How Do You Charge Your Electric Car During a Power Outage?

A power outage for most people is a pretty annoying occurrence, but for electric car owners, it can be pretty stressful. For hybrid cars or gasoline-powered cars, stopping by the gas station is an easy solution when you’re running low on range, but that isn’t an option if you have an all-electric vehicle. When you can’t recharge your car, it limits the distance you can go, and that can be dangerous in event of an emergency.

What to do during a power outage

According to Tesla, not having power out your house isn’t the end of the world. If your car is plugged into the charging station when the power outage occurs there are some safety mechanisms in place to protect your car from a surge. But that doesn’t really help you get the battery recharged. The obvious solution is to travel to the nearest charging station, which doesn’t really sound all that helpful.

2020 Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid | Audi

Depending on where you live, a charging station might not be a reasonable solution. Whether you are completely out of electric power or there is an outage because of a storm, traveling to charge your electric car can be pretty counterintuitive. Another less than helpful tip was to simply wait until the power outage was resolved. Yep…that’s helpful.

The downside of going electric

The ability to find a reliable energy source outside of your home is one of the biggest downsides of owning an electric cars. While some manufacturers offer charging stations where you can stop and recharge your vehicle, they aren’t always as common as we need them to be. On a long road trip or out running errands it can be a hassle to have to wait for your car to recharge.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Charging
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Charging

A new solution

The simple answer right now is that there really isn’t an efficient way to recharge your electric car in the chance of a power outage, and it might be a big enough problem that manufacturers will eventually address it. A bigger push is being made in the opposite direction: using the energy from an electric car to help during a power outage. This could be useful to homeowners that don’t have gas-powered generators or even benefit hospitals that need electricity to power critical life-saving and life-sustaining machines.

The rear of a white Ford Mustang Mach-E sits by an electric charging station.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E all electric vehicle on display | Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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Having a generator or energy storage at your home could help to recharge your electric vehicle, but their capacity is so limited that most people would rather use it for other things. You could use a generator to keep your refrigerator running and even recharge your car, but there are innately problems in doing that, and then of course the fact that it requires a generator.

Electric cars are still gaining popularity from what was an almost non-existent market, so it makes sense that even the major problems haven’t been resolved. Over time it is likely that electric cars will continue to rise in popularity, and manufacturers will continue to make an effort to resolve issues regarding charging, including during power outages.