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Can I Charge My Electric Car With a Generator? What To Do

Electric vehicles offer a solution to the environmental polluters known as ICE vehicles. However, an electricity supply isn’t always constant or as widespread as you may like, which might force you to consider using a generator to charge your EV. 

You can charge your electric car with a generator if it produces enough clean power (at least 1.3 kW) and is sufficiently grounded. The higher the power output of the generator, the faster it will charge your electric vehicle.

This piece will explore the basic requirements of a generator you can use to charge an electric vehicle. It will also look at the EV charging speeds you can expect from a generator. 

Which Generator Can You Use To Charge an Electric Vehicle?

Unfortunately, power is an inconsistent commodity; which is why you likely have a generator in your house. Therefore, it makes sense to have a source of backup power for your EV. 

The generator you use to charge your electric vehicle must produce at least 1.3 kW of clean power and be sufficiently grounded. You can use any generator you want as long as it meets these conditions.

Let’s explore these characteristics in greater detail. 


The Generator Must Produce at Least 1.3 kW of Clean Power

Some generators produce unclean power. What do I mean by clean power?

Clean power is a layman’s term for pure sine wave output. Electric vehicles only accept clean power and may refuse to charge if you connect a generator without clean power. 

Wall sockets at home produce clean power. Generators, however, require an inverter to produce clean energy. This inverter can either be inbuilt or bought separately. 

On a similar note, I also wrote a related article called: “Is There a Portable Power Unit for Electric Cars? Check These Options“. I also compare the best currently on the market. Check it out

When purchasing an inverter for your generator to use with your EV, ensure that you buy a pure sine wave model. A modified sine wave inverter doesn’t produce clean power and therefore is incompatible with an EV. 

Your generator must also produce at least 1.3 kW of electricity to charge your EV consistently. 

The 1.3 kW figure comes from the lowest power output delivered by level one charging cords. Level one EV chargers plug into standard outlets supplying 1.3 kW to 2.4 kW. 

The Generator Must Be Sufficiently Grounded

Most EVs, including Tesla, require that the generator be sufficiently grounded while charging. 

The generator frame usually serves as sufficient grounding, however, that isn’t always the case. 

If your generator produces enough clean power but refuses to charge the EV, you may have a grounding issue. 

The best solution to a grounding problem is purchasing a special adapter. 

As an added bonus to this article, I’ve created this easy-to-use charging calculator. Simply input your model, charging wattage, and charging percentage, and you will get the estimated time it will take to charge a Tesla in terms of hours. You can play around with numbers a bit just to see how charging time changes:

Two columns

Tesla Charging Calculator (Time):

Estimated Time It Takes To Charge Your Tesla

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On a somewhat related note, check out this article that I wrote about Bidirectional Charging: Can Teslas use Bidirectional Charging to charge on another or a house? I explored everything in detail.

Which Electric Cars Can You Charge Using a Generator?

While different electric cars use similar technology to run the vehicle, there are minute differences that set each vehicle apart.

You can charge all-electric cars using a generator. You will add mileage to the car as long as the generator produces sufficient power and is properly grounded. 

The higher the generator’s output, the faster it will charge your EV. 

The Fast Lane Car YouTube channel found that smaller generators have a harder time charging electric vehicles.

A Generac portable generator producing 1.6 kW added 12 miles (19.31 km) of range to their Tesla. Curiously, though, they returned to find that the Tesla had stopped charging using the portable generator.

However, when they used a more powerful generator, the results were different. It increased the charging rate, reducing the time needed to fill it up. You can learn more about their experiment at the following link:

Charger/Car model 100 kW Tesla50 kW Peugeot
Generac Portable Generator (1.6 kW)62 hours and 30 minutes.31 hours and 15 minutes.
Blink Mobile Charging Station (9.6 kW)10 hours and 24 minutes.5 hours and 12 minutes. 
Larson Electronics Portable EV Charging Station (62.5 kW)1 hour 36 minutes.48 minutes.
The above table looks at the time three differently powered generators take to charge a 100 kW Tesla and 50 kW Peugeot.

A generator’s size is proportional to the power it produces. Therefore, big generators aren’t portable options. They can also be quite expensive. 

Generac 7127 Iq3500-3500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator Quieter Than Honda, Orange/Black
Though smaller generators may take a while to add decent range to your vehicle, it may be a good idea to keep one on hand in case of emergencies. You can buy portable generators, such as the Generac 7127 iQ3500 Generator, on Amazon.

I also explained all the options you have regarding the availability of Tesla chargers. Can you practically charge a Tesla from anywhere? You can find out here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Charging Electric Vehicles

Is It Safe To Use a Generator To Charge Your Electric Vehicle?

It is safe to use a generator to charge your electric vehicle. It will not damage your car or the generator. For best results, be sure to use a grounded generator that produces at least 1.3 kW of clean power.

Can You Charge a Moving EV Using a Generator?

While it is possible to charge a moving EV using a generator, you will likely void all car warranties if you try it. Instead, you should charge your EV sufficiently before you set off.

If you are concerned about running out of power during long trips, you may want to consider purchasing a hybrid. This way you are able to use fuel when electric power is not available. 

If you found this article helpful, feel free to give us a thumbs up by sharing it on your social media platform of choice. You can also check out these 15 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

Contact Us if you have any questions or queries.


Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.