Can You Jump-Start an Electric Car’s Dead Battery?

by Gabrielle DeSantis

There is nothing quite as annoying as getting in your car and turning the key — or pressing the ‘start’ button — just to discover your vehicle has a dead battery. For the average driver, jumping a car battery is no big deal, and even if you aren’t sure how to do it or have the tools, there’s usually someone nearby who is willing to help. But, when it comes to owning and repairing an electric car, owners may be a bit timider with doing something even as simple as changing our jumpstarting the car battery. So, can you jump-start an electric car’s dead battery?

Can you jump-start an electric vehicle?

While you obviously can’t do anything if your car’s electric battery is out of charge, many electric vehicles have the same battery for starting and operating electronics when the motor is off, the more standard 12-volt electric battery that car owners are more familiar with. For the most part, you can jump-start an electric vehicle when it has a dead battery, but it can sometimes prove to be a bit trickier.

Tesla supercharger stations | Mark Reinstein, Corbis, Getty Images

Locating the 12V electric battery

Electric cars don’t have the typical under-the-hood 12V electric battery that is easy to find in standard internal combustion engine toting cars. Different electric vehicles may have their battery located in different places around the car, so the easiest and fastest way to find it is to check out the vehicle owner’s manual.

It is also important that you only connect the jumper cables to the 12V battery and not any other part of the car’s electric system or driving batteries. If you aren’t confident in which battery system you are jump-starting, it is always better to call for help.

Blue Tesla Model 3 on display
Tesla Model 3 | Sjoerd van der Wal, Getty Images

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Can you jump start an electric vehicle with another electric vehicle

One important factor to keep in mind, according to Napa, is that you should not jump-start an electric vehicle by using another electric vehicle as the battery source. This can be particularly annoying as electric vehicles increase in popularity, but there are still plenty of gasoline-powered cars out there to give you a hand.

It also isn’t a bad idea to buy a battery pack to jump-start your car without needing help from a second car. These are also safe for use with electric vehicles, and can even be more convenient

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Jump-starting an electric vehicle otherwise isn’t any different than jump-starting a regular gasoline-powered car. Simple attached the positive and negative alligator clips to the correct terminals and follow the standard jump-start procedure.

As long as you know what you’re doing, jump-starting an electric vehicle isn’t scary or any more difficult than jump-starting a normal gasoline-powered car.

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