Soon Americans will start to receive a stimulus check from the government in the amount of at least $600. While that number might increase to $2,000, we still recommend considering improving your emergency preparedness in your electric vehicle.
Most people aren’t prepared for a roadside emergency, so we’ve prepared a list of a few items that we think should be essential in every trunk or glovebox.
This list doesn’t necessarily apply exclusively to EVs, but we’re keeping EVs in mind while compiling the list. None of these items will eat completely through a stimulus check, but they are items we feel you should spend a few bucks on to make sure you’re prepared when you’re out on the road.
Tire pressure gauge
Everyone should have a tire pressure gauge in their car. We prefer an analog one for reliability, plus it’ll work without a battery. One that helps release air pressure is also nice.
In an EV, a tire gauge is even more important. While the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) will show you a tire readout, it might not warn you until a tire is excessively low.
Maintaining accurate tire pressures is essential to maximizing the range and economy of your EV.
Something like this TireTek Tire Gauge would fit the bill nicely. It’s a bit pricier than what you’d find on the shelf at AutoZone, but it’s a bit heavier-duty, has the release valve, and a longer hose so you can read the display easier.
Tire inflater and jump starter combo
Jump starting an electric car isn’t nearly as common as jump starting a gasoline car, but it can happen. All electric cars still have a 12-volt lead acid battery for running accessories. Using a battery pack to charge is much safer than using another car.
Additionally, being able to have portable air on the road is great. This setup we’re recommending can run the air compressor from the built-in battery pack. It’s not recommend to hook accessories onto an electric car’s 12-volt battery to power a device like an air compressor.
Plus, if you are stranded somewhere, you can charge portable devices by the built-in USB charger. Also keep in mind, you can use this in multiple vehicles, in case you have more than just an EV.
This Stanley Fatmax portable charging station and jump starter is a great addition to your safety kit. You’ll need an AC plug too to recharge it at home.
First aid kit
Roadside emergencies can and do happen. Plus, you might be taking your car someplace to enjoy the outdoors. You could get injured on a hike. Having a first aid kit is just smart.
There are many out there, but we like this one from Swiss Safe because it also includes a portable pack you can drop in a backpack for hiking.
Plus, a small flashlight and a compass is helpful if your phone is dead or you can’t get a solid cell signal.
Portable charging cord
Maybe you keep your portable charging cord that came with your car at home? Lots of people choose to do that instead of installing a stand-alone level 2 charger in their garage.
The problem with that is, of course, when you’re out somewhere and accidentally run out of juice. You might need to trickle charge somewhere and you open your truck and there’s no charger.
We always recommend keeping your factory charger in the car, but if you didn’t and want a low cost alternative, this one from Megear can get you the juice you need. It’ll even support a NEMA 6-20 plug for a slower level 2 charge.
Travel snow shovel
EVs come with eco-friendly tires. Not everyone purchases snow tires for their cars. While snow tires are the best for winter driving, having a shovel in the car will be super helpful if you get stuck. Especially if you are somewhere remote.
A travel-sized shovel with an extendible arm fits easily in the trunk of the car and is lightweight enough to not really affect the range of the vehicle.
This one from Subzero can do the trick and might save your bacon if you ended up nose first into a drift.
While your EV likely doesn’t have exposed locks that’ll freeze, your EV might have door handles that retract when not in use. Those can and will freeze in the winter, and can be a pain in the rear to open if the car has been sitting outside.
Something like this from Liquid Wrench can help loosen up the ice so you don’t have to apply too much force, and risk breaking the door handle, to get inside.
The most expensive item on our list is also one that might not always be necessary. But when you need it, you’ll be glad you have it.
A satellite communicator allows you to send and receive messages when you don’t have access to a cellphone signal. We once got a flat, without a spare tire, in an area where we couldn’t call for help. The satellite communicator we had made sure we were safe and had rescue coming.
Satellite devices, like this one from Garmin, work in more remote places because they communicate with orbiting satellites and not cellphone towers. As long as they have a clear view of the sky, they can get a signal.
If you only ever travel by highway, this probably isn’t a concern. But if you find yourself off the beaten path, or enjoy driving some of the incredible canyon roads around Los Angeles, having one of these might be a lifesaver.