How Long Can An Electric Car Sit Without Charging?


An electric car can generally sit without charging for several weeks to a few months, depending on factors like battery capacity, temperature, and overall battery health.

If you’re planning to leave the car parked for an extended period, then charging the battery to around 50% is recommended.

But remember that battery discharge rates may vary, with some vehicles experiencing a battery drainage of about 1% over 14 days. So factor this into your mental calculations.

Follow best practices for battery longevity, such as maintaining a state of charge of 20% and 80%, minimizing exposure to extreme temperatures, and allowing the battery to cool down before hooking up to a charging station. 

Following these guidelines can help to extend the battery life and ensure the vehicle remains in optimal condition, even when sitting unused for long periods.

Duration of Time

Short-term Storage

While electric vehicles can be left unused for short periods without significant impact on the battery, it’s still important to maintain a charge level. A charge of around 50% for most electric cars is recommended for short-duration storage.

If an EV is left without charging for more than 14 days, the battery may discharge by as much as one percent. 

To prevent gradual battery loss during short-term storage, make sure the car is charged properly before parking and check the battery level occasionally.

Long-term Storage

For long-term storage periods (we are talking several weeks or months), the 12-volt battery is what’s more likely to give you an issue.

An electric car can sit for months without charging as long as the 12-volt battery is taken care of. As a ballpark figure, you should be able to leave the car parked if you’ve driven for at least eight hours in the past month. 

Any longer, and you’ll want to consider other options, such as a trickle charger.  Maintaining the 12-volt battery’s health is vital for extended storage in all cars, not just battery-electric vehicles. 

When planning long-term storage, ensure the electric vehicle’s battery is charged up to approximately 80%-90%. If the battery charge is less than 3%, don’t let the vehicle sit for more than 21 days.

Regularly checking the battery charge and ensuring it is topped up when needed will help preserve the battery life during long-term storage.

Methods to Preserve Battery Charge

Optimizing Charge Level

One of the key methods for preserving an electric vehicle’s battery charge when not in use is to maintain the battery charge between 20% and 80%. 

Charging the car to 100% should be done only when absolutely necessary, such as for longer trips. This reduces the stress on the battery and helps prolong its life.

Using a Battery Trickle Charger

A battery trickle charger can be a useful tool for maintaining the 12Volt battery’s health when it is not in use. 

By providing a slow, consistent charge to the battery, a trickle charger can help offset any loss in charge due to the vehicle’s auxiliary systems and prevent battery depletion. 

Maintaining an Optimal Storage Environment

Leaving your EV in a hot environment will cause a faster loss of charge. Anything above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be considered hot.

Limiting exposure to extreme temperatures by parking the vehicle in a garage or a temperature-controlled environment can help prevent damage to the battery.

Additionally, allowing the battery to cool down before recharging and minimizing the use of DC fast chargers can further prolong its lifespan.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Ca makers provide their own guidance, so consult your owner manual to find out how long your EV can sit without charging. These recommendations can vary depending on the specific make and model of the EV.

Generally, it’s possible to let an electric vehicle sit for months without charging, provided that the proper precautions are taken. 

For instance, maintaining an ideal battery charge of around 80% can help ensure the battery stays healthy during prolonged periods of inactivity.

When you do return to your car, keep the charge level below 98% when topping up. This is especially crucial if your EV will be parked for longer than two days at very low temperatures (typically below  -13°F). 

Keep in mind that these recommendations can differ among vehicle makes and models; always refer to your owner’s manual for information specific to your EV.

Key Takeaways

So, how long can an electric car sit without charging? Anywhere from several weeks to a few months is fine. But there are some factors that come into play with long-term parking. Let’s recap:

1️⃣ An electric car can generally sit without charging for several weeks to a few months, but this is subject to factors like battery capacity, temperature, and battery health.

2️⃣ If planning to park the car for a prolonged period, it is advisable to charge the battery to around 50%.

3️⃣ Battery discharge rates may vary across vehicles, with some experiencing battery drainage of about 1% over 14 days.

4️⃣ The 12Volt battery requires closer attention than the vehicle’s power pack. So either disconnect the battery terminals or use a trickle charger.