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I work at an electric company, and we have these Via trucks (PHEV) mostly as a billboard for electric cars.

The trucks themselves are terrible, but they have a built in 14.4kW outlets for power backup, which is pretty stout! I've seen somewhere someone makes a system to draw power from the charge port to feed into the home.

The only issue is with a purely electric car is if you need to go somewhere, your batteries may be drained too far to get there- out of the frying pan into the fire kind of deal.

A natural gas generator would be ideal, or a gasoline/diesel one- if I didn't work at the electric company where I know I can charge my car no matter what happens, I would buy a diesel generator just so I could keep the car "fueled".

I was involved in the restoration after Irma in FL, I was without power for 5 days, no generator, working for 16 hours and coming back to a dark, 85F home and a cold shower wasn't very fun! I was driving a Challenger at that time, and my range anxiety was because of fuel shortage- people hoarding fuel like sharks to chum, and then selling the fuel for $20 a gallon to those unfortunate enough not to get any.

People go crazy without their A/C and phones.
 

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I work at an electric company, and we have these Via trucks (PHEV) mostly as a billboard for electric cars.

The trucks themselves are terrible, but they have a built in 14.4kW outlets for power backup, which is pretty stout! I've seen somewhere someone makes a system to draw power from the charge port to feed into the home.

The only issue is with a purely electric car is if you need to go somewhere, your batteries may be drained too far to get there- out of the frying pan into the fire kind of deal.

A natural gas generator would be ideal, or a gasoline/diesel one- if I didn't work at the electric company where I know I can charge my car no matter what happens, I would buy a diesel generator just so I could keep the car "fueled".

I was involved in the restoration after Irma in FL, I was without power for 5 days, no generator, working for 16 hours and coming back to a dark, 85F home and a cold shower wasn't very fun! I was driving a Challenger at that time, and my range anxiety was because of fuel shortage- people hoarding fuel like sharks to chum, and then selling the fuel for $20 a gallon to those unfortunate enough not to get any.

People go crazy without their A/C and phones.
Can you tell us more about the VIA trucks? What makes them "terrible"?
 

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Can you tell us more about the VIA trucks? What makes them "terrible"?
We have 5 of them if I recall, 2 are working, the rest are in need of service/ out of commission.

Out of 5, 4 of them have insanely noisy generators, likened to the sound of a hammer being churned around in a transmission- since new, Via claims it's "normal". 3 Have already received new HV batteries, less than 30K miles.

When they need to get serviced, nobody wants to touch them, we are having a problem finding a dealer to service them as Via screwed the Chevy dealer out of 8K in labor- a Via tech sometimes gets flown out to service/inspect it- so if it breaks down, chances are it's out for a good long time.

I drove one for 15 miles and it broke down, lost the engine, propulsion motor, power steering and power brakes- hazards don't flash with the key off and the A/C and engine did not start, so I was sitting in a 100F truck in the sun before I managed to cycle the HV battery monitor module and limp it back.

To top this off, even when running, they are noisy, slow, quirky and have an incredibly low payload capacity due to the heavy battery and large engine.

The Volts and Leafs have been great on the other hand, and that is why I chose to own a Bolt.

Also do not let any EV sit fully charged or dead for any more than a day or two in the elements, self-discharge and deep discharge is the absolute worse for these things.
 

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I used this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Tiger-1500W-Power-Inverter-DC-AC/dp/B008JGE8LE

Costs less than 1/2 what Greg's cost. And I've used it to run several long terms tests and run my house several times with it without any problems.
The above is discontinued. Anyone else have any recommendations? Greg's Samlex Solar PST-1500-12 PST is WAY expensive at $521 on Amazon currently. Lowest price per camelcamelcamel is $448.25 which is still pretty pricey.

I'm looking for a backup in the event PG&E shuts down high voltage power lines due to fire danger. My power needs are pretty modest except that it needs to be able handle the startup current of refrigerator w/o overloading and shutting down. Other than the fridge, I don't plan to run more than a fan, some phone chargers, a laptop and some networking equipment (e.g. cable modem and wireless access point). I might run my NVR (security camera system) which IIRC doesn't draw more than 70 watts continually.

