Building vehicles and other contraptions in The Legend of Zelda; Tears of the Kingdom is a hoot, but gas mileage sure is low at the beginning.
When you start up a new game in Link’s latest adventure, you’ll find that there’s a brand new vehicle fuel meter to manage aside from health and stamina. It’s the little battery icon that pops up at the bottom of the screen while a vehicle is active. At the game’s outset, Link only has three pips of energy, barely enough for a vehicle to run for long enough to solve most puzzles, but not long enough to actually do anything fun.
Of course, you can always find and attach Zonai batteries to a vehicle for some extra juice, but there’s a better, longer-term fix for this problem.
How to upgrade energy cells in Tears of the Kingdom
The correct technical term for Link’s new fuel meter is “energy cells,” and you’re going to need more of those in order to create vehicles that can carry you across the Hyrulean landscape. Unfortunately, Tears of the Kingdom isn’t super clear up-front about where exactly you need to go to upgrade your energy cells. The good news, however, is that it couldn’t be more convenient.
Fast travel to Nachoyah Shrine on the southern end of the Great Sky Island, otherwise known as the game’s tutorial area. This will warp you inside of a cave on the island, luckily right next to a steward construct you can talk to just a few meters away. This guy is the ticket to upgrading energy cells.
Simply talk to this construct and he’ll offer to give you more energy cells as long as you provide a currency called crystallized charges. The rate here is 100 charges for one pip of energy, or 300 charges for a full new battery meter.
Hey, I said it was convenient, not cheap. This is where the real fun begins.
Where to find crystallized charges
Sadly, crystallized charges are something of a precious commodity in Hyrule. You won’t just find them lying around on the surface or even (for the most part) on sky islands. Instead, you’ll need to venture down into the Depths. If you’ve been too afraid of the darkness and horrors below Hyrule, you’re going to have to get over that to upgrade your energy cells.
There are a few ways to get crystallized charges in the Depths. The most straightforward is to buy them with Zonaite, another new currency you get from mining rocks and defeating enemies in the Depths. You can purchase crystallized charges from forge constructs underground. If you follow the main story for a while, you’ll eventually find a place called the Great Abandoned Central Mine in the Depths below the Great Plateau, complete with its own fast travel point. There’s a forge construct here who will happily sell you crystallized charges.
I should note that it takes a lot of Zonaite to buy crystallized charges. It can help in a pinch, but it’s not the most efficient way to get these precious materials.
In my experience, the quickest way to get crystallized charges is to just explore the Depths. There are mines strewn about all over the place (most notably beneath villages on the Hyrule surface), and each mine has a treasure chest on an easily visible pedestal. Open that chest and you’ll probably get 20 crystallized charges. If not, don’t fret; the only other things I’ve found in those chests are rare, cool pieces of armor, so it’s a win either way.
Oh, and each mine is chock full of rocks you can destroy to get Zonaite. There are also optional bosses in the Depths who will give you crystallized charges for defeating them, but I wouldn’t recommend taking those on until later in the game when you’ve got some good weapons, food, and armor.
To be clear, upgrading energy cells in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a slow process. I’ve played dozens of hours of the game and I’m not even close to having a full fuel meter. But adding even one or two batteries to your meter can be the difference between reaching a distant sky island on a plane and plummeting to your death. Get to it, adventurers.