If you drive an electric vehicle, or if you are considering purchasing one, one of your concerns may be becoming stranded on the side of the road if your electric battery runs out. The good news is that along with the big electric battery pack, electric cars also have a standard 12-volt battery, just like those found in regular vehicles. So, whether you have a Toyota Prius battery or a Chevy Volt battery, you can jump start it.
Purpose of the Standard Battery
The 12-volt battery that you find in electric cars has numerous functions. It powers certain features such as the wipers and the lights, and it maintains the responsiveness of the electronics when the car is powered down. It also provides power to radio memory and remote door locks after the car is parked.
An electric car battery may need a jump start if the batteries have been drained completely. It may not be possible to recharge the lithium-ion batteries of the car without a jump.
How to Jump Start an Electric Car Battery
Your first task is to find the 12-volt battery, which can be tricky as not all vehicles keep the battery in the same place. Some may be located under the hood like they are in traditional vehicles, but some other places to look include:
- Under the rear seat
- In the trunk
- Beneath the floor in the rear cargo
If you are jump starting a hybrid vehicle, the battery should be easier to find, as it is typically located right next to the engine under the hood.
Make sure you stay away from the electrical battery connections and cables, as they are connected to high voltage. You should be able to recognize them thanks to their brightly colored cables and labels. Definitely do not affix the alligator clips of jumper cables to them, and do not touch them. This is also a good time to inspect the battery’s connection and cables. If they are corroded or loose, it may be time for car battery cable replacement to ensure the battery does not drain power over time.
Once the power switch of the electric car is turned to off, connect the cables per the directions in the vehicle’s manual. Start the jump-starting vehicle and then turn the electric car on. The cables can be disconnected once the vehicle is running again but keep it turned on for a minimum of 20 minutes to fully charge.
Type of Vehicle That Can Jump Start an Electric Car
One thing that is important to understand is that an electric vehicle is unable to jump start another electric car, even if they are the same type. The 12-volt battery in an electric vehicle cannot provide the kind of power necessary to start another one, so you need to use a traditional vehicle.
Another option is to use a car battery jump starter. This allows you to jump start your own vehicle without having to wait for someone else, which is very convenient.
If you have an electric car, inspect your battery and maintain it regularly to keep everything running reliably. Make sure you have all equipment you need in case you must jump start it.