Do Electric Cars Lose Charge When Parked

People are interested in electric cars but definitely hesitant. 

One of the main points people are hesitant about is the battery life.

We often get asked do electric cars lose charge when parked.

It’s a question that puts doubt in people’s minds over the reliability and efficiency of electric cars.

So let’s take a closer look…

Does An EV Lose Charge On A Car Battery When Parked? 

Electric cars do lose charge when parked although it’s minimal. If you were to fully charge your electric vehicle, which isn’t advised, it could sit stationary for months on end. If you are leaving your car parked, always aim for about 50-80%, it should never be higher than this as the electric car battery can become damaged if constantly charged at full capacity every time. 

If your vehicle is not moving for a long period of time, it will enter a power-saving mode which helps reduce energy consumption when no one is using the electric car. Not only does it help conserve power, but it prevents other gadgets in the car which are not required from draining your high voltage battery even further. 

You don’t need to worry about leaving your parked car overnight and coming back in the morning with no charge on your battery life, it just doesn’t happen, not unless there’s a fault. 

How Long Can An Electric Vehicle Sit Without Charging?

If you were to charge your parked electric car to about 50% of its battery capacity and then didn’t use it, it would stay charged for a good few months. We wouldn’t leave electric vehicles parked with a battery pack charged over 80% as the lithium-ion batteries can become damaged and reduce their range within the years to come.

Also, if you live in a country with extreme temperatures, this can also damage the electric vehicle. Weather that is too hot or cold can cause the battery pack to lose charge more quickly than usual.

Do Electric Vehicles Lose Battery Power Range When Not On Charge

If you are concerned about the mileage your electric car loses due to being stationary over time, there’s not a lot to worry about. Your battery loses hardly any range per year so it would take a number of years to see a steep drop in the number of miles you could travel with your electric car now compared to when you first bought it.

An example of this is that figures show on average an electric car loses around 2.1-2.5% of its starting range every year. So if you had a vehicle with a battery that could travel 150 miles from its start range, after 5 years of use that range number would roughly be at about 134 miles. 

So as you can see, whether you drive your vehicle or leave it parked, the drop-off rate in the amount of distance your electric car batteries can cover is minimal you would hardly notice it yourself. Maybe after 10 years, you might notice that the electric car sitting on the drive doesn’t go as far as it once did.

How To Maintain Parked Electric Car Batteries Reserve & Health

If you want to ensure that you get the most out of your electric car and its battery there are a few things you can do. 

Firstly, always make sure the car is charged at a minimum of around 20%, you don’t really want the vehicle going below this threshold as the car can start to do long-lasting damage to the battery. Same if you go over 80% charge, you always want to stay within the 20-80% boundary. 

Secondly, keep out of weather conditions, if you can, let you electric car sit without too much Sun, somewhere shaded away from the light as lithium batteries do not enjoy extreme heat. Keep your electric vehicle parked in cover as excessive heat and temperature causes a small but irreversible loss of the battery’s total capacity. Parked electric cars are best left away from sunlight and charged at about 50% to avoid any systems failing and serious battery drain.

Lastly, you can preset features. When you buy an electric car, some of these features are already tuned on for your convenience but they are unnecessary if you are away for a long period of time. Have a look at what features you feel you could turn off and go ahead and do so, this will save more battery power whilst you are away.

Any electric car owner will worry about the battery cells and whether they should have an electric car plugged in all the time whilst there away. But this can actually do more damage to an electric car as you never really want an electric car at 100% charged.

Last Word

We hope this article reassured you that even if you do let your car sit without charging for months, you won’t lose battery charge to any significant degree and some even enter power save mode or something called deep sleep. For most electric cars, it will be minimal and you probably won’t even notice it when you get back into your car. 

There are plenty of ways you can reduce the amount of charge your battery loses whilst having an electric car parked just by taking some appropriate measures. Most electric vehicles or cars are charged around the 50% mark and keep the parked electric car in a shaded spot to reduces the battery being exposed to heat for extended periods.

If you need help or advice regarding other EV or car issues, then feel free to see our guides on EV living which cover a range of questions and help answer some of the most frequently asked questions in the industry. 


Nick is the proud owner of a MG ZS EV and is an EV fanatic. He has been featured in notable publications like USA Today and The Times for his expertise in the field.