Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the future of the car industry, and according to some people, in a few years, you won’t be seeing gasoline cars anymore. EVs will completely replace gasoline cars in just a matter of time.
The reason for this is that EVs offer so many benefits. EVs, give you every advantage you could imagine, from less environmental pollution and fossil fuel use to lower running costs and a better driving experience.
However, there is one concern. Since the vehicles use a battery charged by electricity, what happens if you’re far away from home or any EV charging station and you run out of charge? This is a significant source of anxiety for many people and is one of the main reasons some people have not switched from gasoline cars to EVs yet.
If you find yourself wondering what would happen if your EV runs out of charge or whether or not EVs come with a petrol backup, read ahead to clear up any confusion.
Do Electric Cars Have a Petrol Backup?
If your EV had a petrol backup, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about the car running out of charge because you could easily use the petrol backup to get yourself home or to an EV charging station.
But do electric cars come with the petrol backup? The answer depends on the kind of EV you have. An all-electric car does not come with a petrol backup, whereas a plug-in hybrid electric car does.
An all-electric car has a battery instead of a gasoline tank and an electric motor replacing an internal combustion engine. A large traction battery pack powers the electric motor and has to be plugged into a wall outlet or any other electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).
The all-electric car has no exhaust tailpipe or any liquid fuel components such as a fuel pump or fuel tank. The car runs exclusively on its electric battery and stops working when the charging runs out.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Car
A plug-in hybrid electric car, on the other hand, combines the mechanisms of both a gasoline car and an electric car so that it has a functioning gasoline tank and internal combustion engine, as well as a battery and an electric motor.
This means that the plug-in hybrid electric car uses both electricity and gasoline as its fuel source.
The plug-in hybrid electric car has both a traction battery pack as well as a fuel tank. The battery is charged using a wall outlet or any other EVSE. Once the battery’s electric power runs out, the car automatically uses the internal combustion engine.
This means that the vehicle will not shut off when the charging runs out and continue running on the petrol backup.
What Happens If Your EV Runs Out of Charge?
If you are driving an all-electric car and it runs out of charge while you’re using it, what happens is quite simple: the car stops working.
If you overestimate the battery’s life, you may become stranded somewhere in your car away from home or an EV charging station.
Unless you have a plug-in hybrid electric car, you cannot rely on the petrol backup or ask somebody to bring you an extra can of gasoline to put into the car.
Many people have trouble switching from a gasoline car to an electric vehicle because of range anxiety. Range anxiety is when somebody worries that they may run out of charge before reaching their destination or a charging station.
However, this anxiety usually goes away the more you start driving your car and understanding just how much power your battery can give you.
Additionally, more and more EV charging stations are being set up across the country, which is another reason for reduced range anxiety.
Does an EV Run Out of Charge Without Warning?
Your EV will not just run out of charge without any warning and leave you unexpectedly stranded somewhere. Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs you might see and how you can keep track of your battery.
One way to keep track of your battery is by keeping a close eye on the battery icon near the speedometer.
The battery icon turns three different colors to give you an idea of how much charge your battery has remaining. If the icon is green, it means you are good to go.
Yellow means that the battery is running low, but you have nothing to worry about yet and should head to a charging station whenever you can. When the battery icon turns red, this indicates that your car is using the last of its charge and is about to run out.
Depending on the company of the electric car, you can get additional warnings that your battery is low.
For example, a Tesla electric car will start to suggest nearby EV charging stations that you can stop at when your battery starts to get low. It will also inform you if you are further away from the nearest charging station. With these constant reminders and warnings, you likely won’t run out of charge entirely.
Additionally, some EVs have what is called a buffer. This is an extra 10 to 20 miles that your car will drive even after your range has reached zero. This means that the electric car won’t just die and that you can use these 10 miles to get to a charging station.
Of course, you should keep in mind that the buffer miles are only for emergencies, and you should not allow your car to reach its zero range if you can avoid it.
In the case of a Tesla, once the buffer is about to run out, the car will start to slow down and give you a warning that it will stop driving soon.
