Can You Charge an Electric Car with a Generator?

Owning an electric car during the current times of high fossil fuel prices is a luxury like no other. You can travel around town, visit a new city, or go on a relaxing drive without worrying about high running costs.

However, you need to be attentive and well-aware of the state of your electric car’s battery charge. This is especially important when traveling to a remote area with few public charging stations.

Hence, always try to leave your home with a fully recharged electric car battery, even if your only charging source is an electric generator.

Can You Charge an Electric Car with a Generator?

Like other electronic devices, an electric car comes with a lithium-ion battery that needs to be recharged to perform well.

Most electric cars, such as Tesla, come with their own at-home recharging kits that the car owner can use to charge their electric cars.

These kits come with an adaptor and a connective plug. One end needs to be connected to a power source while the other is plugged into the car to recharge its battery.

Moreover, suppose you are fortunate enough to live in a country like the United States of America, China, Japan, Germany, etc., where the roads are heavily populated by electric vehicles.

In that case, you can quickly locate a public fast DC charging station to recharge your car wherever you are. While you’re charging up, you can sit in your car and play games or watch Netflix.

However, if you live in a place with very few public EV charging stations, or if the at-home charging system is not working, you still have a couple of other backup options to recharge your electric car’s battery.

One such option is plugging the charging cord into an electric generator and charging your car’s battery with the generator’s electricity.

However, not all electric generators are capable enough to recharge the massive battery pack of an electric car.

Instead, you need a powerful enough generator that will have the power to sufficiently recharge your electric vehicle.

Continue reading the article to learn how to recharge your electric car’s lithium-ion battery using a generator and the pros and cons of doing so.

Moreover, the article also sheds light on the other ways you can recharge your electric car’s battery, along with highlighting tips for using your electric car’s battery charging optimally.

Let’s get started!

How to Recharge Your Electric Car’s Battery Using a Generator?

Many people have generators in their houses to backup when the main electricity supply fluctuates. This is especially common in countries where electricity shortages are common.

These generators are usually large and powerful and can hence help serve as an excellent backup for charging an electric car when no other option is available.

However, if you have a small portable generator that offers roughly 10 kilowatts of electric power, using it to recharge the electric car will be useless.

Instead, the generator will barely charge the battery enough for you to travel to a public DC charging station if there is one nearby.

Hence, if you live in a region of frequent power fluctuations or if the nearest public charging station is too far, keeping a backup generator at home will be a great idea that can be extremely helpful in situations of dire need.

Moreover, you can also use the standby backup generator to power the primary circuits of your home when there is an electricity fluctuation.

Furthermore, you need to be aware that electric car lithium-ion batteries are super sensitive electric components. They cannot withstand extreme temperatures and should be kept safe from sudden impacts.

Connecting your lithium-ion to a faulty generator that can allow a surge of high electric current to flow to the car’s battery can be very dangerous and result in a costly affair.

Excess amounts of electric current passing through the battery’s cells can fry and permanently damage the sensitive parts of the battery.

Moreover, many electric cars, such as Tesla, can only be connected to specific power generators. Connecting the Tesla EV to any other generator can damage the battery’s various parts.

Since an electric car’s battery is one of its most expensive components, a damaged or fried battery will result in costly repair and replacement costs.

Usually, people who have permanently damaged their electric car lithium-ion batteries do not pay for the expensive battery replacements and instead switch back to their old fossil-fuel-powered vehicles or costly public transport.

Hence, to make sure you have the option to charge your electric car no matter where you are so that you do not have to revert to fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, invest in a powerful backup generator and keep it on standby for emergencies.

Can You Charge an Electric Car with a Generator
Can You Charge an Electric Car with a Generator

Read Can You Recycle Electric Car Batteries?

Pros and Cons of Charging an Electric Car Using a Generator

Not everyone keeps a backup generator to charge their electric cars. This is especially uncommon in the USA, where power fluctuations are rare, and the number of public charging stations keeps on growing.

However, you can always benefit from investing in a standby electric generator to charge an electric car.

Some of these benefits are as follows:

  • Charging an electric car using an electric generator takes much less time than charging it with a level 1 at-home charger.
    • At times, charging the electric car using a level 1 charger for a few hours barely gives the car any range.
    • However, a generator will take much less time to fully charge an electric car’s battery. This is especially preferable when the person does not have the entire night to wait for their car to recharge.
  • A powerful backup electric generator can be luxury like no other if you live in a region of frequent power fluctuations.
    • It will allow you to leave your home with a fully recharged battery to enjoy a high range, high top speeds, and travel without experiencing range anxiety.
  • Investing in a powerful electric generator is not only beneficial for charging your electric car. Instead, you can also use it to power the primary circuits of your home when you have no or low electric power.
  • Most high-quality generators are an excellent long-term investment and can continue to offer their benefits for over a decade.
  • Even if the generator begins to show signs of damage or breakage, repairs and component replacements are not as expensive.
  • Moreover, a single generator can be used to charge an average-sized electric sedan multiple times.
    • Hence even if your generator is being used to power the house occasionally, you can still use it to charge an electric car at times of need.

