If you’ve ever felt guilty about polluting the air for future generations with your regular car, then you’ll be relieved to know that electric cars may be the answer to your prayers.
But EVs are still novel, and there appear to be many questions we need to answer, including “can you jumpstart an electric car?”
Many of you may be experiencing your first winter with your electric cars, so it’s best to be ready for those chilly mornings when your car refuses to move. If your car battery dies while you’re driving, this manual will tell you exactly what to do.
When and how can you keep from needing a jumpstart for your electric car?
It’s true that you’d eventually figure out how to jumpstart an electric car, but you should know now that it’s not easy. If you’re already pressed for time, it’s a major hassle.
You should familiarize yourself with jump starting an electric vehicle as soon as possible after purchasing one, but you should also study up on ways to avoid battery failure.
Regular maintenance is the only way to keep batteries from developing problems. The health and longevity of your car’s battery can be improved with consistent, low-effort maintenance.
Here are a few suggestions to help you keep your car from needing a jumpstart in the first place:
- When not in use, the cabin lights should be turned off. Keeping them on for extended periods of time can put a significant strain on the battery.
- Turn off the car and remove any USB devices. It is not a good idea to leave them plugged in for an extended period of time.
- Keep an eye out for symptoms of a dying battery, such as a slow starting car, dim or flickering headlights, and an underpowered horn. If you know the warning signs of a dying battery, you can replace it in time and hopefully avoid having to jumpstart your car every time it stalls.
- Maintain a 12-volt battery tester on hand to monitor the health of your battery.
- And lastly, if you come across a stranded driver of an electric vehicle on the road, offer assistance but do not jumpstart their vehicle, as doing so can cause damage to your own. In this situation, calling a tow truck or trying to find a gas car owner for assistance are the better options.
Can You Jumpstart an Electric Car?
Of course, you can jumpstart an electric vehicle. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds, though, so you should read up on the whole procedure.
First of all, you should only use a jumpstart on your electric vehicle if the battery is completely dead and won’t do anything, not even turn on the lights or charge.
If you’ve exhausted all other possibilities and your car still won’t start, jumping it is your only remaining option.
If your car won’t start, it’s because the 12-volt battery has run out of juice. Because an electric vehicle requires not one but two batteries—a 12-volt battery and a 200-volt battery—we felt it necessary to specify the battery type.
Another rule to keep in mind is to never use a jump starter on the main battery of your electric vehicle, as doing so can lead to a short circuit and permanent damage.
The 12-volt battery that powers the electric car’s lights, radio, locks, air conditioner, etc. is identical to the battery found in gasoline cars and can be jumped started in the same way.
This 12-volt battery can be jumpstarted, and your car will be as good as new. Once that’s done, charging the main battery will recharge the 12-volt battery, restoring normal operation.
If that all sounds too complicated, you should know that a dead 12-volt battery is extremely unusual in modern electric vehicles.
Many of the electric car’s features are programmed to turn off at predetermined times, conserving power.
Moreover, a few additional safeguards, such as emergency batteries or allocated batteries, etc., are in place to guarantee that this situation is never encountered.
How to Jumpstart Your Electric Vehicle: A Step-by-Step Instructional Guide
Knowing you can jumpstart your EV motivates you to actually do so. It’s unlikely that an electric car’s batteries will die, but it’s still prudent to be ready for any contingency.
To successfully jumpstart your EV, please refer to the following steps and instructions:
- It is crucial that you disconnect your electric vehicle from the charging outlet before attempting a jumpstart.
- Unplug the electric car from the charging port before attempting a jump start. Failing to do so poses a significant threat to the safety of you and those around your car, as well as to the property and other people on the road.
- If your car needs a jumpstart, you’ll need to find a gasoline-powered vehicle. Injuries can occur in both vehicles when EVs are jumpstarted by one another.
- Place the vehicles side by side, but not touching. In order to avoid strain on the cables while they run to the 12-volt batteries.
- Place both vehicles in park or neutral and turn off all unnecessary electrical components, such as the lights, windshield wipers, air conditioning, etc.
- Join the dead battery’s red (+) terminal to one of the clamps, and the charged battery’s red (+) terminal to the other.
