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Can I use a dash cam for my EV?

Did you know that there are currently over 1.7 million electric vehicles on US roads? Electric cars are steadily taking over the automobile industry, and we anticipate even more in 2023.

And, as the popularity of these electric vehicles grows, one frequently asked question is, "Can dash cams be installed in an EV?” Quick answer? Yes. In fact, we've already highlighted EV installations on BlackboxMyCar's YouTube channel.

However, because the components of an EV differ from those of a conventional gasoline-powered car, there are some important factors to consider before purchasing a dash cam for your ride.

Can a dash cam be installed in my electric vehicle?

Of course, you can install a dash cam in your electric vehicle. The purpose of your dash cam is to act as a surveillance both inside and outside of your car, so it doesn't matter if you drive a sedan, a truck, a van, or an electric vehicle. Your dash cam won't even know what model of car you have, so it will undoubtedly work for you.

Now, here’s the thing. Dash cams can be installed in two ways: via simple installation through your car’s 12V cigarette lighter or by hardwire installation whereas your dash cam will operate through your car’s power source.

Installing a dash cam to your EV via 12V cigarette lighter

When you plug a dash cam into your electric vehicle's 12V cigarette lighter socket, it will turn on - plug and play as they say. However, when the engine is turned off, the 12V cigarette lighter socket will not provide power, so your dash cam won’t operate either. In cases where the dash continues to record while parked, it potentially drains the 12V auxiliary battery completely.

Do note that the larger battery used to power the car is distinct from the 12V auxiliary battery that powers the vehicle's accessories. The 12V auxiliary battery may or may not affect engine starting, so it's best to avoid plugging it into a constantly powered cigarette lighter socket.

And as you might expect, this is not the best solution for a car owner looking for complete dash cam protection.

Can I hardwire my dash cam to my EV to enable parking mode?

The answer would depend on the vehicle in question, as dash cam hardwire kits are installed in the car's fuse box.

A dash cam hardwire is installed into the fuse box of a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle for parking mode recording. It draws power from the car battery and shuts down when a preset low voltage cut off is reached - a function that keeps the car battery from draining to the point where it can't be started.

Therefore, if your electric vehicle lacks an accessible fuse box, you may be unable to install a hardwire kit. Some electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Model 3, lack a fusebox, making it impossible to hardwire a dash cam for parking mode.

On the other hand, when your EV does have a fuse box, it usually has a small 12V auxiliary battery that powers the vehicle's electronic components. However, the amount of recording time is quite limited when hardwiring a dash cam to this auxiliary battery via the fuse box.

Will my dash cam drain my electric vehicle’s battery?

Yes, it can drain your EV’s battery, but it can be avoided. Because dash cams record continuously, there is always the risk of draining the car's battery. While this isn't an issue while driving, it becomes more complicated when the car is parked.

Fortunately, our dash cams from Thinkware and BlackVue have built-in voltage monitoring systems. This is designed to automatically power off in the event voltage level is lower than the configured value to prevent car battery drainage.

But not all dash cams have this feature. So, what we really recommend is to use an external battery pack, such as the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack - suitable for all dash cam brands. Through this accessory, you will be able to maximize your park mode recording time and minimize any hardwiring issues in an EV.

While it may seem redundant having to install a battery in an electric car, doing so will prolong the life of your accessory battery as well as increase protection for your vehicle.

A Dash Cam, and a Battery Pack for Your EV

To sum it up, dash cams will work in your vehicle regardless of brand or model. The purpose of a dash cam is protection, and the only thing that can differ is the installation and operation.

Moreover, having a dedicated battery pack is also beneficial to extend your battery life. It not only allows your cameras to record for a longer period of time while in parking mode, but also helps you operate your vehicle's starting functions with ease and without worry.

Boost your Battery with Dedicated Dash Cam Battery Packs

BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8

Designed For All Dash Cams

BlackVue B-130X Ultra Battery Pack

Designed for BlackVue Dash Cams

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Got More Questions?

Not to fret, our in-house product experts are here to help. We have spent years curating helpful content and video guides, helping customers with their dash cams, but we understand that we can always do better. Contact us using the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. We love what we do, because we're here to help you make the most informed purchasing decision.