Can You Charge a Tesla While Driving?

can you charge a tesla while charging

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to charge a Tesla electric vehicle while driving? After all, running out of power on the road is not something anyone wants to experience.

So can you charge a Tesla while driving? The answer is yes and no. While you cannot directly charge a Tesla while driving as it won't let you because of safeguards in place, you'll indirectly be doing it anyways using something called Regenerative braking technology.

In this blog post, we'll look at this topic in detail and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Tesla charging while driving.

We'll also briefly explore how regenerative braking works, whether you can charge your Tesla with other energy sources while driving, and more.

Hopefully, this article will answer all your queries about charging a Tesla while on the go!

Can You Charge a Tesla While Driving?

The short answer is No, you cannot charge a Tesla while driving. Tesla cars can't move with a charging cable plugged in; you will get an error message when you try to drive because of safeguards on the Tesla software.

However, I could also answer yes, you can…sort of. While it's not possible to charge the battery directly while you're driving, Teslas and other EVs have regenerative braking technology which allows the recharging of batteries while in motion! This means that even when your car isn't plugged in, it can still get some extra juice from the energy generated by braking.

Do Teslas Charge While Driving?

Yes, when you're driving a Tesla, it can charge itself when you brake or slow down, thanks to regenerative braking that kicks in automatically. This means when you decelerate, energy is generated and transferred back into the car's battery, giving it a boost.

For instance, when you're going downhill on a winding road, your vehicle will automatically generate power from its motors and replenish the battery.

So, technically while you can't plug in your Tesla for charging while it is still moving; regenerative braking adds a little extra range to your battery.

I really enjoy this when the power bar on the display stays green when driving downhill adding additional miles to my range.

Now you know that regenerative braking can help keep your Tesla charged while driving, but what if you want to charge it using other sources of energy?

Can You Charge a Tesla With a Generator While Driving?

No, you cannot charge a Tesla with a generator while driving. As I have mentioned already, the Tesla won't let you shift into Drive mode with a charging cable plugged in. So, while you can technically get a portable generator to use for charging while you're camping or in an emergency, it won't be of much help on the road.

So while you're out and about, you're better suited to a Tesla Supercharger, Destination charger or a public charging station. Or even better, you can look for a hotel with EV charging stations.

Can You Charge a Tesla With Solar Panels While Driving?

No, you cannot charge your vehicle with solar energy while driving. Teslas don't come with solar panels onboard. The expansive piece of glass on the roof is actually a panoramic sunroof, in case you were wondering.

Even if you somehow managed to install an aftermarket solar panel kit, you won't be able to solar charge while driving because of Tesla safeguards in place that stop you from driving when plugged in, as I have already uncovered.

Youtuber ItsYeBoi bought a solar trailer to charge a Tesla.

Even though the setup works as he shows in the video, it technically is still no different than charging at home plugged into the electricity generated by solar panels as you can't drive with the cable plugged in.

Here's the video if you'd like to watch it!

YouTube video

Why Can't an Electric Car Recharge Itself?

Electric cars are equipped with electric motors and batteries. Both of these components rely on electricity to work, so in theory, it would seem like a car could recharge itself while driving. After all, isn't the wind turbine based on the same concept?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Electric cars can't recharge themselves while driving simply because the amount of electricity generated by the car's motor even with regenerative braking is not enough to power the car and simultaneously replenish its battery.

How Does Tesla Regenerative Braking System Work?

Regenerative braking captures kinetic energy from a car’s motion and stores it as electrical energy. When a car uses normal friction-based brakes, this energy is converted to heat and lost as waste. During regenerative braking, however, some of that kinetic energy can be recovered and used for recharging or powering other parts of the vehicle.

The primary component of Tesla's regenerative braking system is its motor/generator unit, which utilizes both motor and generator functions. As a motor, it propels the vehicle forward; when activated as a generator, it creates electricity through movement.

When you release your foot off the accelerator pedal and start to brake, the car's motor/generator unit begins to function as a generator which triggers a backward rotation on the electric motor unit resulting in the slowing down of the car. As it does so, it generates electricity and sends it back to the battery – effectively recharging itself!

In other words, Tesla’s regenerative braking helps recapture some of the energy lost during regular braking and puts it to good use!


In conclusion, while it's not possible to directly charge a Tesla while it's driving due to safety measures in place, the car indirectly does so using regenerative braking that automatically kicks in when you release the accelerator or press the brake pedal.

This process helps recapture some of the energy otherwise lost during regular braking and puts it back into the battery – effectively recharging itself!

I hope this post has been helpful and answered your questions regarding whether you can charge a Tesla while driving or not.

If you have any more questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below and I'll be more than happy to help you out! 🙂

Happy Driving!

FAQ: Tesla Charging While Driving

No, you cannot directly charge a Tesla while driving. You are unable to switch into Drive mode until the charging cable is disconnected from your car. However, the car does recover some energy lost during braking using its regenerative braking system and sends it back to the battery, effectively recharging itself.

No, it is not possible to AC/DC charge a Tesla while driving on the highway due to the safety measures in place. However, the car will automatically charge itself to some extent using regen braking.

No, you don't need any special equipment to use regenerative braking. All electric cars such as Tesla come with built-in systems that make use of regen braking to recover some energy from the car's motion.

Yes, you may be able to gain some extra miles in range by using regen braking. The exact range gained depends on factors like the driving style, terrain, etc.

No, the short answer is you cannot charge a Tesla on solar or wind power while it's running for the simple reason that your car needs to be stationary while it is plugged in.

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