What happens when an EV’s battery reaches 0%?

April 26, 2024 by

  • Carwow shares insights from driving EVs to 0% – and beyond
  • Carwow’s real-world tests show EVs give plenty of warnings to the driver as the battery’s charge gets low
  • EV’s automatically alert drivers and help to find charge points
EVs automatically alert the driver when the battery charge is getting low

Running out of charge, often called ‘range anxiety’, is actually quite hard to do in real life, according to Carwow’s real-world range tests with electric cars.

Many consumers worry that an electric car’s battery will suddenly drop from 10 or 20% charge to nothing, but that’s definitely not the case in Carwow’s experience.

“Unlike smartphones and laptops, all the electric cars we’ve driven have progressed gradually to 0% and then carried on further than we expected before finally stopping,” said Carwow’s car expert, Mat Watson.

“To get to 0% charge you have to have ignored a series of warnings across dashboard and infotainment screens, and sometimes audible ones!” he continued.

Carwow’s real-world tests show EVs give plenty of warnings to the driver as the battery’s charge gets low

Carwow’s team of testers have sometimes spent 45 minutes circulating car parks at 0% charge to try to get the electric car to a complete halt, although it’s not recommended to do this.

In Carwow’s experience, EVs are programmed to prevent them getting to a situation where they have charge left. As well as several alerts to the driver, they use the integrated satnav to divert the car to the nearest charge point.

Carwow’s tests also found that these cars are clever enough to automatically reduce power consumption of certain items such as the climate control in order to preserve charge to get the car to the nearest charge point.

Running an EV to 0% charge is not recommended

Over 3.3 million people have watched Carwow’s recent range test video of the latest all-electric SUVs, including the Volkswagen ID Buzz, Tesla Model Y, Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, Mercedes EQA, Genesis GV60 and Nissan Ariya, proving the level of interest in electric cars and what happens if they’re not plugged in at a charge point before reaching 0% charge.

We hope these insights from our range tests with electric cars give people more confidence in buying them,” said Mat Watson. “Carwow has a lot of experience helping car buyers and sellers, and we do whatever we can to make life easier for them,” he continued.

Carwow’s latest Q1 Insider newsletter includes more insights from its real-world range tests.

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