Do Electric Cars Have Neutral?

  • By: Preetam
  • Date: August 21, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Are you worried about safely towing your EV or taking it to a car wash? Do electric cars have neutral so that you can tow them?

Electric cars do have a neutral-like function that makes it possible for you to tow the car. But this function is not a true neutral gear as you would find on a car with a gas engine.

Do you have more questions about towing electric cars? Then find out all you need to know about them and their neutral function coming up next in this article. 

Do Tesla’s Have a Neutral?

Has your Tesla just broken down and you need to tow it to a garage? Or are you on your way to an automatic car wash and need to put your EV in neutral when you arrive? No matter the circumstances, it’s good to know the ins and outs of your car for emergency situations. 

So, let’s find out. Do Tesla electric cars have a neutral?

A Tesla has a neutral-like function that makes it possible for you to tow the car. This function also makes it easier for you to use the car at a car wash. 

But this function is not a true neutral gear like you would find on a gas engine car. What if you’re not sure how to put your Tesla into neutral? Then here are a few tips. 

Follow the instructions that match your model

  • Models 3 and Y: Select N for neutral. On some Tesla models, you will need to push down for neutral when you are in Park and push up for neutral when you are in Drive. Use the letters on display to guide you.
  • Models S and X: Give the gearshift half a push. It should slot nicely between Drive and Reverse.
  • Models S and X 2021+: Go to the display screen and then tap the car icon in controls. Next, tap and hold neutral. 
  • If you are still stuck after following these steps, you should consult your user manual or a mechanic. There may be something inhibiting your Tesla from going into neutral.

What about if you need to keep your car in neutral for a longer period of time such as when it is being towed? Then you might find it useful to put the car into tow mode. 

To do this, put the car into park and push on the brake. Then, on the display screen tap Controls, Settings, Service and Reset, Tow Mode. Then select On.

What Does Neutral Do on an Electric Car?

It is often said that electric cars do not have true neutral gear. This is because the neutral gear on a gas engine car disconnects the motor from the wheels. 

This makes it easy for you to move the car even when it is off. An electric car, on the other hand, doesn’t have any gears and the motor is permanently connected to the wheels. 

But most EVs still have a neutral function. Why?

When you put your electric car in neutral it isolates the motor from the control system. What does this do? Well, it allows the car’s wheels to rotate freely. 

This neutral function is what makes it possible for you to push an electric car. It also makes it possible for you to tow the car if it breaks down or even keep it moving freely when you are at an automatic car wash.

Because of the way that electric cars are made, you have to be especially careful when towing them. This means that you cannot tow an electric car using a normal tow belt. 

Towing your car in this way could damage the engine. So what should you do? Tow the car using a flat-bed truck. This way all four wheels will be off the floor.

Can You Jump a EV?

So you’re stuck on the side of the road because your EV’s battery is dead. What should you do now? Although electric cars are different in many ways from gas engine cars, there are still many similarities between them. 

One of them is that you can jump-start an EV. However, the method differs a little from jumpstarting a gas engine car. How’s how you do it. 

  1. Push the electric car and the helper car close together
  2. Put both of the vehicles in park
  3. Turn your lights off and turn off any accessories too
  4. Attach the positive red cable to the flat positive terminal on the electric car
  5. Attach the other end of the positive red cable to the positive terminal on the helper car
  6. Attach the negative black cable to the negative terminal on the helper car
  7. Attach the other end of the negative cable to a grounding point on the flat electric car
  8. Start the helper car’s engine and wait a few seconds
  9. Start the electric car

TIP: Are you jumpstarting an EV for the first time? Then make sure you check out this tutorial video for more tips and tricks. If you get stuck, call a mechanic for assistance. It is best you do this if you feel nervous about jumpstarting the car. Remember, you should never attach the negative cable to the flat negative terminal of the electric car.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to find the neutral function on an EV is really important. It comes in handy when you need to tow the car. It is also useful when you need to take the car to a car wash. 

But perhaps you wonder, do electric cars have neutral?

As we have seen in this article, electric cars do have a neutral function. This function makes it possible for you to tow the car and leave it at a car wash without damaging the engine. 

But the neutral function is not a gear as it is on a gas engine car. 

Make sure you tow your electric car using a flat-bed tow truck so that all of the wheels are off of the floor.

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