However, just like any other electrical device, the electric generator also has certain limitations that can create a problem when you need to use it to charge an electric car.

Hence, some of the potential cons of charging an electric car using a generator are as follows:

  • First of all, an electric generator is no small investment. As a matter of fact, a generator that is powerful enough to charge an electric car will cost you anything between 10,000 USD to 15,000 USD.
  • Moreover, the cost does not end there. You will have to reinvest fossil fuel to keep the generator running constantly.
    • Hence, even though you own an electric car to protect the environment against harmful emissions, your repetitive purchase of petrol will again be problematic.
    • It will increase the global dependency on fossil fuel reserves, resulting in more harmful emissions, and increase your carbon footprint.
  • Not all generators are designed to charge the delicate lithium-ion battery of an electric car. Hence, your car’s battery might get damaged if you use a low-quality or faulty generator.
    • This will result in costly battery repair and replacement costs, which might eventually discourage you from using electric vehicles in the future.

Read How Do Electric Car Batteries Work?

What Are Other ways of Charging an Electric Car’s Battery?

Automobile engineers worldwide are constantly making efforts to make electric cars as convenient and user-friendly as possible.

Hence, they have come up with multiple ways to recharge an electric car’s lithium-ion battery in a safe and non-damaging way.

If you can’t use a generator to charge your electric car, you have other options at your disposal. These might not be as fast as a Supercharger, but they’re reliable.

Some of the most common and safest ways of charging an electric car are as follows:

Using a Level 1 Charger

The level 1 charger is the most common type of electric car charger that comes with purchasing every car.

This charger is a charging cord and an adaptor that can be connected to any power source and can be plugged into an electric car to charge its battery.

This is the least powerful charging option that allows 120 Volts of electricity to pass. As a result, it takes almost 8 to 10 hours to charge an average-sized electric sedan fully.

However, according to electric vehicle specialists, charging an EV using this charger is the safest and most preferred way to maintain high battery life and long range.

Using a Level 2 Charger

Some electric cars also come with a level 2 charger that needs to be professionally installed at the owner’s house.

These chargers are more powerful than the level 1 charger and allow 240 Volts of electric current to pass through. As a result, an average-sized sedan can be fully charged in 5 to 8 hours.

Using a Public Fast DC Charging Station

The Public Fast DC Charging Station is the most powerful EV charging option that allows almost 480 to 520 Volts of electricity to pass through.

These charging stations are used for on-the-go charging and are usually used by travelers. Although this charging option is more expensive than any other option, it allows an electric car’s battery to be fully charged within 30 to 45 minutes.

However, electric car specialists discourage frequent Public Fast DC Charging Stations as their high voltage can reduce the battery’s charge storing capacity, range, and expected lifespan.

Using Solar Power Grids

Another option for charging an electric year that is getting more popular every year is charging the electric car using solar power grids.

Although installing solar panels is costly, the meager recharging costs eventually make up for the considerable investment.

When you use solar power, you’re not as dependent on the grid to provide you with power. As such, spend less money on your electricity costs. This improves over time until you have paid off the initial costs of installing your solar system.

However, this way of recharging an electric car is dependent on the weather and the cloud cover. If the weather stays cloudy for too long, the solar panels will not be able to trap any sunlight, and hence a person will not be able to charge an electric car this way.

Read Are Electric Cars Better for Environment

Final Thoughts

If you want to play your part in this world and wish to reduce your carbon footprint, you need to invest in a great electric car charging system so that you feel encouraged to use your EV as frequently as possible.

Although investing in a high-power electric generator is costly, the backup it offers, especially when you have no other way to recharge your car, is fantastic.

All you need to ensure is that the generator you buy is of the proper quality so that it does not damage the electric lithium-ion battery’s sensitive components.

If you have a solar system in your home, you can use that to charge your electric car instead of having to use a generator. You’re always collecting solar power on sunny days, so you can put that power to good use.

Moreover, some tips for using your EV battery’s charging optimally are as follows:

  • Refrain from constantly driving at high speeds.
  • Refrain from making short trips and hit the brakes only when necessary.
  • Refrain from carrying heavy weights on your electric car, such as multiple mountain bikes.
  • Try to maintain your electric car battery’s charging between 20 to 90%.
  • Refrain from deliberately driving on steep and arduous terrains.
  • Never drive or accelerate on poorly inflated or worn-out tires.

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