Fully electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more and more popular as people look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and rely less on fossil fuels. These vehicles operate solely on electricity, provided by state-of-the-art high-voltage batteries, with no need for gasoline or diesel. However, even though they are fully electric, many EVs also have a 12-volt battery, typically associated with gas- and diesel-powered vehicles.
So why is this the case? Why do fully electric vehicles still have a 12-volt battery in them if they don’t use gasoline or diesel? The answer lies in the various systems and components that make up an electric vehicle and the roles that the 12-volt battery plays in these systems.
What Does the 12-volt Battery Do in an EV?
In an EV, the 12-volt battery serves several important functions. First and foremost, it powers the vehicle’s electrical systems when the car is not in use. This includes the central locking system, alarm, and other security features.
The 12-volt battery also powers the vehicle’s onboard computer and diagnostic systems. It also plays a role in starting the main high-voltage battery pack, which is responsible for powering the electric motor and moving the vehicle.
Another important function of the 12-volt battery is to act as a buffer for the main high-voltage battery pack. It helps to smooth out any fluctuations in the high-voltage battery’s output, ensuring a steady supply of electricity to the vehicle’s electrical systems.
Can’t the High-voltage Battery Be Used Instead?
While it may seem logical to use the main high-voltage battery pack to power the vehicle’s electrical systems instead of a separate 12-volt battery, there are several reasons why this isn’t practical.
First and foremost, the main high-voltage battery pack is designed to power the electric motor and propel the vehicle, not to provide a steady supply of electricity for the vehicle’s electrical systems. Using the high-voltage battery for this purpose would put a lot of strain on it and could potentially reduce its overall lifespan.
Additionally, the main high-voltage battery pack is typically much larger and heavier than the 12-volt battery, which would add unnecessary weight to the vehicle. Using a separate, smaller 12-volt battery helps to keep the weight of the vehicle down and improve its overall efficiency.
How Is the 12v Battery in an Electric Car Charged?
So, if the 12-volt battery isn’t used to power the electric motor, how is it charged? The 12-volt battery in an EV is typically charged through a process called “trickle charging.” This involves using a small amount of electricity from the main high-voltage battery pack to keep the 12-volt battery charged while the vehicle is in use.
Trickle charging helps to ensure that the 12-volt battery always has enough power to perform its various functions, even when the main high-voltage battery is being used to propel the vehicle. In addition to keeping the 12-volt battery charged, trickle charging also helps to maintain the health of the battery and extend its lifespan.
It’s important to note that the 12-volt battery in an EV is not the same as the 12-volt battery found in a traditional gasoline-powered car. The 12-volt battery in an EV is a special type of battery called a “deep cycle” battery, which is designed to be regularly discharged and recharged. This is in contrast to the “starting” battery found in a traditional gasoline-powered car, which is designed to provide a burst of power for starting the engine and is not meant to be regularly discharged.
What Happens When a 12v Battery in an Electric Car Dies?
As with any battery, the 12-volt battery in an EV will eventually need to be replaced. In some cases, the 12-volt battery in an EV may die unexpectedly, leaving the vehicle without power to its electrical systems. This can be a frustrating and inconvenient experience, especially if it happens while the vehicle is being driven.
If the 12-volt battery in an EV dies while the vehicle is in use, it may be possible to jump-start the battery using a separate 12-volt power source, such as a portable jump starter or another vehicle. However, it’s important to follow proper safety precautions when attempting to jump-start the battery, as there is a risk of electrical shock. It’s also important to use caution when jump-starting an EV, as the high-voltage battery pack can present additional risks.
If the 12-volt battery in an EV dies and cannot be jump-started, the vehicle will need to be towed to a repair shop or service center where the battery can be replaced. In some cases, it may be possible to replace the 12-volt battery on your own if you have the necessary tools and knowledge, but it’s generally best to have a trained professional handle this task to ensure it is done safely and correctly.
To sum up, fully electric vehicles (EVs) still have a 12-volt battery on board because it performs several important functions for the vehicle. These include powering the vehicle’s electrical systems and starting the main high-voltage battery pack.
The 12-volt battery also acts as a buffer to smooth out fluctuations in the high-voltage battery’s output. This helps to ensure a steady supply of electricity to the vehicle’s electrical systems and helps to protect the main high-voltage battery from excessive strain.
When the 12-volt battery reaches the end of its lifespan, it will need to be replaced. It is generally best to have a trained professional handle this task to ensure it is done safely. By taking care of the 12-volt battery and replacing it when needed, you can help to ensure that your EV is running smoothly and efficiently.
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