At $448 to $521, almost may as well just buy a gasoline powered generator. :eek:
 

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The above is discontinued. Anyone else have any recommendations? Greg's Samlex Solar PST-1500-12 PST is WAY expensive at $521 on Amazon currently. Lowest price per camelcamelcamel is $448.25 which is still pretty pricey.

I'm looking for a backup in the event PG&E shuts down high voltage power lines due to fire danger. My power needs are pretty modest except that it needs to be able handle the startup current of refrigerator w/o overloading and shutting down. Other than the fridge, I don't plan to run more than a fan, some phone chargers, a laptop and some networking equipment (e.g. cable modem and wireless access point). I might run my NVR (security camera system) which IIRC doesn't draw more than 70 watts continually.

At $448 to $521, almost may as well just buy a gasoline powered generator. :eek:
FWIW, I bought a Power Bright PW1100-12 1100W (from Amazon, but their page doesn't seem to be loading right now). I paid about $85 for it.

It's not a pure sine wave inverter, which means it's kinda crappy, but I bought it to have and probably never use, a piece of cheap emergency insurance. My fridge probably wouldn't be too happy running off it, but it'd probably be okay.
 

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FWIW, I bought a Power Bright PW1100-12 1100W (from Amazon, but their page doesn't seem to be loading right now). I paid about $85 for it.

It's not a pure sine wave inverter, which means it's kinda crappy, but I bought it to have and probably never use, a piece of cheap emergency insurance. My fridge probably wouldn't be too happy running off it, but it'd probably be okay.
Thanks! I was hoping to shy away from inverters that aren't pure sine wave.

I recall over at Priuschat we had chatter about modified sine wave inverters and extension cord issues. Scratch what I wrote earlier here. I found the chatter and will need to re-read the posts by bwilson4web at https://priuschat.com/threads/dc-ac-inverter-ups-questions-discussion.111765/#post-1592418, including his replies further down. (I've actually met him in person once. He's an interesting guy.)

Unfortunately, my car will be on almost opposite ends of the house vs. where the fridge is, so there will need to be a long cord. Also, infortunately, pure sine wave inverters are WAY more expensive than modified (aka not pure) sine wave ones.
 

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...my car will be on almost opposite ends of the house vs. where the fridge is, so there will need to be a long cord.
Just thinking outside the box - I wonder if there is some kind of capacitor or something that could be installed by the refrigerator to help provide the surge it needs when it starts. Without something like this, the momentary voltage drop in a long cord would be substantial.

Anybody know if such technology exists, at a practical price?
 

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Just thinking outside the box - I wonder if there is some kind of capacitor or something that could be installed by the refrigerator to help provide the surge it needs when it starts. Without something like this, the momentary voltage drop in a long cord would be substantial.

Anybody know if such technology exists, at a practical price?



"Anybody know if such technology exists, at a practical price?"


Yes, and no. Search for "ac motor inrush limiter".


It's easy, for DC. AC introduces an entirely different set of problems.
 

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Unfortunately, my car will be on almost opposite ends of the house vs. where the fridge is, so there will need to be a long cord. Also, infortunately, pure sine wave inverters are WAY more expensive than modified (aka not pure) sine wave ones.
I wonder if it'd be easier to flip the main breaker off (disconnect from grid), then push the power back into the circuit that is in your garage through the outlet, and through the circuit your fridge is on? You'd want to flip everything else off that you don't want to be powered, and be especially careful not to have the main breaker on when you're pushing power out.

At least this eliminates any extension cords and still provides overcurrent protection.
 

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I wonder if it'd be easier to flip the main breaker off (disconnect from grid), then push the power back into the circuit that is in your garage through the outlet, and through the circuit your fridge is on? You'd want to flip everything else off that you don't want to be powered, and be especially careful not to have the main breaker on when you're pushing power out.

At least this eliminates any extension cords and still provides overcurrent protection.

...and probably violates a handful of NEC guidelines...but heck, the same occurred to me, and in an emergency I'd probably (very carefully) give it a shot. This assumes that you're intimately familiar with your house wiring (I am).


This is no longer a serious issue with me, as my Bolt now only provides a "Plan B" for my two new-ish Tesla PowerWalls, with 27kWh between them.
 

