Even though electric vehicles started more as a gimmick than a method of personal transport, we can safely say that this no longer the case. The EV revolution has swept the car industry as well as the car community in general, making manufacturers notice this segment investing large sums of money into research and development. Electric cars brought us not only zero-emissions motoring but also some unexpected advantages like lightning-fast acceleration figures and exceptional road holding (due to torque vectoring systems).
However, EVs are not perfect, and their owners’ biggest fear is the so-called “range anxiety.” Simply, due to charging infrastructure still in developing stages and charging stations few and far between, owning an electric vehicle even means carefully calculating how many stops and for how long you need to make and always carrying a suitable ev charging cable. The electric vehicle consumption cycle is different from the internal combustion engine’s, which means that EVs will use more highway driving than in the city, which every EV owner needs to know. But what will happen when your EV runs entirely out of charge and stops in the middle of the road? Let’s find out.
All modern EVs are very accurate in reporting the remaining range and notifying the driver when the range is alarmingly low. Before the range goes to “0”, you will get multiple audio and visual notifications, and on more upscale models, the navigation will even suggest rerouting to the nearest charging station. But if you deliberately choose to ignore all of this, your car will eventually just stop.
This won’t happen immediately, and you will not instantly lose the power and stop, but the car will slowly deaccelerate, reducing the speed to 20 or 30 mph. Pressing the accelerator pedal will not be of use, or the acceleration will barely be noticeable. Depending on the type of the electric vehicle, size of the battery pack, and several other factors, you can drive like this for a couple of miles, at most, and then the car will entirely run out of power and stop. This feature is designed to give the driver a chance to get off the highway or the street and safely park the vehicle before calling for help. Electric cars are sensitive to outside temperatures, and cold weather can affect consumption, so if you are running out of charge and think you have a couple of miles left, you could be unpleasantly surprised.
When the vehicle stops, it will still have some power left for lights, a navigation system, or power windows, but we suggest you turn the car completely off. At this moment, there is nothing that you can do except call for help and prepare for the next step, and this is towing the electric vehicle with a dead battery.
Towing an electric vehicle is quite different than towing petrol or a diesel car. First, you have to know that attaching the rope to a front end and pull it will almost certainly fatally damage your drive train and regenerative braking system, which all EVs have. Most manufacturers recommend using only the tow truck, which will lift the vehicle and place it on the truck bed, minimizing damage chances. Some models can be towed with their front wheels lifted, but regardless, the tow truck is the safest way to remove EV with the empty battery. However, you have to remember that when the EV is dead, the vehicle will not have power steering or power brakes, which makes moving and maneuvering the car hard.
At the moment, the roadside assistance services are working on implementing portable ev chargers, which will provide stranded EVs enough electric power to reach the closest charging station. This system is already in use in America; however, compared to the number of drivers left with the empty petrol tank, the number of drivers with dead batteries is relatively small. The car analysts explain it with the fact that EV owners are far more cautious about their limited range and potential problems than the people using petrol or diesel vehicles.
Running out of charge will not damage the battery in your electric vehicle, although it can prolong the charging period since the battery needs to be charged from 0%. However, other systems can be affected by the loss of power, so we strongly suggest keeping your range sufficient and avoiding making long trips in areas with not enough charging points. A power-less EV stranded on the side of the road will put the driver in danger and other motorists as well.