Batteries 101: EV vs ICE

March 22nd, 2024 by

A mechanic is shown performing a car battery replacement near Hamilton.

When it comes to car battery replacement near Hamilton, no one is more well-versed than McCluskey Chevrolet, be it the battery of a gas-powered or electric vehicle. EVs are gaining popularity as more options are emerging from trusted automakers, and the fight to clean up our planet continues. So, what does that mean when it comes to battery replacement? Aren’t all batteries virtually the same?

Well, you’ll find that the batteries used in electric vehicles differ greatly from the batteries used to power vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). From how they power your vehicle on I-75 to how they impact the environment, there’s much to learn when it comes to these two battery types. So, what are the differences between EV batteries and ICE batteries? Let’s dive right in and find out…

Battery Voltage & Lifespan

On average, a 12-volt battery can be found beneath the hood of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. This battery isn’t solely responsible for powering your vehicle, like an EV battery is, which we’ll discuss in detail next. A typical ICE battery can last anywhere from 3-5 years, depending on how often the vehicle is driven and the daily driving habits of the owner. It’s recommended to drive your vehicle regularly so that the battery regularly generates charge; this way, you won’t wind up with a dead battery due to lack of use.

Like an ICE vehicle, EVs also include a 12-volt battery, but that’s not the only battery that resides inside. This 12-volt battery does one job, while a much larger battery pack does another. Typically, you can find batteries ranging from 400 to 800 volts in an EV because these batteries have a big role to play. The average lifespan of an EV battery is much longer than an ICE battery, lasting anywhere from 10-20 years, depending on your driving habits.

Powering the Vehicle

Many drivers are accustomed to ICE vehicles, so let’s start there. The 12-volt battery that’s in a gas-powered vehicle is a main component of the starting system, synching up with the ignition switch and roaring the motor to life. It also acts as a surge protector for the various electrical components of your vehicle, like the lights, stereo, navigation, and more. When you notice that your lights are dimmer than usual or your engine is sputtering to life, your battery may be the one to blame.

EVs, however, rely solely on battery power to operate. There’s no engine beneath the hood; in many cases, there’s a storage compartment—or “frunk,” as many automakers like to say. A 12-volt battery powers the electrical components, much like in an ICE vehicle, and the larger 400-volt battery pack powers the vehicle itself, making the wheels turn so that you’re able to jet off to all of the places you need to go.

Energy Consumption

EV batteries do a lot as you’re making your way to the Oxford Farmers Market to pick up some fresh produce. Not only does powering your vehicle take an exorbitant amount of energy, sending tremendous power to the electric motor, but keeping it at the proper temperature contributes to much of its overall energy consumption as well. This means keeping it cool during the steamy summer months and warm during frigid winter days. This, in turn, will cause your EV’s range to suffer, which needs to be something to keep in mind when driving such a vehicle.

With an ICE battery, the major culprits of energy consumption are starting your vehicle and acting as a surge protector for the electrical parts. This is a lot less than the battery packs in an EV are responsible for, which is why EV battery packs are so much larger and more powerful than ICE batteries. In a gas-powered vehicle, there are many more key players in the operation of your vehicle, unlike an EV, which relies solely on battery power—that is, unless it’s a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid, which pairs an internal combustion engine with an electric motor.

A white electric car is shown charging.

Cold Weather Performance

During the winter months, car batteries of all types suffer. Cold weather depletes batteries of their energy reserves at a rapid rate, which makes it imperative that you keep them charged regularly. This means driving your vehicle frequently—even if just around the block—and, if you own an EV, making sure that your battery pack stays charged up; this means regularly plugging it into a charger when you get home after work.

EVs succumb to cold weather more so than gas-powered vehicles since they rely so heavily on battery power. This results in them losing range potential, which can cause issues for those who frequently travel to Cincinnati or take business trips to Columbus. Fortunately, many newer EVs offer a heat pump to help warm up the battery pack so that you won’t have to worry about decreased performance.

Emissions Ratings

Of course, it’s well-known that EVs provide a cleaner ride with zero tailpipe emissions, so their batteries make no pollutants. ICE batteries, however, will emit harmful pollutants into the environment to some degree, but this varies greatly depending on the vehicle you’re driving. Many newer vehicles are known for their low emissions, which helps when it comes to preserving the quality of our environment.

It’s been proposed that EV batteries end up being detrimental to our environment due to the amount of mining it takes to collect the minerals required for them, as well as the disposal of these batteries once they’re no longer useful. Although there’s still much to learn about the topic, it’s believed that this isn’t the case, and the positive impact they make on the environment with no greenhouse gas emissions is enough to continue with the EV revolution.

Maintenance Requirements

You may think that an EV battery would require more maintenance than an ICE battery, but it’s actually the other way around. EV batteries are designed to last a decade or more, so EVs tend to have lower maintenance costs and fewer visits to the service center. ICE batteries will need to be replaced every five years or less—and, of course, there are many more moving parts inside a gas-powered vehicle that will need to be serviced frequently as well.

A mechanic is shown attaching jumper cables to a car battery.

EV Batteries vs ICE Batteries

The vehicle you choose depends on your unique driving needs. You may be on the fence about trusting your journey to an EV, concerned about range capabilities and the overall ride, or you may be ready to take action and reduce carbon emissions in our area. EV batteries and ICE batteries differ quite a lot, but they also have a lot in common; they are both used to help us move forward with certainty, powering the components of our vehicles so that we may travel efficiently and successfully.

If you have any questions about car batteries, let the pros at McCluskey Chevrolet help. We’re proud to serve Butler County residents with all of their vehicle needs. Remember, when it comes to how you travel, your battery plays a key role in your experience on the road, so keeping up with battery maintenance—whether you’re driving an EV or a gas-powered vehicle—is essential to enjoying your ride to the fullest.