Electric cars seem to have answered the prayers of all those who felt bad for ruining the environment in their regular cars, leaving behind a whole lot of smog, carbon monoxide, and other toxins for the next generation to breathe.
However, EVs are still a novelty, and there seem to be lots of questions we need to be answered, one of them being “can you jumpstart an electric car.”
For many of you, this might be the first-ever winter with your electric cars, and it’s better to be prepared for those cold mornings when your car refuses to budge. This guide will make sure you know exactly what to do when your car battery dies.
How to Avoid the Need to Jumpstart an Electric Car in The First Place?
While you’d learn all about jumpstarting an electric car soon enough, there’s one thing you must know beforehand; it’s complicated. It is also a major inconvenience if you are in a time crunch.
Make sure you learn to jumpstart an electric car the second you get one, but at the same time, learn how to prevent dead batteries in the first place.
The only way to avoid problematic batteries is through upkeep. Taking small measures regularly will make your car battery last longer and stay healthier.
Here are some things you can do to avoid the need for jumpstarting the car in the first place:
- Turn off the interior cabin lights when they are not needed. Leaving them turned on can have major stress on the battery
- Unplug your USBs from the car when not using them. Do not leave them plugged on indefinitely.
- Pay attention to the telltale signs of a drying battery, such as the car taking a long time to come to life, flickering and dim headlights, and weak-sounding car horns. Recognizing the signs of a dying battery will help you buy a new one just in time and hopefully avoid the need to jumpstart every time your car stops.
- Keep a 12-volt battery tester, so you stay updated on the status of your battery’s condition.
- And lastly, if you meet a stranded electric car owner on the road, offer to help but do not jumpstart their car as it can damage your own. The smarter thing to do here is to call a tow truck or to seek help from a gas car owner.
With these hacks, you just might never need to jumpstart an electric car, which brings us to our next question.
Can You Jumpstart an Electric Car?
Indeed, you can jumpstart an electric car. However, it is not as simple as it sounds and you might want to familiarize yourself with the entire process completely.
First things first, you should only resort to jumpstarting your electric car when the battery is entirely dead and wouldn’t even turn the lights on or respond to charging.
When the option to charge your car is no longer available, and the car won’t start after you’ve tried everything, then there’s nothing else you can do but jumpstart the battery.
A dead car such as this is a sign that your 12-volt battery has completely depleted. We mentioned the specific battery type because an electric car has at least two batteries, a 12-volt battery, and a 200-volt battery.
And that’s another important rule to remember: never jumpstart the 200+ volt battery in your electric car because it can end up short-circuiting and causing some permanent damage to the main battery.
However, you can jumpstart the 12-volt battery in your electric car, as it is the same battery you find in gasoline cars and powers the lights, radio, locks, air conditioner, etc.
After jumpstarting this 12-volt battery, your car will be back to its functioning self. After that, you can charge the main battery, which will, in turn, charge the 12-volt battery, and everything will be back to normal.
If all that sounds complicated to you, then you’re in luck because it’s very rare for a 12-volt battery to die in electric cars today.
Most of the functions of the electric car are timed to power off automatically, which prevents the battery from running low.
Additionally, there are a couple more failsafe to make sure such a situation never occurs, such as emergency batteries or allocated batteries, etc.
Step by Step Guide to Jumpstarting an Electric Car
Now that you know you can jumpstart your EV, it’s time you learn how. While the chances of dead batteries in an electric car are very slim, it’s smarter to be prepared for all situations.
Follow these steps and instructions on how to jumpstart your EV, the right way:
- We cannot stress enough how important it is to unplug your electric car from the charging outlet before jumpstarting your car. We repeat, unplug from the charging port before jumpstarting your electric car. Not doing so is a serious hazard and can damage your car, the property, and cause injury to people closest to the car, yourself included.
- Find a gasoline-run car to jumpstart your car. EV to EV jumpstarting can cause damage to both.
- Make sure both the cars are positioned closely, but not touching. So that the cables can reach the 12-volt batteries without any tension.
- Put both the cars in the park/neutral and turn off everything such as interior lights, windshield wipers, AC, and anything that will bleed the battery.
- Connect the red (+) side of the clamps to the red (+) terminal on the dead battery, and the other red (+) side of the clamps to the red (+) terminal on the charged battery.
