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Emergency charging

I have seen many discussions about using portable solar panels to charge an EV while camping or on a road trip. As has been often pointed out, trying to charge the car's batteries a significant amount just isn't practical.

However, suppose you simply need to charge your EV just enough to drive a few miles. Then, even at the slow rate of charging that portable solar panels would provide, maybe you would only have to charge for a few hours. That would be preferable to calling a tow truck.

I see lots of portable solar products on Amazon and on different solar companies' websites. Is it as simple as solar panels, battery, inverter? Somehow I think not. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Apr 2, 2016
Los Angeles
How far do want to be able to go in this scenario? How far can your car go on one Kilowatt/hour? I am guessing that a Model 3 would go less than 5 miles.

Assume you have 500 watts of solar. That’s a lot of panels. If you had a battery, and if the light was just right, it would take at minimum two hours to generate one Kilowatt hour. It could work, but only as a last resort.

But if you want to do it, look for an Ecoflow Delta. Fantastic battery/inverter system that can power most things, including a Tesla. I have one, along with a matching set of solar panels, and I plan on taking it on my next Tesla camping trip. Mostly for lights and refrigeration, but yes, in a pinch, it might get my Tesla five miles down the road.
Thank you all for your input. The reason why I posted it is because of an incident I had. Two years ago I was visiting my mom, who has a Chevy Spark EV. I was driving it to a friend's house. When I was about 5 miles from his house, the car indicated 5 miles of battery left (which we all know is not completely reliable). I may have made it. But if I ran out even a quarter miles from his house, I might as well have been 25 miles from his house. I would have to call a tow truck. I played it safe, swung into a Safeway parking lot, parked and plugged in to an standard 110 outlet (yes, the slowest charging there is). I charged for an hour and gained 4 miles. If I had had an emergency solar charger in the car, I probably would have tried to make it to the house.

I recently purchased a used 2015 Model S 70, so preventing incidents like the above mentioned are important.


Nov 4, 2019
Seattle area

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