Can You Use an Electric Vehicle Charging Station in a Power Outage?

Have you ever tried to use an electric vehicle charging station during a power outage? In the same vein, have you ever tried to get gas during an evacuation of any kind? There are benefits and drawbacks to both situations, but some might argue that EVs have an advantage over gasoline-powered vehicles in such conditions.

Using an electric vehicle charging station in a power outage

Can You Use an Electric Vehicle Charging Station in a Power Outage?
Can You Use an Electric Vehicle Charging Station in a Power Outage? | Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

States like California have scheduled power outages to prevent wildfires. In addition to planned outages, everyone is subject to losing power due to weather or similar circumstances. While gas stations require electricity, is there a way to charge your electric vehicle at a charging station in a power outage?

In the past, Tesla has sent out push notifications urging owners to charge vehicles ahead of time. Tesla also suggests putting the electric car into Range Mode to optimize energy usage and maximize range. Additionally, most Tesla Supercharging stations have been equipped with Tesla Powerpacks. As long as you have the correct adapter, most electric vehicles can use Tesla Supercharging stations.

These Powerpacks, plus Tesla Solar, have equipped Supercharging stations with the ability to charge during power outages. Tesla Solar can also produce electricity during daytime power outages. In the case of the Powerpack, Tesla Solar can provide power for around 12 hours during an outage.

Gas stations don’t operate when electric vehicle charging stations don’t operate

Electric vehicle manufacturers often make it easy for drivers to keep EVs charged at convenient times. For example, apps allow drivers to schedule maintenance when costs are low in the middle of the night. It is always a good idea to keep your vehicle charged in case of an emergency.

In most cases, inclement weather is known ahead of time. If a storm or other weather-related issue might arise, ensure the electric vehicle is charged and ready. In the case of power outages, gas stations will be rendered inoperable as well.

In the case of an evacuation, electric vehicles tend to fare better in parking-lot-style traffic situations. However, chargers are popping up in convenient locations as popularity increases. This gives better odds that EV drivers can spread out along evacuation routes at hotels, shopping centers, and rest stops instead of piling up at gas stations.

Tesla home solutions for power outages

Tesla offers a product called the Tesla Powerwall to assist with a power outage at home. The company notes that the Powerwall coordinates with personal vehicles for “enhanced vehicle charging during a power outage without exceeding the energy and power capabilities of your Powerwall.” The Powerwall is primarily used in conjunction with Tesla solar panels.

In the case of an outage, the Powerwall can charge both your electric vehicle and support your home’s needs for a certain amount of time. This won’t work over an extended period but could get you through a blackout or a storm while the grid recovers.

As electric vehicles progress, the electric vehicle charging station network will also progress. The charging grids will become better distributed and easier to access. Solar power and battery packs can also offer solutions for those in an area with frequent outages. So if you find yourself in need of an electric vehicle charging station in a power outage, aim for a Tesla Supercharger station first. Don’t forget your adapter, though.

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