- Connect the black (-) end of the clamps to the black (-) terminal on the dead battery and the other black (-) end of the clamps to the black (-) terminal on the charged battery.
- Take care not to let the red and black connectors touch at any time.
- Make sure the clamps are securely attached to their respective terminals and everything else is out of the way. The cables should be cleared off of any parts and mustn’t be tangled.
- Next, start the charged car. Note, you do not need to rev the engine, just start the car, and leave it idling. This will start providing current to the dead car, jumping, and reviving it.
- You can then turn on the dead electric car and see if it’s running. If it’s not, give it some more time, until the car starts running.
- When all is set, disconnect the cables, careful not to let the opposite clamps and terminals touch.
Can you Jumpstart a Gasoline Car Using an Electric Car?
We mentioned earlier how an electric car shouldn’t be used to jump-start another electric car, and only a gasoline car should be used for the purpose.
However, what about vice versa? Can you help a gasoline car get up and running with the help of your electric car?
The answer is a resounding “no” and here’s why. While both kinds of cars use a 12-volt battery, they both use it very differently.
A gasoline car has a heavy use for this battery and is used to power the starter motor.
On the other end, an electric car only uses the battery for powering onboard functions such as the interior dome lights, AC, etc., and to switch on the car. The battery isn’t used much after that.
All these functions in an electric car powered through a 12-volt battery take significantly less juice than for powering the starter motor in a gasoline car.
In fact, in the old days, turning on the starter motor would require physically cranking it, and that would take so much strength that many people would break their wrists in trying to do so. In later years, it was replaced by a 12-volt battery.
If an electric car’s 12-volt battery is used to jumpstart a gasoline car, it might end up damaging the batteries and voiding warranties. It is explicitly mentioned in the car’s manuals to not jumpstart another car using your electric car, and we suggest you follow the instructions.
How Does Winters Affect the Battery of an Electric Car?
The need to jumpstart your electric cars seems to be most common during the winters. Why is that? When the temperature drops past 40°, the car batteries produce less current.
On top of that, if the car’s battery isn’t sufficiently charged and left in the cold weather, it can entirely deplete the charge.
Winters also drops the range of electric cars and it lasts 41% less than it normally would in any other weather. This is especially true when the temperature is below 20°, in which case, the heaters inside the car are turned on at all times.
For those caught unawares will often find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the cold because they thought they knew the range of the EVs.
Some Useful Tips to Maintain Your Electric Car in the Chilling Winters
Snowy and iced regions make maneuvering vehicles a tricky and dangerous job. This is why one should take every measure to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
This isn’t the only challenge brought on by the winters; in fact, the cold weather also impacts the batteries of electric cars.
Gasoline cars have been around for some time, and most of us have learned how to make them winter-ready.
However, electric cars are still relatively new, and for many of us, this is our first ever winter with environmental-friendly cars.
Hence, here are some useful tips to maintain your EVs during the winters and keep them safe from the chilly impact:
- You need to plan your electric car’s charging differently in the winters. As we said, batteries deplete in current when the car is just sitting under 40°. For that reason, plug your car for charging at a time that it completes charging right before you have to leave.
- An extremely smart hack to avoid cranking up the heater all the way and depleting a good amount of the battery charge is to turn it on 30 minutes in advance, while the car is still charging. This way, when it’s time to go, your car is already warm and toasty and the charge is still full.
- If you have a garage, any decent covered area, or a neighbor’s empty garage, use it in winter. The warmth offered by a covered area will prevent the charge from depleting as rapidly as it would outside.
- Electric cars come with an eco-mode, and winters are the perfect time to use them. The cars consume less energy on the eco-mode by limiting the supply to the cabin heaters and the drive motor. This way, you can spend much more time on the road without worrying about depleting your charge and enjoy the increased efficiency of the battery.
Related electric car articles:
- How to Wash an Electric Car
- Best Electric Car Vacuum Cleaners
- How to travel in electric cars
- Are Electric Cars Good for Road Trips and Highway Driving?
- Best Portable Electric Car Heaters
- How Much Does an Electric Car Weigh?
Electric cars will soon become widespread, so it’s only wise to know the tips and tricks to deal with its minor issues, just like we know it all about gasoline cars.
The information given in this article will help ensure that you don’t get stranded on a road just because your EV ran out of battery. Got an idea on Can You Jumpstart an Electric Car?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.