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What Happens When You Cannot Charge Your Electric Vehicle?

Funny sunny outdoor daytime color photo of young white man pushing an electric white SUV out of battery charge.

Electric vehicles are relatively environmentally friendly, but it’s also becoming convenient as you can charge your car using a regular power outlet at home or your office. The number of charging stations across the country is growing. However, sometimes you may not encounter a charging station for miles; what happens if your car runs out of charge?

What happens when you cannot charge your electric vehicle, your battery is low, and you are not near a charging station? Your electric car will stop moving. If your EV’s energy is low, monitor your battery power gauge so you can drive to a charging station or at least get it out of the way. If your vehicle runs out of battery, call a tow truck.

In this article, we will explain how electric cars can run out of battery charge and what to do if you find yourself in that situation. We will give you some helpful tips on how to avoid running out of charge, so read on to learn more!

Do Electric Cars Run Out of Charge?

Electric cars can run out of charge if you don’t monitor the power, but in most instances, you are unlikely to run out of charge in your electric vehicle. This is because you receive several warnings before your batteries run out to give you time to find a charging station.

Electric cars differ from gas cars in several significant ways, but they have one thing in common: when they run out of fuel or electricity, they simply stop working. An electric car can run out of charge if its battery is at its critical levels and you can’t charge it.

However, unlike running out of gas, running out of charge in an EV is much more unlikely. Different car features help you avoid running out, but another important factor that helps you avoid this situation is that nowadays, there are many more charging stations in large metropolitan areas.

Electric Vehicle Precautions 

A color daytime photo of a Kia EV6 electric car interior dash and battery mileage tracker power gauge indicated by the red arrow.
Electric car interior dash and batteries mileage tracker power gauge shown by the red arrow.

It’s uncommon for electric cars to run out of battery charge because their technology ensures that you are constantly aware of the situation and can take measures to charge your battery as soon as possible.

There are of course stories and circumstances where this has not been the case and people have run out of power in their electric vehicles. Here is some helpful information on what most electric vehicle do before running out of electrical charge.

Here’s What Most Electric Cars Will do Before Running Out of Charge

  • You will be warned that the battery is low in several stages; you might get a warning below 20% and another at 5%.
  • Even when your battery goes to 0%, the reserve battery will be used, offering a few extra miles.
  • If you can’t find a charger even after these few miles, your car may slow down but keep moving at a low speed, only using the basic functions for another few hundred feet. This is the turtle mode, so you may see a turtle icon on your screen.
  • At every stage, it will constantly notify you of the battery condition; the warning system gives you hours before the battery and the battery receiver runs out.
  • Realistically, you will find a charging station way before your car needs to stop because there is no power left.
  • When your car stops, the secondary battery will start working; this battery can’t make your car move, but it will ensure your hazard lights stay on while you wait.

Does Running Out of Charge Damage an EV Car Battery?

Cutaway closeup color photo of an electric car lithium battery pack and power connections.
Electric car lithium battery pack and power connections.

If you dismiss all the signs and are far from the nearest charging station, your electric vehicle will stop moving at some point. When your car stops moving, it means that there is no power left in your car, and the only battery working is the 12 Volt battery that powers your emergency lights.

For most devices, it’s often recommended to charge them frequently to avoid running completely out of battery. The battery for laptops, for instance, goes into a deep discharge state when it runs out, which means that some chemical reactions inside change, damaging the battery.

However, you won’t have to worry about harmful chemical reactions in your car battery. When your car battery runs out, it stops supplying power to your vehicle but stays unharmed by chemical reactions. 

In this case, you must recharge the battery, and everything will return to normal.

Please see some of our other interesting articles on Electric Vehicles like “Electric Car Chargers Level 1, 2, & DC Fast” and “Why The U.S. Power Grid Isn’t Ready For Electric Cars.”

What To Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge

Color daytime photo a tow truck driver in lime green safety clothes hoisting a Tesla electric car behind his tow truck.
Towing a Tesla electric car.

Now that the main worries are out of the way, you need to know what exactly to do when you find yourself stuck in the middle of the road with no charge. Ideally, you have managed to get out of a busy intersection and can take time to assess your situation and calmly consider the next step.

Always try to park your vehicle in as safe a location as possible in any situation. Try to park off of any main road or intersection and on the roads shoulder if possible.

Before you call for help, you can attempt to revive your engine to drive a couple more miles if you have a charging station nearby. Sometimes, if you turn your vehicle off and on again, you may be able to drive in turtle mode for a little longer. 

You may also see if you have your portable charger with you, although you should ideally consider this step before your vehicle runs out of power.

In most cases, the best next step is to call roadside assistance. When you make the call, emphasize that you’re driving an electric vehicle.

Although some roadside assistance trucks may carry portable chargers, others are only prepared to help regular gas cars. Roadside assistance can retrieve chargers once you specify the car type.

If roadside assistance cannot help you with a portable charger, you may need to get your car towed. Electric car towing presents a new set of challenges because the wheels generate power as they turn, which means that they can cause overheating and potential fires. You must ensure the wheels are not moving while your car is getting towed.

Can You Jump Start Your Electric Car?

You can jump-start an electric car just like you would a regular car. As mentioned above, your electric vehicle has a secondary 12 V battery that powers some basic functions, like lights or wipers. This battery is essential because if it runs out, your car may not start.

When the secondary battery is low on power, it starts to draw power from the primary battery. However, the 12 V one will also start dying when the primary battery dies, which can be a bigger problem for you. 

To solve this issue, you can jumpstart your 12 V battery to use your vehicle. The process of jump-starting your electric car is identical to what you may be used to doing with your regular ones. The only challenge is to locate the smaller battery to do the jumpstarting.

How To Avoid Running Out of Charge

Although we have explained some potential solutions, in case you get stuck in the middle of the road with a dead electric car battery, you should avoid running out of charge as much as possible so that you don’t have to rely on roadside assistance.

Here are some steps to avoid running out of battery in your electric car. 

  • Make sure your car battery is fully charged before starting your journey.
  • Keep a portable charger with you at all times, especially if you’re planning to travel a long distance.
  • If you’re about to travel a long distance with your electric car, check out the main charging stations along the way to know potential solutions if you run out of power.
  • Pay attention to the battery levels during your trip. 
  • Know that driving faster consumes more of your battery than driving slower.
  • Cold temperatures can drain your battery faster so be aware.

Key Takeaways

Electric cars are great, green vehicles that will most definitely become the norm in the future, but right now, the infrastructure of certain areas is unprepared for electric cars. As a result, you may run out of a battery without the option to recharge your car.

Your car will give you several warnings and run slower to save battery, but it will stop once no power is left. You can call roadside assistance to provide a portable charger or have the car towed to the nearest charging station.


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We are a website that writes helpful articles about the latest technology for emergency preparedness and power grid energy. We try new devices and analyze their quality, durability, effects, for emergency preparedness.

This site is owned and operated by Fremontii, LLC. Fremontii, LLC. is a participant in Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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We are a website that writes helpful articles about the latest technology for emergency preparedness and power grid energy. We try new devices and analyze their quality, durability, effects, for emergency preparedness.

This site is owned and operated by Fremontii, LLC. Fremontii, LLC. is a participant in Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to