to learn if picking up an EV is the right choice for you.

1. Does the Car Have Enough Range?

Many of today’s EVs offer over 200 miles of range on a charge, though there are still some that have much less. Tesla is currently the only automaker that offers EVs with over 300 miles of range. The Tesla Model S currently holds the record, with up to an EPA-rated 402 miles per charge.

With 200 miles of range, most people aren’t going to experience range anxiety during their daily commutes. Keep in mind that range varies regardless of the EPA’s estimates. Many factors impact a car’s range, such as your speed, your driving habits, the weather, and the car’s climate control. It’s wise to anticipate having less range than the car’s EPA estimate, just to be safe. If you travel over 200 miles on a daily basis, you may want to steer clear of most EVs. 

2. Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle at Home?

One of the most convenient aspects of EV ownership is charging at home. At the end of the day, you simply plug the car in. When you wake in the morning, it’s ready to go. This means no more smelly hands from pumping gas, no more standing out in the cold, and no more pulling your car out of your garage to warm it up.

With that said, there are several important considerations. You can charge your EV using a standard 110-volt wall outlet (Level 1 charging), but it’s going to take some time. Level 1 charging adds about 4 miles of range per hour. If you don’t use many miles of range each day, this may work for you. However, if you deplete a full 250 miles of range, it will take several days to recharge this way.Family preparing for road trip while charging vehicle in a home drivewayMaskot / Getty Images

Most EV owners hire an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet in their garage. This allows for Level 2 charging, which can add 25 miles of range per charging hour. Make sure to find out how much it will cost to add 240-volt service at your home. 

If you don’t have a garage, you can plug in outside. If you have a 240-volt outlet installed outside, make sure it’s up to code, and that your charging cord or station is designed for outdoor use.

Learn more about charging an EV at home »

3. How Much Does Electricity Cost?

Just like gasoline, the price of electricity varies depending on where you live. The average price of electricity in the U.S. is 13.28 cents per kilowatt-hour. In Louisiana, you’ll pay 9.5 cents, compared to 19.79 cents in California. Regardless of where you live or where you charge your EV, electricity will still cost you much less than gas for a competitor in the same segment. According to the EPA, fuel costs for a BMW 3 Series are over three times more expensive than charging a Tesla Model 3. However, there are details you should know in order to save the most money. 

Charging at home is typically cheaper than public charging, though some public charging units are free. Electricity prices can vary based on the time of day. It’s usually much less expensive to charge overnight or on the weekend than it is to charge at peak times, such as weekday afternoons and evenings. Your local utility company can break it all down for you. Some utility providers even offer special plans to accommodate EV owners.

4. Are There Public Charging Stations Nearby?

While home charging is the most convenient way to juice up your electric car, you’ll probably need to charge on the road at some point. Some public charging stations are Level 2, but many offer DC fast charging, which allows you to charge your car rapidly. Some EVs can be charged to 80% in less than 30 minutes at a fast-charging station. However, there are many factors involved. 

Make sure you find out if the EV you’re planning on picking up is capable of fast-charging, as well as how many miles you can expect to add in a given time. In addition, you should locate the charging stations in your area and on your typical routes, and then determine what type of charging they support. Closeup of public EV charging station signAtiwat Studio / Getty Images

There are many resources available, including PlugShare.com and PlugInAmerica.org. Charging networks, such as EVgo, ChargePoint, and Electrify America also have their own interactive maps. Tesla owners have exclusive access to the Supercharger network, which includes fast-charging stations strategically located nationwide.

5. Can I Take My EV on Road Trips?

Any electric car is capable of road-tripping. Whether it’s convenient or viable comes down to your route and your car’s range. If your EV offers 200 or 300 miles of range, you’ll probably be ready for a bathroom and snack break by the time you’re getting low on battery power. 

There shouldn’t be an issue mapping out your trip and making sure there’s a charging station every three hours or so – especially if you’re traveling on major highways. However, you may have to diverge from the usual route to make sure you can DC fast-charge at each stop. Otherwise, your travel time will be extended significantly.

Many EV owners also own a gas car that they use for family road trips. If you don’t go on long road trips often, you shouldn’t worry too much. You could always rent a car for the annual family road trip and still save money using your EV as your daily driver.

