Plenty of new electronic vehicle (EV) owners are looking into whether or not a portable generator can charge their electric car if their traditional charging system fails.
Sifting through all of the info out there about can a portable generator charge electric car can feel like a real uphill battle.
Some people say it’s effortless to pull off, others say it’s impossible, and others still waffle between yes it can be done and no it can’t without ever giving a definitive answer.
Well, by the time you’re done with this detailed guide you’ll know for certain if you can power your EV vehicle with a portable generator.
Can a Portable Generator Charge an Electric Car?
Right out of the gate, you should know that you definitely can power an electric car with a portable generator – but you have to be sure that you’re using the right generator to pull this off.
For starters, the portable generator you choose needs to have a clean output sine wave.
This sine wave needs to be as pure as possible, flooding your EV with as much clean and consistent energy as it can without ever “polluting” the system with unreliable and inconsistent electricity.
This means that you are going to need an inverter portable generator. A traditional generator just can’t produce the kind of sine wave you need.
Inverter generators solve the sine wave issue by inverting DC to AC, which results in a consistent power output. On top of that, you need to be sure that your new portable generator is capable of delivering exactly the right amount of charge your EV vehicle needs.
However, be aware some inverters have a sine wave that is a modified square wave or a simple square wave. Some EV vehicles will detect this energy as dirty, and will fail to charge. This is to protect the cars sensitive electronics.
When researching portable inverter generators, always insist on an inverter with pure sine wave effect. Cheaper inverter generators typically offer a modified sine wave rather than pure sine wave.
Most cars are going to need anywhere between 28 and 30 A or so. Take a look at your owners manual or online for the exact power requirements.
Square those two things away, though, and you should be good to go.
Advantages of Charging an EV with a Portable Generator
There are a lot of obvious advantages to charging your EV vehicle with a portable generator, including (but not limited to):
- Having the ability to charge your vehicle even if traditional power goes down
- Having the ability to charge your vehicle “on the go” if your portable inverter generator is on hand
- Having the ability to charge your vehicle away from traditional power sources, including “off the grid” and in far-flung locales
You also have a lot more control over how your EV battery charges when you’re using a portable generator.
Why It’s a Challenge to Charge Electric Cars with Portable Generators
At the same, there are certainly some challenges to charging EV cars with portable generators.
This is why a lot of people wonder “can a portable generator charge electric car” in the first place!
To begin with, small portable generators generally aren’t going to have enough “juice” to get your EV back on the road. You need to be sure that your generator has the energy production capability to fill your EV battery backup to 100%.
Secondly, you may not be able to find a portable generator with a hookup for your specific EV.
Tesla, Chevy, Honda, and Toyota all have proprietary connections for their battery charging systems. You might have to cobble together a system that connects your vehicle to your portable generator, as they are almost always only going to have a traditional outlet style output.
Lastly, portable generators still need fuel to run off of. You’ll not only need to have your generator close at hand but you also have to have a steady fuel supply as well.
Recommended Pure Shine Wave Inverter Generators
Here’s our top picks for the best pure shine wave portable generators to charge your EV. Compact design, pure shive wave output and portability make these all a smart and safe buy.
- More Power. Same Legendary Quality. - The EU2200i delivers 10% more power than the previous EU2000i - enabling you to power more of what you need, in the same lightweight, compact package. The EU2200i gives you the power to get more done.
- Co-minder - Advanced Carbon Monoxide Detection System. CO-MINDER continuously monitors carbon monoxide (CO) levels. It automatically shuts down the generator before detected CO levels near the generator become dangerously high.
- Honda My Generator App + Bluetooth Capability - Hondas exclusive My Generator smartphone app offers remote generator operation and monitoring with impressive performance. The app includes wireless stop and operation monitoring.
- Lightweight And Compact - Weighing just over 47 pounds, the EU2200i is incredibly lightweight and portable. Thanks to Hondas inverter technology, its easy to transport and store.
- Commercial Grade Reliability - The EU2200i is powered by the Honda GXR120 Commercial Series engine. At 121cc, the GXR120 is at the top of its class - ensuring the EU2200 always produces the power you need to get the job do
- Quiet, Compact, Easy to use. AC rated output running Watts: 1700, AC maximum output starting Watts: 2200. Rated 120 VAC Amperage-14.1
- Truepower technology provides clean, stable power ideal for sensitive electronics, tools and appliances while the 1.2 gallon fuel tank allows 10.75 hours of run time at 25% load
- Built-in handle makes it easy to transport and the integrated OFF/RUN/CHOKE knob simplifies startup procedures
- Economy mode provides excellent fuel economy and noise reduction while the LED status lights alerts you on low-oil, overload and power
- Parallel ready allows you to connect 2 inverters together for twice the power (parallel kit model 7118 sold separate
- 3000 Watts (25 Amp) of Honda Inverter 120V AC Power
- Convenient electric starting (battery included) with recoil back-up
- Super quiet operation, only 50 to 57 dBA
- Fuel Efficient, runs up to 19.6 hours on 3.4 Gallons of fuel
- Advanced inverter technology provides reliable power to computers and other sensitive equipm
Important Thing to Remember Before Charging Your EV with a Portable Generator
At the end of the day, if you’re going to be charging your electronic vehicle with a portable generator it’s important that you start really slow and monitor the process every step of the way.
Slowly dial up the amperage, never going above what your owner manual recommends for a charging station.
While it’s possible to charge an EV with an inverter generator, you need to use caution or you could have a real catastrophe on your hands.
Fact is, charging an EV using a portable inverter generator can be a slow and lengthy process. For this reason, you don’t really need to fully charge the vehicle. Just enough to get you to a proper charge station.
Realistically, this kind of activity shouldn’t be an everyday habit. And it should be for emergency uses only.