Jumpstarting With an EV

February 16th, 2024 by

Jump-starting vehicles is a core aspect of vehicle ownership. Most people have inevitably been asked to jump-start another person’s car or had to ask for that help themselves. This aspect of ownership doesn’t change with an Electric Vehicle (EV). In fact, there are important things EV owners should know regarding jump-starts.

Never use an electric vehicle to jump-start another 12-volt battery. The EV’s 12-volt charging points are for jump-starting the car itself and not for assisting another vehicle with a jump-start. The 12-volt battery inside typical EVs is smaller and isn’t designed for starting engines. Jumping from this battery can cause damage to the computers and sensors that are essential to your EV’s operation.EVs don’t have an ignition circuit because there’s no physical fuel that needs igniting, and their 12V batteries lack the kick that gas vehicle batteries have.

We recommend keeping an external battery unit in your EV. This can be stored somewhere like the EV9’s front trunk (frunk). This way you will have a usable unit that can assist in jump-starting both an EV and a gas-powered car.  This external battery can also be used to charge personal devices in case of an emergency.

Fully electric cars do have a standard 12-volt battery just like traditional gas-powered cars. This battery is used to power the main mechanical functions of the car such as the door locks and cabin lights. And just like traditional vehicles, this battery can get run down to the point of being unable to start the car. The 12-volt battery in an EV usually charges when the car is being charged and also through the electrical current that is transferred from the high-voltage battery when not connected to a charging station.

When your EV needs a jump-start, the other vehicle being used to assist must have a 12-volt battery with a negative ground system. This is typical with gas-powered cars, so it should be easy enough to get a car to jump your EV from.

You’ll need to position the cars so that you can attach your jumper cables to both the good battery and the EV’s 12-volt battery. So start by locating your EV’s battery using the owner’s manual. Then proceed as you would normally connect two car batteries for a jump-start. Connect one end of the positive cable to the discharged battery’s positive terminal. Then, attach the other end of the positive jumper cable to the positive terminal of the booster vehicle battery. Next, place one end of the negative cable to the good battery’s negative terminal. Now, connect to the negative grounding point for the discharged battery. Look for a bolt or a bracket, although most models have a grounding bolt marked with a (-) placed solely for this purpose. Then start the donation vehicle, let it run for a short time before trying to start the EV with the dead battery.

Keep the EV running for several minutes while connected to the booster vehicle. Then, disconnect the cables by following the exact connection sequence in reverse. After jumping your EV, keep it running for at least 20 minutes to help ensure the car’s electrical system charges the dead battery. And to avoid any further complications with your EV’s battery, you can always bring a Kia EV in to us at Kia Country of Charleston to have the 12-volt battery tested.