What to do if your electric car runs out of charge

If you’re a new owner of an electric car – or you’re thinking about putting one in the driveway – then you need to know how to responsibly own, maintain, and operate it. We’ve already filled you in on how electric cars work, as well as electric car maintenance basics, so now we’re hitting a question we often hear from drivers who are interested in buying an EV – what happens if the car runs out of charge? Valid question and our Orlando Toyota dealership is here to answer it.

As we’ve discussed, electric cars run solely on electric charge that you get from plugging the vehicle into a charging station. They’re not like plug-in hybrids that have the hybrid technology to fall back on when electric charge runs out; in an electric vehicle, if you run out of charge, you’re pretty much out of luck. So what should you do in this roadside emergency?

The steps to take if your electric car runs out of charge

 #1: Pull over. When your electric car runs out of charge, your engine will die and you’re going nowhere fast. Pull over to the side of the road to a safe, flat spot (one that’s preferably free from sand and mud) and park. Turn your wheels away from the road and put your parking brake on. Turn your hazard lights on to make yourself more noticeable, and make sure that you note where you are (using a mile marker, exits, towns, etc.) so you can let people know.

#2: Call for help. Next, it’s time to call for help. Your best bet is to call roadside assistance or someone you know who has a portable charger that can get you enough charge to get home or to a charging station so you can refuel your car.

#3: Remember, you can’t use a traditional tow truck. Electric cars cannot be towed on a traditional tow truck where the rear wheels of the car are still touching the road. Remember, in an EV the wheels are connected to the motor. If you tow an EV and the wheels are spinning – even if the car is in neutral – it can create major electrical issues. You’ll need to hire a flatbed truck to tow your car so all four wheels are off the ground when it’s being moved.

#4: Charge it up. Whether you get a jolt from a portable charger or are towed to a charging station, make sure you fully charge your car up so you can get back on the road.

However, this situation is a lot less common than it seems. Electric cars give you tons of warning when your charge is running out, and oftentimes the navigation system will help direct you to the closest charging station. You can also download the PlugShare app, which helps you find the charging stations nearest to you as well as plan out road trips so you know when and where you can stop to charge up.

Call Toyota of Orlando with questions

electric car ran out of charge

Have questions or want more information on the upcoming Orlando Toyota bz4X electric car? Call us today! Toyota of Orlando is open seven days a week at (407) 298-4500 and we’re conveniently located just off I-4 near the Millenia Mall.