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Low Electric Car Battery: What Can You Do to Make It Home?

Smart EV

A low electric car battery can be an instant source of anxiety for any driver who finds themselves caught many miles from the nearest charging station. Unlike a gas-powered car, you can’t simply fill you EV’s battery with a jerry can of electrons should you run out of power on the side of the road.

What can you do in this kind of stressful situation? Check out these tips to help you make it home safe and sound, even with a low battery.

EV charging stationMaximize Your Regenerative Charging

A low electric car battery can often be charged just enough to get you to the next charging station through the careful use of your vehicle’s regenerative systems. Electric cars are capable of using the brakes, not just to slow down, but also to convert the kinetic energy of the automobile into electricity, which is then fed directly into the battery.

The best way to do this in a low battery situation is by gently riding the brakes as you coast down hills, all while keeping the car moving at as high a speed as possible. If you can, strategically plan your route to include as many downhill sections as you squeeze in, and if you do have to bring the vehicle to a complete halt make sure to do it as slowly as possible to maximize the amount of time spent braking.

Think Outside the Box

There might not be any charging stations nearby, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any electrical outlets. A low electric car battery can be brought back to life using a simple 110-volt household outlet in pinch — it just takes significantly longer. Fortunately, you don’t have to top off your entire battery, you just need to fill it to the point where you have enough range to get back home, or to the nearest 220-volt or higher charging point.

There are plenty of options when it comes to finding an 110-volt plug you can use for a few hours. Gas and service stations are the most obvious solution, but if you are in a more rural area then a campground would also be a good pick. Big box stores like Walmart often have outside electrical connections that you might be able to use, and even a local restaurant might be willing to run an extension cord out into the parking lot for you if you spring for a meal to pass the time while your vehicle charges.

Check out all of the batteries available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to deal with a low electric car battery, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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