This slowing down allows you to pull off the car to the side of the road and safely get out of traffic. At this point, your car is completely out of charge and will shut down.
Having a good idea of your electric car’s total range will allow you to drive confidently without any range anxiety. Depending on which kind of electric car you have, it will drive for a certain number of miles on a full battery.
Knowing this number will allow you to keep a better track of your battery. The shortest range that an EV can drive on a single charge is approximately 85 miles, and the most extended range is about 400 miles.
Currently, Tesla has the longest range of 405 miles with its latest Model S Long Range Plus EV. Mercedes, Ford, Jaguar, and Porsche EVs are all competing to match Tesla’s range.
Here is What to Do If your EV Runs Out of Charge
Suppose that you miss all of your battery warning signs and have even used up your battery’s buffer.
Now your car will shut off, and you will end up stranded at the side of the road. What are you meant to do in such a situation? You have two options. Let’s take a better look at these options.
Call Roadside Assistance
The first thing you could do is call roadside assistance. Roadside assistance is a huge help to drivers all over the country and can usually reach you in an emergency in about 15 to 20 minutes. There are a few ways roadside assistance could help you when your electric car has run out of charge.
First, if you are driving a plug-in hybrid electric car, roadside assistance can bring you a can of gasoline so that you can fill your fuel tank and go to either your destination, an EV charging station, or just the regular gas station.
The other way in which roadside assistance can help you is if you inform them that you are driving an electric car and ask them if they have a portable charger that they can bring you.
A portable charger is the EV equivalent of an emergency can of gasoline. A portable charger can be used to charge your battery enough that you can drive your electric car between 20 to 40 miles. This is usually enough mileage to get you to the nearest charging station or your home.
Get Your Car Towed
The other option that you have when your electric car shuts off is to get it towed to the nearest EV charging station or your home if you prefer charging it there. However, you should remember that it is not easy to tow an electric vehicle as a regular gasoline car.
When you call the tow company, be sure to inform them that you have an electric car and ask them if they have a flatbed. A flatbed is the best way to tow an EV compared to rope or other methods.
Towing an EV with rope can cause damage to the electrical components like the traction motors responsible for regenerative braking.
Towing an EV requires a lot of precision and care. A towing company specifically for towing EVs will have a special zero-degree bed that can holster an EV without damaging its traction motors or any other electronic components.
Most EVs are also built lower towards the ground than regular gasoline cars, so the underside of the EV can get damaged while towing.
This is another reason why a flatbed or a zero-degree bed is essential. If you do end up getting your car towed, try to call a company that is experienced with EVs.
Certain company’s EVs are also easier to tow than others. For example, the Nissan Leaf can be towed like a regular gasoline vehicle using rope or a lift. This can be done by lifting the front wheels so that the traction motors are safe and do not scrape against the road in the towing process.
This means that there would be no need for a special flatbed. However, this is only specific to the Nissan Leaf. It would be a good idea to request a flatbed to stay on the safe side and avoid any damage to your car.
Related electric car articles:
- How Much Does an Electric Car Weigh?
- Should I Buy a Used Electric Car?
- How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Car to Electric
- Why you should not buy an electric car
- How Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Works
Our Final Thoughts
If you have been suffering from range anxiety and it has been stopping you from either making the switch from your gasoline car to an electric car or preventing you from driving your electric car comfortably, we hope this proves to be a read for you!
Yes, your EV might run out of charge and leave you stuck on the side of the road. However, there are many warning signs before this happens, and if you keep an eye on the battery icon, you will likely remember to charge your EV on time.
Additionally, if you are in the market for a new EV, consider buying a plug-in hybrid electric car as a transition from your gasoline car to an all-electric car. This will give you a petrol backup so that you can drive confidently and reduce your range anxiety.
An EV has too many benefits you can’t ignore; even if you do run out of charge, rest assured that it’s not something that will happen too often, and if it ever does happen, roadside assistance has you covered.
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.