A Dutch Nissan LEAF driver accidently discovers “tow-charging” that their EV could be recharged by towing it without a typical power supply using the regenerative braking system. Mostly likely this is because the Nissan LEAF has a Regenerative Brake system stays engaged in some measure at all times (not unlike how many All-time 4WD vehicles are continuously engaged).
After being stranding 40 km from home and getting a rope tow from a friendly driver of a pick-up truck the LEAF owner discovered that the act of towing EV charged its batteries faster than being connected to a normal EV charge point.
According to Nissan operating manual they advise against charging your LEAF in this manner. However “at the very least it should be considered a possible unpublished feature and vital system knowledge about electric cars that have regenerative braking systems”, says Ken Burridge (Editor-in-Chief of EV.com).
As the motor of EVs are mechanically connected to the wheels at all times, the EV could be damaged when being towed in this manner since current models do not have a neutral/disengaged gear. Many people that are only use to driving fossil fuel vehicles may find it hard that to believe that an electric car can make some fuel while being used and that the same motor, which propels the vehicle can also double as generator and charge the battery as well. It would NOT be surprising that using such unconventional EV recharging methods could easily void the manufacturer’s warranty.
With that being said after being towed for just ten minutes (at 55 mph) the EV gained enough electricity to travel an additional 30 miles.
A video about fastest way to magically charge your Nissan Leaf without power supply:
EV of the Year Judge, CNN and Mother Earth News contributor, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last six years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website