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How to Jump-Start an Electric Vehicle

At some point in almost all vehicle owner’s lives, they’ll need to break out the jumper cables and ask someone to lend a hand or, in this case, a battery. Though most people have either jumped a gas-powered car or seen someone jump a vehicle, many people aren’t sure how (or if) they can jump an electric vehicle (EV). Typically, EVs shouldn’t need a jump due to their design, but EV owners should still know the ins and outs of jump-starting their EVs just in case.

Why You Shouldn’t Try to Jump-Start the Large Voltage Battery in Your EV

EV cars have two batteries: one is a high-voltage battery responsible for moving the vehicle, and the other is a 12v battery used for smaller functions like starting, locking, windows, onboard computers, and interior lighting. If your 12v battery is drained, your vehicle may not start, and it’s safe to try to jump it.

However, if the larger high-voltage battery in your car is drained, you can’t use another car’s battery to jump it. Instead, you’ll need to recharge it at an EV charging station, and if it won’t charge, you’ll need to take it to a mechanic.

6 Steps to Jump-Start Your Electic Vehicle

When your 12V battery is dead and not powering various functions in your EV, you can safely jump-start it by following the steps below:

1. Follow Safety Precautions

Before you try to jump-start your EV, it’s important to make sure you’re as safe as possible. For example, you’ll need to park or tow your car away from potentially hazardous traffic. Next, turn off the EV and confirm it’s in park.

 In addition to turning off the vehicle, check that anything that could draw power from your 12v battery is turned off. For example, headlights, interior lights, and windshield wipers should be turned off. Finally, locate your vehicle’s battery using your EV’s owner’s manual. 

2. Gather Your Tools 

Alongside following safety precautions, you’ll need to have a few tools to jump-start your EV’s 12v battery properly. These tools include:

  • Jumper cables that are in good shape.
  • A functioning gas-powered vehicle (using an EV or hybrid vehicle to jump an EV isn’t usually recommended).
  • A cloth to clean debris off of the battery and the jumper cables.

3. Connecting the Jumper Cables 

While much of the previous two steps are similar to a gas-powered vehicle, the actual process of jumping an EV is different. Review the following steps to connect your jumper cables to your EV and another vehicle:

  • Locate the positive and negative terminals on both vehicle’s batteries. 
  • Connect the red (positive) clamp to the positive terminal of the dead vehicle’s battery. Ensure the red and black connectors never touch while doing so.
  • Connect the other end of the red cable to the working vehicle’s battery.
  • Attach the black (negative) clamp to the negative terminal of the working vehicle’s battery.
  • Attach the other end of the black clamp to the negative grounding point of the dead EV battery.

4. Starting the Vehicles

Once you’ve properly hooked up your jumper cables by following the steps above, start the working vehicle and let it run for a couple of minutes. The running vehicle will help power get to your dead EV battery. After a couple of minutes, attempt to start the dead car. If it starts, great! If it doesn’t, try again in a few minutes. EVs that won’t start after you attempt to jump them a few times will need to be taken to a mechanic for further inspection.

5. Disconnecting the Cables

Now that your 12v battery is working again, you’ll want to disconnect the jumper cables in the opposite order that you attached them in. The steps to disconnect the cables can be found below:

  • Remove the black (negative) cable from the ground point on the jumped EV.
  • Remove the black cable from the battery of the jumping vehicle.
  • Remove the red (positive) cable from the jumping vehicle.
  • Remove the red cable from the jumped EV.

6. Final Steps

Let your EV vehicle run for about 20-30 minutes after it’s jumped to allow the battery to recharge fully. Finally, take your car to your local shop to get your 12v battery checked, as 12v batteries usually don’t need to be jumped. You could need a new battery, or there may be something that malfunctioned that caused it to die. 

Choose Chapel Hill Tire for all Your Alignment Needs

If you’re looking for an electric vehicle repair shop near you in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, or the surrounding Triangle area, turn to Chapel Hill Tire. Whether you can’t get your 12v battery to work or have another issue with your EV, we can help. With over 60 years of experience, your car will be in safe hands at Chapel Hill. We pride ourselves on being a values-based company and strive to make every visit as seamless and easy on the customer as possible!

If you need a repair, please set up an appointment at one of our conveniently Triangle-area locations. You can also review our promotions to find a great deal on our many services.

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