- Join the dead battery’s negative (-) terminal to the black (-) end of the clamps, and the charged battery’s negative (-) end to the other black (-) terminal.
- Avoid shorting the red and black plugs together at all costs.
- It is imperative that the clamps are properly connected to the terminals and that any obstructions are removed. The cables should not be tangled and should be kept clear of any moving parts.
- Then, turn the key in the charged car. Keep in mind that you can simply start the car and let it idle; revving the engine is not necessary. The dead car will begin to receive current, allowing it to be “jumped” and brought back to life.
- Then you can check to see if the electric car is still functional by turning it on. If not, wait a little while longer, and the car should start up.
- At this point, you can safely disconnect the cables without damaging anything by touching the opposite clamps or terminals.
Is it possible to jumpstart a Gasoline Car with an electric vehicle?
As we discussed earlier, only a gasoline-powered vehicle should be used to jump-start another electric vehicle.
But how about the other way around? Is it possible for you to use your electric vehicle to jumpstart a gas-powered vehicle?
Here’s why the answer is an emphatic “no”. Both types of vehicles rely on 12-volt batteries, but in very different ways.
This battery’s primary function is to supply energy to the starter motor of a gasoline-powered vehicle.
In contrast, an electric vehicle’s battery is only used to turn the vehicle on and power onboard features like the interior dome lights, air conditioning, etc. After that point, the battery is rarely used.
An electric car’s 12-volt battery can support all these functions with considerably less energy than a gas car’s starter motor.
In fact, many people broke their wrists trying to turn on the starter motor by hand in the old days because it required so much strength. After some time, a 12-volt battery took its place.
Because of the potential for damage to both vehicles, it is not recommended that the 12-volt battery from an electric vehicle be used to jumpstart a gasoline vehicle. Manuals will tell you not to use your electric vehicle to jumpstart another vehicle, so it’s best to heed that advice.
How Does Cold Weather Impact an Electric Car’s Battery?
It seems that winter is when people are most likely to need a jumpstart for their electric vehicles. What gives? Above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the current produced by car batteries begins to drop significantly.
A car’s battery can die completely if it’s not fully charged and then left in the cold.
Electric vehicle range decreases by 41% in the winter compared to other seasons. When the temperature outside drops below 20 degrees, the interior heaters must be kept on at all times.
Because of this, many people who think they know the range of EVs end up in the middle of nowhere, freezing, because they were caught off guard.
Tips for Keeping Your Electric Car in Working Order During the Cold Season
Driving in icy or snowy conditions can be extremely difficult and risky. This is why it is imperative to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of oneself and one’s loved ones.
However, this isn’t the only difficulty brought on by winter; electric car batteries are also sensitive to the cold.
Most of us have figured out how to winterize our gasoline cars over the years they’ve been on the road.
However, electric cars are still in their infancy, and many of us are experiencing our first winter with eco-friendly vehicles this year.
So, to protect your electric vehicles from the harsh winter weather, consider the following:
- In the colder months, you’ll need to adjust how you charge your electric vehicle. As we discussed before, even when the car is parked at a cool 40 degrees, the battery current begins to dwindle. So, plug in your car to charge at a time when it will be fully charged just before you need to leave.
- Smart drivers know that turning on the heater 30 minutes before they need it saves them the trouble of turning it up all the way, which uses a lot of battery power. This way, your car will be nice and toasty and fully charged when it’s time to leave.
- In the colder months, it’s a good idea to spend time in a warm, dry place like a garage, basement, or even a neighbor’s empty garage. A charge won’t drain as quickly inside a heated space as it would outside, for obvious reasons.
- The eco-mode found in electric vehicles is ideal for the colder months. When set to eco-mode, vehicles reduce energy consumption by turning down the cabin heater and the drive motor. Since the battery’s efficiency has improved, you can now enjoy significantly more time on the road without worrying about running out of juice.
It is prudent to be familiar with the solutions to the minor problems associated with electric cars, just as we are with gasoline vehicles, because their use will soon become commonplace.
With the advice in this article, you won’t have to worry about being left stranded on the side of the road because your EV’s battery died. How about a suggestion on whether or not you can jumpstart an electric vehicle?