6. What Electric Vehicle Incentives are Available?

The federal U.S. government offers electric car buyers a $7,500 tax credit. The full amount only applies to new, fully electric cars. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are also eligible for the credit, though it reduces based on the size of the car’s battery. Longer range PHEVs like the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid qualify for the full tax credit, but the Toyota Prius Prime and Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid are only eligible for about $4,500.

Not all EVs qualify for the tax credit. The incentive phases out in increments after an automaker sells 200,000 electric vehicles. For example, Tesla and GM EVs are no longer eligible. It’s also important to note that not everyone’s tax situation will allow them to take advantage of the credit. Before buying an EV, be sure to talk to a tax professional to make sure you’ll get the credit. You can’t get the credit if you lease an EV, but the dealership can get it and apply it to the lease discounts. However, that’s not always the case. If you plan to lease, find out if the tax credit is applied or if the dealership is planning to pocket the credit.closeup of EV being charged with US currency overlaidStadtratte / Getty Images

States and cities also offer credits and incentives in addition to the federal tax credit. Make sure to do your homework to find out if you can get a local discount, financial assistance for a home charging system, or any other local incentive for purchasing an electric car.

7. Should I Buy a New or Used Electric Car?

Electric cars are expensive, so buying used will save you money. Interestingly, all new EVs are pricier than new gas-powered cars, but many used EVs are much cheaper than most used gas cars. This is because most EVs depreciate more rapidly than traditional cars due to the tax incentives and limited demand. However, this isn’t true of Tesla’s vehicles, which tend to hold their value better than most cars. Many used electric cars also have low mileage due to being relatively new and having range limitations.

Buying new guarantees your car will have a full warranty, the longest electric range currently available, and up-to-date tech and safety features. While batteries don’t degrade quickly, buying new still gives you the peace of mind that your battery is in tip-top condition. Finally, the federal EV tax credit and other electric car incentives aren’t available on the purchase of used EVs. 

Many of the same pros and cons of buying a new or used gas-only vehicle applies to EVs, too. Read our guide on choosing between a new or used model to learn more.

8. Is it Better to Buy or Lease an EV?

If you’re in the market for a new EV, you’ll have to decide whether to buy or lease. EV leasing is much more popular than buying since electric cars are so expensive. While buying a car, especially with a low interest rate, is generally a more sound financial decision, it’s not a good idea if you can barely afford the monthly payment. 

A $40,000 car loan with zero APR over five years will set you back almost $700 per month. You can often lease that same EV with a monthly payment that’s half that. Moreover, new electric cars are coming to market regularly, and current models are getting better every year. Many EVs get new technology and more range with each new model year. Leasing assures that you can take advantage of the newest technology or swap your car for an even better EV every few years. If your tax situation won’t allow you to get the federal electric car tax credit, you may benefit from the dealership applying it to your lease as a discount.EV charging at a car dealership lotMaskot / Getty Images

In the end, you have to ask yourself how long you plan to keep your electric car. Will you eventually pay off the loan? If you plan to sell it, realize that EV resale value may work against you. However, leasing means having a monthly car payment for a long period of time. Also, exceeding the car’s mileage restrictions or damaging the car may end up costing you when it’s time to turn it in.

Choosing to buy or lease an EV is similar to any vehicle. Our article on buying versus leasing can provide you with more information.

9. What Do I Need to Know About EV Maintenance?

Overall, electric cars require less maintenance than gas-powered cars. There are virtually no fluids to change, and the friction brakes last longer since regenerative braking assists with stopping the car. An EV’s battery and motor have the potential to last longer than the life of the car. In the rare event that an EV’s battery needs replacing, it can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $16,000, and that doesn’t include labor. For comparison, replacing the engine in a gas car can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on the size of the engine and the hours of labor.

Fortunately, federal regulations require that automakers cover an electric vehicle’s battery for eight years or 100,000 miles. Keep in mind warranties can be packed with exceptions and exclusions, so make sure you understand exactly what’s covered.

10. How Much Does it Cost to Insure an Electric Car?

Insurance tends to cost more for electric cars than traditional cars. However, it has nothing to do with the vehicle’s safety. Instead, it’s because EVs are more expensive than gas-powered cars. More expensive cars typically cost more to repair. In addition, insurance companies take into account the high cost of EV battery packs. If an accident causes damage to the pack, and it needs to be replaced, it’s one of the most expensive repairs insurance companies will have to cover. 

