March 28, 2023

Attention to those who carry their cell phone in the car: be careful or keep your car parked (driver to avoid damage)

What you need to know to take care of your phone battery and also to keep your car from ever stalling

It is a behavior adopted by many people on a daily basis and much has been said about its possible counterparts. However, despite the fact that the question is no longer new, it is still difficult to answer with a simple and definitive “yes” or “no”.

For the ACP (Automóvel Club de Portugal), there are certain considerations to be taken into account regarding the mobile phone battery, regardless of whether we are talking about charging through a late model car with USB and/or induction chargers (wireless) or in an older car, charging with a cigarette lighter.

According to the foundation, it may be the so-called battery charge life cycles, i.e. how many times a mobile phone battery can be recharged before it starts to degrade, as this number is finite by default.

Something potentially dangerous about charging batteries involves temperature, but that, ACP says, might be the wrong question. It is true that temperature affects the speed and charging time of a cell phone battery. In the case of a lithium-ion battery, it should not be charged outside the range between -10º and 40º Celsius. However, the foundation points out that “all cars are currently air-conditioned.”

Even so, ACP warns that if the cell phone’s battery temperature is above normal, the user should not plug in the charger, as this could cause it to overcharge or even, at the limit, ‘explode’ the cell phone battery’.

On the other hand, another aspect that should also be considered is charging with non-genuine cables, as this could “gas” the battery’s charging capacity. This, in turn, can lead to partial charges, thereby reducing battery life. Finally, ACP also warns that if you leave your mobile phone plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter to charge but with the engine off, you run the risk of draining the vehicle’s battery and not being able to restart it.

The inefficiency of wireless charging – and the impact on your car battery

In the case of cars with the option of wireless phone charging, this can be a more convenient solution – but it’s not without nuances. In wireless charging, more energy is required to fully charge the mobile phone, resulting in higher temperature and more wear on the car battery.

According to data from OneZero and iFixit, wireless charging is less efficient than wired charging, and although this solution saves wear and tear on the mobile phone’s charging ports, some of the transferred energy is lost in the process in the form of heat. On average, wireless charging requires 47% more energy compared to traditional charging, and this discrepancy increases significantly if the mobile phone is not properly aligned.

According to the study, a difference of millimeters in its position smartphones it might be enough for it not to load through at all wireless. In cases where charging is possible even if the equipment is not aligned with the base, power consumption can be up to 80% higher.

In addition, the charging docks tested in the study recorded a small but continuous power consumption when no equipment was being charged. The study points out that this particular consumption can be neglected, but, after several hours, it can represent a more significant burden.

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