General Motors launched its STEM Summer School series of videos for children earlier this year to help keep kids both educated and entertained while stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the latest videos in this ongoing educational series answers a question both children and adults may be curious about: how exactly does the battery in an electric car or crossover recharge?
Even young kids probably know that to recharge an electric car, you have to plug it into an outlet or charging stall. Once it’s plugged in, electricity flows from the outlet or charging stall, through the chord and into the battery. A lithium-ion battery takes in energy when the lithium ions from the positive electrode pass through the battery to the negative electrode, where they are stored. When the battery is discharging (ie. when the vehicle is being driven) the ions pass back through the battery to the positive electrode cell, creating the energy that powers the battery and drives an EV’s wheels.
Most car batteries are measured using a kilowatt-hour measurement, or kWh. A Chevrolet Bolt EV can drive about four miles on each kilowatt-hour stored in the battery and has a 60 kWh battery. That would mean it has a theoretical range of around 240 miles – which was the previous range for the EV, however GM made some efficiency improvements for the 2020 model year and boosted it to an estimated 259 miles. Electric cars also benefit from battery regeneration, as well, which is when the vehicle harvests the kinetic energy of the car as it rolls down the road and stores the power in the battery.
Learn more about electric car charging, batteries and charging stations in the video embedded below.