Can You Actually Charge An Electric Car With A Generator? That’s What We’re Going To Find Out (Again)! Part 1 of 3

Our first attempt wasn't a huge success, but what about with a bigger generator?

The last time we attempted to charge an electric car using a gas-powered generator, it didn’t go brilliantly. Back in September, we bought a Generac GP2200i unit and tried to charge up our Tesla Model X. That one was a strictly 120V carbureted unit, so using that generator isn’t the best solution if you need to get some serious range in a short amount of time. But what if we up the ante? Thanks to Honda, we may finally have an answer to our mobile charging woes.

For the most part, charging up your electric car at home or at a charging station won’t be an issue. There are plenty of sources to choose from, as well. There’s standard 120V wall charging, 240V “Level 2” charging, and DC fast charging in varying stages. There are some circumstances, though, where you may not be able to get to a charging source easily. Take California, for instance, when extremely dry conditions and high winds forced a major electricity provider to temporarily shut off its grid, cutting off power to millions of customers. In that event, charging at home isn’t an option. What if you happen to get yourself into the middle of nowhere with your EV, with no charging station nearby? That’s where something like the Honda EU7000is may come in handy.

While this is, at its core, a gasoline-powered generator, it is much more robust on its face than the tiny Generac. This model weighs a whopping 261 pounds, and has a 389cc engine with fuel injection. It also has a 5.1 gallon fuel tank, allowing the generator to run up to 18 hours at 1/4 load. This unit is rated for 5,500 watts with a 7,000 watt max output (to the Generac’s 1,700 and 2,200 watts), and it was a 30-Amp/250 Volt locking plug onboard. Even at max load, the Honda EU7000is is only rated to produce 58 decibels of noise, or about as loud as a normal conversation.

We’re using a Volkswagen e-Golf as our first test subject to see if the generator will charge the car’s battery.

Will it actually work?

In the video above, Tommy unboxes and walks through the setup process for the generator. We also provide a short preview of the charging process using our Volkswagen e-Golf. Now, since these are what’s called “floating neutral” generators, we need to get a bit creative to work out a grounding solution. Even in our first test, the home charger supplied with our e-Golf threw up a fault code and wouldn’t accept power from the generator.

We’ll have to do some more testing to see whether this solution is a viable one, so stay tuned to for more updates!