On average, you’ll pay 23% more to insure an electric car than a gas car. Some insurance companies are more forgiving than others, and rates vary widely depending on many variables. For example, State Farm’s rates don’t seem to increase much for electric cars, but Allstate charges a hefty premium. Regardless of the car you drive, be sure to shop around for the best insurance rate. Our auto insurance guide can help you find the best options to insure your EV.

most reliable electric and hybrid cars

10. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present)

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Reliability rating 97.8%

Although 14% of Outlander PHEVs suffered a fault, most of these were minor niggles relating to bodywork, interior trim and non-engine electrics. All cars could still be driven and a third were repaired in a day or less, with two-thirds of work done for free under warranty. Some owners were charged up to £750, though.


Car dealsTesla Model 3From £40,990Tesla Model SFrom £79,980Tesla Model XFrom £90,980View all deals

Read our full Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review >>

Find Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV deals >>


8=. BMW i3 (2013-present)

BMW i3 2018 front cornering

Reliability rating 97.9%

Just under 13% of i3s have caused their owners trouble in the past 12 months, with these mostly suffering from problems with their infotainment/sat-nav systems and interior trim. All of the affected cars could still be driven, with a third fixed in less than a day, but another third took up to a week and the rest more than a week to put right. At least all repairs were done under warranty.

Read our full BMW i3 review >>

Find BMW i3 deals >>


8=. Honda CR-V Hybrid (2018-present)

Honda CR-V Hybrid

Reliability rating 97.9%

Only 8% of CR-V Hybrids went wrong and non-engine electrics were the only problem area. All cars could still be driven and were fixed the same day under warranty. 

Read our full Honda CR-V review >>

Find Honda CR-V deals >>


7. Toyota Corolla (2018-present)

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Reliability rating 98.4%

Just 5% of Corolla owners reported a fault with their car and the only problematic area was the 12-volt battery. Although all cars were off the road for more than a week, all work was done for free. 

Read our full Toyota Corolla review >>

Find Toyota Corolla deals >>


6. Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present)

Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh

Reliability rating 98.5%

Just 7% of Kona Electrics went wrong, with the ancillary battery being the only area affected. All of those cars could still be driven and the repair work was done under warranty, although this took more than a week in each case.

Read our full Hyundai Kona Electric review >>


Find Hyundai Kona Electric deals >>


5. Lexus RX (2016-present)

Lexus RX L

Reliability rating 99.1%

A mere 4% of the RX Hybrids we were told about had developed a fault in the previous 12 months. Non-engine electrics were the only issue and all work was done for free, in most cases in a day or less. 

Read our full Lexus RX review >>

Find Lexus RX deals >>


4. Toyota RAV4 (2019-present)

Toyota RAV4

Reliability rating 99.2%

Toyota is renowned for its reliability, and the latest RAV4 shows why; just 7% of cars went wrong, with the battery being the only area that was affected. All of the cars could still be driven and were repaired in a day or less, and all work was carried out for free.

Read our full Toyota RAV4 review >>

Find Toyota RAV4 deals >>


3. Lexus NX (2014-present)

Used Lexus NX 14-present

Reliability rating 99.3%

Only 6% of NX owners reported a fault on their car, with issues with the infotainment/sat-nav being the most common, followed by the bodywork. All of the cars remained driveable and were put right in a day or less, with the cost covered by the warranty.

Read our full Lexus NX review >>

Find Lexus NX deals >>


2. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

Tesla Model 3 front

Reliability rating 99.4%

Tesla’s newest model is not only the most dependable executive car but also the highest-scoring electric car. Just 5% of cars suffered a fault, according to owners. What’s more, they could all still be driven and were fixed in a day or less at no cost to owners.

Read our full Tesla Model 3 review >>

Find Tesla Model 3 deals >>


1. Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-2020)

New Toyota Yaris Hybrid vs Renault Zoe

Reliability rating 99.5%

As reliable as the Model 3 is, it’s beaten to top spot by the Toyota Yaris Hybrid. This small car is incredibly dependable, with a mere 5% of the cars we were told about having suffered a fault. Again, all of the affected cars could still be driven and were fixed in a day or less for free.

Leave a Comment