Electric Cars

What Happens if an Electric Car Runs out of Charge?

When the day comes, if it ever does, that your electric car's battery goes to 0%.

You could possibly be stranded without a charging station in sight, but don't fret, Wagonex has got your back.

We'll tell you what to do if that does happen, and what to do to prevent it. 

Did you know that if you are travelling from Warwick to Telford, the fastest route is via the M40 and M54? That’s a total distance of 63 miles.

It’s worth remembering this snippet of information because there are no service areas for the duration of the journey.

It’s a similar story on the M25 with a 43-mile stretch without service areas between Cobham and South Mimms. Reading to Membury on the M4 is 39 miles while the M8 in Scotland between Paisley and Harthill is 32 miles.

All of these distances will also force you to keep an eye on your fuel gauge or keeping your legs crossed before reaching some ‘facilities’.

Under normal circumstances, thankfully, we’re pretty well covered by service areas, but there are always times when range anxiety starts to creep into your head.

Will I make it to the next service area before the car grinds to a halt?

Anyone reading this who owns an electric car will be used to range anxiety. They’ll also be used to planning ahead to make sure that they either have sufficient charge in their battery to complete the journey or have done some homework to ascertain where the chargers are to be found.

This is simple if you are on a regular Monday-Friday commute, but what happens if you suddenly need to do a much longer journey?


What should you do if your electric runs out battery?


what to do if your electric car runs out of battery

Let’s start with the simple answer.

If you are driving along in an electric car and the battery becomes totally exhausted, the car will stop. It’s just the same with a petrol or diesel car running out of fuel. You’re stranded and you’ll need to call one of the recovery companies.

The silver lining is that you’ll feel the power of the car slowly fade as the battery empties, so it won’t be a total shock. 9 times out of 10 your electric car will still be able to muster up a few miles at a slow speed before you’re stranded and calling for AA.

Get the best app for locating charging stations here.

Remember this: All electric cars have an estimated range indicator on the instrument panel but the estimated range is according to your current driving pattern. If you’ve been trundling along a country lane and then join a motorway and blast along in the outside lane, the range will plummet. It’ll also drop if you turn on heaters, air con, electric seats etc.

So, if you are starting to get a tad worried about the battery running low, slow down and turn off as much as you can.

Drive very gently and sympathetically and your range will climb.

Thankfully, most of the current crop of electric cars have a device in their satellite navigation which can do some planning for you. Make full use of this clever bit of kit because it can also warn you of any hold-ups ahead which may increase the length of your journey.

Assuming you have entered your destination, the sat nav will estimate your potential battery range and whether you’ll make it…or not.

If the sat nav considers that you’re going to be cutting things fine it will instruct you to go to a charging station. It will also tell you where it is…what type of charger is available…whether it is suitable for your car and whether it’s working.

Some cars will also enter a recovery mode whereby it automatically reduces the available power.

In other words, you are bombarded with warnings about low battery. The car even prevents you from doing certain things.

electric car runs out of battery


If worst comes to the worst and you are stuck on the side of the road


There is another small battery fitted to the car which will keep the lights and hazard warning indicators working.

You will also find that the car comes with roadside assistance…but…and this is important…always make sure that your mobile phone is charged because you’ll need it to call for help. The recovery driver may also get in touch to find out your precise location and give you an estimated time of their arrival.

Thankfully the recovery services are used to this and will, as quickly as possible, send out a flat-bed truck to take you to the nearest charging station. Don’t forget, it you are stranded on a motorway, don’t sit in the car…..that is incredibly dangerous.

Get out and stand as far up the embankment as possible. Serves you right if it’s raining.

Don’t assume that if you leave the car for a while that the battery will recover. It won’t …well not sufficiently for it to power the car for any sort of distance.


Can you buy a portable charger?


Good news. Details are starting to trickle out from a handful of firms who are close to marketing a portable charger. The one we’ve seen is about the size of a carry-on case that you can take onto an aircraft.

It works on the same principle as a powerpack for mobile phones. You plug it into the car and, depending on the type of vehicle, you’ll get a range of around 20-40 miles in about half an hour. It’s really for people who live somewhere that doesn’t have access to a proper charger. It will get you facility which does have one.

However, do you really want to spend several hundred pounds on something that shouldn’t be needed?

The bottom line in all of this is that you should never run out of battery life. Think ahead. Get into the routine of topping it up whenever possible…preferably at home or work.

Longer distances require some forward planning, but the car will help you. Download an app from our guide to apps for locating charging stations.

Whether we like it or not, electric cars are the future. When we arrive at January 1st 2030 there will no longer be an option to buy a conventional petrol or diesel car. They’re banned… although hybrids gets a stay of executive until 2035.

The number of chargers is increasing. They can also charge at a faster rate. Cars can also travel further on a full battery.

So, get behind the wheel of an electric car, you won’t regret it!

Want to learn more about electric cars? Here's some content to enjoy: 


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