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It is pretty illegal to back feed an electrical panel through a house outlet. The correct way to do it is through a dedicated breaker on the panel that has as a minimum a device that only allows that breaker to engage when the main breaker is off and through a mechanical means locks the main breaker off. This is how generators without automatic transfer switches are wired. It is still little more complicated, as you would need to manually shut off all the other breakers you are not using to be safe. Better still, a sub panel with just the
required branch circuits. It is so much easier to just run long extension cords from the inverter to the appliance. My heating system plugs in so I could unplug it and power with a generator (or Bolt) for example.

Being "especially careful to not have the main breaker on" does not cut it if you are a lineman working on some problem 3 blocks away.
 

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In my case the event that's most likely to cause an extended power outage would be a major earthquake which almost certainly would also knock out the natural gas supply.

I'm probably going to put in a beefy solar system in the next couple years anyways. I figure that such a system could allow you to stretch the Bolt's battery out for at least a few days depending on the time of year.
For solar consider an SMA inverter with their Secure Power Supply (SPS). AFAIK, this is the only inverter company that allows you to draw power from your solar when the grid is down - unless you have hardwired battery backup to your solar, which is not the focus of this great thread.

The SPS is a cheap add on to the inverter, your solar installer should know about it. It’s a standard 110 vac receptacle, and it allows you to draw up to 2000 watts, meaning up to what your panels are producing, with a max of 2000w. The receptacle works only when the grid is down (or when you turn off your solar circuit breaker for testing).

During an extended outage, I can charge my Bolt during the day, 5 hrs at 2000w on a good day, and I can refill the big battery at 10 kWh/day (maybe 9 after losses). That’s far from 60, but it’ll keep the Sierra Nevada IPA cold indefinitely.
 

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...and probably violates a handful of NEC guidelines...but heck, the same occurred to me, and in an emergency I'd probably (very carefully) give it a shot. This assumes that you're intimately familiar with your house wiring (I am).


This is no longer a serious issue with me, as my Bolt now only provides a "Plan B" for my two new-ish Tesla PowerWalls, with 27kWh between them.
This approach goes by the name Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and variations - vehicle to home, etc. Japan allows V2H, Denmark has the first commercial V2G operation. A great way to learn about V2G is through Nuvve (nuvve.com), a San Diego co. that runs the Denmark operation, has several pilots going in Calif, etc.

I too am happy enough with my Bolt + 1500w true sine wave backup solution. But V2G is not only cool for backups. Given the eventual billion or more EVs in the world, it solves for solar not producing at night.
 

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Just tested out a Bear Claw 1500W pure sine inverter from Amazon. Initially used a fan, then heat gun with no problem. Then hooked up our home freezer with good performance, leaving it on the inverter for a few hours. The cooling fans didn't even come on and the inverter was mildly warm. With two Bolts, we're now prepared for fire-related black outs. The cables included with the inverter seemed thick enough to handle my needs. I just bolted and crimped two 200 amp rated alligator battery clamps to attach to the battery and negative firewall ground.

This emergency set-up will reside in the garage, awaiting the next black-out. With two Bolts, we can have an endless supply of back-up power...
 

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having an EV "on/running" is really no big deal - since 98% of the battery load comes from the AC/induction motor - which only draws power while it's actually moving - there is virtually NO issue to leaving the car "on/running" in park with the parking brake

turn off the climate control, turn off the radio - and I'm pretty certain the Bolt would sit there almost indefinitely at the sort of electrical loads a non-moving Bolt draws…

we all have to remember 60 kWh - is a _LOT_ of power, an embarrassing amount of power actually -

"In 2015, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual electricity consumption at 15,435 kWh per residential customer, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,166 kWh per residential customer."

source - https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=97&t=3

60 kWh of power will run the average US household for 5 1/2 days…

the Bolt uses next to nothing if you turn off cabin heating/cooling and it isn't moving under it's own power.

with a 1,500 watt inverter with a. 10% conversion loss - can run from 60 kWh for 36 hours of continuous load. Even a fridge only used 3-4 kWh/day - cause it's not always on.
So the average US household uses 900 kwh/month, equals 30kwh/day. I don't know where you learned arithmetic, but where I learned it, 60kwh divided by 30kwh = 2 days, not 5-1/2.
 
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