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How Long Can an Electric Car Idle?

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How long can your electric car idle? You may need to idle your EV if you haven’t used your car for a long time. Also, keeping your car idle is the best way to ensure your car batteries are in good condition.¬†

Unlike diesel cars, the idle time of electric vehicles is even more.¬† Knowing your car’s idle mode time and how it works is essential if you’re an EV user. We will discuss everything you should know about EV’s idle mode.¬†

What happens when your car is in Idle mode? 

Idle mode an electric car, in simpler terms, means leaving the vehicle in neutral mode than parking it safely. You drain the energy by leaving it on, making the battery drain faster than the average time it should. 

For how long can I idle an electric car? 

The idle mode period of an electric car depends on its make, model, and also the type of battery it uses. While some drivers idle their cars at 80% charge, car experts recommend you idle at 50% and not less. However, you cannot and should not idle your car for more than a day. 

Factors affecting Electric Car’s Idle mode¬†

Here are some of the key factors that affect an electric car’s idle mode:¬†

Battery life  

You must importantly understand that EVs lose charge quicker than diesel cars. EVs run on batteries that are connected to their engine directly. Hence, the batteries drain their power in minutes, no sooner than the engine is on. However, the battery life of your car varies by the make, model, climate, and your car’s temperature too. Also, the battery may exhaust quickly if your engine stays heated for a long time.¬†

Battery size 

Battery size is another important factor that affects idle mode. Larger batteries with a better power retention capacity idle more. On the other hand, smaller batteries idle less as their power drains in a shorter period. 

Air conditioning 

You may be driving your EVs in different climates. Switching your car temperatures between extreme hot and cold during idle mode can damage your car to a great extent. Unlike manual cars, EVs take much time to regulate and stabilize the temperature. Therefore, using the car heater or air conditioner in an EV for a long time can increase your EV idle time. 

Driving style 

To a certain extent, the way you drive is one of the main reasons for your car’s high idle mode time. Leaving your car’s engine active on busy roads or for a long time can affect your car’s engine. Hence, switching off the engine when you use your car more effectively is wise.¬†

How Long Can an Electric Car Idle?


Electric cars and their idle mode time 

The idle mode time of cars depends on their makes and models. Here are a few popular EVs and their idle mode time. 

EV ModelIdle time 
Tesla Model S 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on battery size 
Nissan Leaf 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the climate 
Chevrolet Bolt About 30 minutes 
BMW i3 15 to 30 minutes, approximately 
Ford Mustang Mach-E 30 minutes to 1 hour 


Benefits and drawbacks of electric car idle mode 

Here are some of the benefits of keeping an electric car idle: 

Stabilizing the temperature within the car: The longer you keep your EV idle, the temperature inside your car remains stable, whether it’s hot or cold inside. Hence, once you idle your car and allow the temperature to stabilize, your drive becomes much more comfortable.¬†

Gives more power to the EV: When your EV is idle, yet the engine is on, the radio, the engine, and the ac consumers a lot of power. When your electric car idles, it takes only 1 kW of energy. Hence, your EV saves the rest of your car’s power.¬†

Restores battery charge: When a car battery idles, it provides energy restoration. Normally, diesel vehicles consume a lot of fuel while braking. However, while in idle mode, the EV restores the energy it loses when applying brakes. 

Some of the drawbacks of electric car idle mode are: 

Low range: Putting a car in idle mode¬†can reduce its range. The range gets even lower using an EV with smaller batteries. Small EV batteries have lower power retention capacity than bigger ones. The more you idle your EV, the lower will be your car range. Hence, if you love driving long distances, see to it that you don’t idle your EV for long.¬†

Environmental harm: When you idle your electric car for a long, you are still harming the environment. You know that fossil fuels are the source of power generation in EVs. 

Contributes to noise pollution: Even though EVs are a great power storage source, they are noisy while in idle mode. 

Conditions in which electric cars idle 

When can an electric car idle? Putting an EV in idle mode is not a good idea. It consumes a lot of power and affects your car’s battery life. However, here are some conditions when you can idle your electric car:¬†

  • To check your EV’s battery power.¬†
  • To maintain a comfortable temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold.¬†
  • When you have to use your car’s heater, it takes a while for the heat levels to stabilize.¬†
  • To change an old battery.¬†

What is the role of the battery in an Electric Car’s Idle mode?

The lifespan of your EV’s battery decides how long your electric car can idle. Though EV battery manufacturers promise five years warranty on your batteries, some may last as long as 20 years. For instance, you can use a 62kWh battery to idle for 10-15 hours. One of the benefits of idle mode is that your car doesn’t utilize as much energy as your diesel cars.¬†

Comparison of electric and gasoline car idle mode 

You can idle your car for 18 hours with half a gas tank. However, you must be vigilant about the idle mode a gasoline car, as it exhausts quicker than the electric charge. 

 On the other hand, the idle mode capacity of an EV is more than that of a gasoline car. An EV car can idle for more than 24 hours since it has sufficient power storage features. The time limit for power storage varies depending on the make and model of your EV. 

How Long Can an Electric Car Idle?


Tips to follow while idle mode an electric car 

Here are some safety tips which may help you before you idle your electric car: 

  • Turn off your car engine when your car is in the garage.¬†
  • Read the user’s manual to know how long you can idle.¬†
  • Use block heaters to reduce power consumption while in idle mode.¬†
  • Go for a small generator that is a power backup during idle mode.¬†

Myths about electric cars’ idle mode¬†

Here are a few misconceptions about electric car idle mode: 

Increases your car’s range: If your car manufacturer or retailer promises you a better range, never trust them. Besides, the idle mode in your car for too long can harm your engine and decrease your range.¬†

Better than turning your EV off for a while: Never! If you idle your car in a prolonged manner, it can deplete your car battery and decrease its performance. Turn off your vehicle when it’s not in use.¬†

Your battery life increases through electric car idle mode: No, your EVs have a specific battery life. 

Cost-effective ways to reduce an electric car’s idle mode time¬†

Here are some ways in which you can reduce your EV’s idle mode time:¬†

  • Use a remote starter-¬† A remote starter is a device that helps you to start your EV from a distance.¬†
  • Start using idle reduction technologies- There are technologies like Auxillary Power Systems, air heaters, and excess heat recovery systems, which keep an eye on your battery level.¬†
  • Go for air heaters- Start using portable air heaters which run on batteries that you can recharge using a normal plug point.¬†
  • Invest in a waste heat recovery unit- These units come with a pump and a tube circulating small amounts of water. This water circulates through your EV’s heating system and keeps your engine cool.¬†

These are some quick and easy ways to reduce your electric car’s idle mode time. Hence remember to idle your EV for the least amount of time to use it for a longer period.¬†

We help you find the best¬†gas¬†discounts,¬†home insurance,¬†auto¬†insurance,¬†EV charging near you,¬†auto¬†refinance,¬†and more with our all-in-one app! We also guide you in finding the¬†best¬†parking¬†and¬†car washes¬†near you.‚ÄĮ‚ÄĮ¬†

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