Can an Electric Vehicle Charge Itself? All You Need to Know

It is no less than a dream come true if you do not have to bother charging your electric vehicle. Imagine you need not connect your car to the grid to get the range required for your regular commute—your car is smart and capable enough to do this. 

How cool would that be! But is it possible? Can an electric vehicle charge itself?

No. An electric vehicle cannot charge itself mainly because the technologies are either non-existent or too fledgling to do the job. However, regenerative braking, a truly self-charging technology, does exist but cannot fully replenish an EV’s battery.

Read: Can You Charge an Electric Car While Driving?

Why Cannot an Electric Vehicle Charge Itself?

1. Regenerative Braking Is Not a Magical Range Booster

The regenerative braking system is the only technology to self-charge an electric vehicle; nevertheless, it captures only 16 to 70 percent of lost energy to charge the batteries. And in the case of electric cycles, the figures can go below 8. This amount is, unfortunately, not sufficient to keep EVs going without getting them to charge.


The system captures the lost energy of slowing wheels and redirects it to the battery. Otherwise, the kinetic energy is used to run the generator (motor in reverse) to add to the range. Regenerative braking does not make an EV efficient; the system only makes it less inefficient.

2. Wireless Charging in EVs Does Not Exist

Induction charging technology might take quite a long before it fully develops and becomes commercially available. The technology will work similarly to the concept of wireless charging in smartphones.


In EVs, electromagnetic induction transfers the charge from one coil to another. When parked over a specially designed charging station, an EV can quickly replenish its battery provided it has a receptor coil placed horizontally to the chassis. Dynamic induction charging would make EVs self-charging. Emitter coils will be set up on the roads. As an EV passes nearby, it will receive charging for brief intervals.

Read: Can You Charge an Electric Car With a Power Bank? (5 Benefits)

3. Turbines Make EVs Less Efficient

Attaching a wind turbine to an EV to charge it on its own seems incredible, but its negatives outnumber the positives. Having some turbines on an EV would make it inefficient due to the added weight. The energy produced will not be enough to charge the batteries. It will, frankly, make the batteries drain even more as they would push the car harder.


Another similar technology could be the use of alternators on the wheels. As the wheels rotate, the alternator will rotate too—leading to charge generation for the batteries. However, this is also going to be inefficient and expensive. A lot of research is required to overcome these issues.

4. Mounting Solar Panels on EVs Is Not Feasible


There is, unfortunately, a plethora of issues in mounting solar panels on EVs and generating charge thereby. Though considerable progress has been made in recent times, the idea largely remains impracticable due to the following causes:

  • No Enough Panels: The sizes of solar panels currently do not generate enough power to charge an EV. There is limited space available on cars to mount those. Going for more panels is tough.
  • Slow Charging: Due to the limited number of solar panels, charging does not occur swiftly. Solar-powered cars could do well for short distances but not longer ones.
  • Nascent Technology: The concept is relatively new, and the only EV known to implement solar panels in its system is Lightyear. It will take quite a long before solar-powered cars become reliable and trustable.
  • Cost: Adding solar panels to EVs can ramp up their cost too much. Take Lightyear 0, for instance. It costs about USD 176,000—way higher than the average EV price in the US.

5. There Is a Lack of Spending

A hard fact: no government currently supports the idea of self-charging electric vehicles—there is no spending on that. The potential cause could be the expenses associated and the monopoly of conventional cars in the larger parts of the world.


Regretfully, the infrastructure required to support the uninterrupted movement of EVs is still developing in several parts of the world. Green technology-oriented governments are already struggling to fulfill this need. In such a scenario, thinking beyond and quickly jumping onto self-charging electric vehicles is challenging.

Read: How to Charge Electric Cars at Home?

How to Charge an Electric Vehicle Itself?

As mentioned earlier, using a regenerative braking system is the only way to charge an electric vehicle. Though it will not yield complete charging, it will positively replenish the batteries.


Fortunately, all EVs in the US market are equipped with this feature. To convert the kinetic energy into a battery charge, all you need to do it to remove your foot from the accelerator. The gradual slowing down of the vehicle will generate current that will be stored in the batteries. In some cases, you might also need to hit the brake pedal to activate the system.

Does Lack of Self-Charging in Electric Vehicles Matter?

Not really. EV drivers are not much bothered by the unavailability of self-charging systems, at least in the US. The credit goes to the increasing range and charging points availability.

The average EV range is around 200 miles on a full charge. Similarly, fast charging stations (zero to 80 percent in just half an hour) such as those of Tesla are widespread. These benefits have added a lot to the convenience of EV drivers to the point that the need for self-charging is almost non-existent. In the current market scenario, having a self-charging car would be a great advantage, but it does not matter too much.

Do Hybrid Electric Vehicles Charge Themselves?


Yes, hybrid electric vehicles can charge themselves better than simple EVs. They have this advantage mainly because of the IC engine and an alternator. As the engine runs, the alternator also rotates, charging the battery. As simple EVs do not have any alternator, they have a hard time getting charged themselves. The most they can make comes from the regenerative braking system.

Concluding Remarks: Can an Electric Vehicle Charge Itself?

Electric vehicles, unfortunately, cannot charge themselves. The capabilities to do so almost do not exist. Those electric vehicles that charge themselves do not fully replenish the battery and the range. But it does not make a problem for EV owners—thanks to the enhanced range, battery charging speed, and the availability of Superchargers.

However, for self-charging, the future is quite bright and promising. Lightyear, a solar-powered EV start-up, is already there. With each passing day, we might see tremendous progress in it. Similarly, some crazy but highly innovative concepts have also popped up. Volkswagen Group has launched a visionary idea of autonomous mobile robots charging electric vehicles. Who knows, will we ride self-charging electric cars in a few years?


Leave a Comment