Plug-in cars and disaster preparations

Discussion in 'General' started by Domenick, Sep 13, 2018.

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  1. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    With Hurrican Florence bearing down on the Carolinas, I thought we should discuss how owning a plug-in car might affect those potentially impacted.

    First, I hope everyone in the danger zones has evacuated inland. Besides the high winds and the danger they bring, there is a serious danger of flooding, even far from the coast.

    If there is any way this Forum can be a helpful resource to those affected, please let us know what we can do to help.

    In the case of this natural disaster, there has been some time to prepare for evacuation or, for those further inland, to assess how local flooding may affect you. Luckily, electricity has yet to be impacted, but it definitely will be. In some areas, I imagine it could take weeks to restore service. But even in places far from the coast, there is a high likelihood outage will occur.

    How have you prepared to deal with this or another disaster scenario. Do you keep a 5-gallon container of gasoline on hand? How about a portable generator? What other things should we consider?
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  3. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    A major part of prep is to get what you need beforehand and NOT have to drive around after a storm. There is a powerful tendency to drive through flooded roads, thinking (but not knowing) the water is shallow and your vehicle will make it. Don't do it at all and ESPECIALLY don't do it with an electric vehicle.
    ABrown and Domenick like this.
  4. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Rule of thumb is, if you can't see the road, don't drive through.
    Sometimes you can not tell roads have been washed out, or sinkholes have been created. I can think of few things scarier than being submerged in a car or being carried away helplessly be a torrent.
  5. K8QM

    K8QM Active Member

    Some ramblings...

    Here in Raleigh we are in a much better position than expected (40mph wind gusts rather 80mph) but I have parked the Clarity in the garage and will make sure it's fully charged tonight. Unlike some EVs we can't use the Clarity as a household power source but I did get a small inverter (120W) so that we can charge a notebook PC along with the ability to charge phones/tablets from the USB ports.

    Unfortunately we've had this drill several times and since we tend to lose electricity early and often I have filled drinking water containers, been making ice for several days, have canned food, new batteries in flashlights, readied the grill/propane and have two 40 gal rain barrels for water to flush toilets. One thing that some people forget is to make sure that needed supplies are where you can get them. If your chain saw, propane for your grill or other needed items are in the shed that has been crushed by a tree they won't be helpful. I move that kind of thing onto a screen porch or under the house (if it's safe from flooding).

    Your cell, wallet, keys and a flashlight should always be within reach! A cell at the other end of the house with a tree trapping you in your bedroom is of no use.

    A couple of new additions this time are a big roll of giant garbage bags to cover things if there is a roof penetration and my insurance company number in my cell.


    A good way to judge how well it's going at my place is by when my weather station goes offline. The longer it's up the longer I have power:
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  6. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for checking in. Stay safe!

    Living in Florida, we go through this from time to time. One other place to store water, btw, is the bathtub. I also fill up any buckets I happen to have.
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  8. K8QM

    K8QM Active Member

    One last bit - back up your computers and put the backup somewhere else! I backup stored with the computer is not a backup. I store mine at work which is far enough from home that both places being damaged is unlikely.

    Worst case scenario just put the backup drives in a watertight container in the trunk of your car.

    Domenick likes this.
  9. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Taking a different perspective and looking more narrowly at EV's
    1. Make sure that the vehicle is fully charged just before the storm hits, the storm may take down power lines and you may not have power to charge once the storm clears. Even if all is clear and you need to get about, please remember the effects may last for a few days and power could get disrupted.
    2. If you need to evacuate, make sure that you have an idea in advance as to where you are going and where the charging stations are. If the charging stations are on the path of the storm, then they could get impacted by power disruptions. So have alternate routes and I would have hard copies of charging station locations in a radius of 150 to 200 miles, in case there are interruptions to cell phone service.
    3. If you have different charging kits or adapters for different types of charging systems, make sure they are in the car, in case you need to take off in a hurry
    4. Again, just me, but I would make sure that there is ICE alternative that you have in case you need it. (It is just me, but If I was not sure how long I might need to be away and how certain I am about charging stations, I might use an ICE alternative or Plug-in with small battery range If I need a get away car. Again just me)
    5. Based on the location of battery pack, be extra cautious when driving in standing or flowing water. (Again don't flame me if you think is irrelevant)
    6. Given the faster acceleration and deceleration of EV's, make sure you have a handle on driving under slipper conditions with EV's
    7. All other sensible precautions that one would need to take.
    Domenick likes this.
  10. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Some great suggestions. Thanks!
  11. Johngalt6146

    Johngalt6146 Active Member

    Very neat. I see your wind gusts going up and your air pressure dropping. Good luck.
    Here on Hilton Head its 87 with just a very slight breeze moving the flag. I'm not as sophisticated as you.
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  13. vicw

    vicw Active Member

    That's true for me, too. I just realized that problem a few days when we had a sudden heavy downpour, accompanied by a couple of short power glitches. I later realized that they had both forced my Netatmo weather station into reboot conditions, so I lost about 0.25" of rain capture during those periods. I have several UPS's at critical points in my system to avoid web outages, but I hadn't even thought about the weather station. I will likely have some gaps in my history during the next few days in Southern Pines, NC due to power outages, too. Sadly, I don't have a wind detection unit.
  14. K8QM

    K8QM Active Member

    After losing data during Fran I always put new batteries in my console - as long as I can hook up a PC in the next week all my data will be there.

    Good luck to all in the path!

  15. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    This was my first modification to our Prius in 2005:

    • 1.1 kW, modified sine wave generator, 110 VAC, 9 A
      • lights, TV, e.t.c.
      • gas heater, blower fan in winter
      • window AC in bedroom in summer
    • handled the yearly, power outages reliably (my commuting car)
    • no carbon monoxide risk
    • 11 gallon fuel tank, ~2 gallons per day
    • can not be heard off property
    In April 2011, multiple tornadoes tore up the TVA transmission lines. We 'camped out at home' four days and six hours.

    If you decide to try a smaller inverter with camp-on connectors, keep it under 600 W as the clamps will get HOT! A modified sine wave can work but some loads are 'sensitive.' Do NOT use square wave inverters as they will damage some electronics and fail to work with others. Test everything BEFORE the real emergency. There will be a voltage drop over any extension cord as the two wires look like capacitors and anything but a pure sine wave will 'leak' through.

    A sine wave inverter is more expensive and delivers a little less power. However, it solves a lot of nasty integration problems.

    Bob Wilson
  16. I live near Raleigh and we were supposed to be directly in the path of the storm. However, current forecasts show it curving around us.

    Florence Path.jpg

    Nevertheless, there is still a lot of wind and rain to come in the next 6-48 hours. The storm will have a several hundred mile width of damaging winds and rain.

    I've filled my Model 3 to 90% just in case there is a power outage in my area. Luckily I'm fairly high up and not in a flood prone area. I do have very tall trees near my house that will keep me alert.
  17. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    You're killing me with this 90% business. ;) Going to 100 won't hurt it this one time. Then you have that much more room to groove, in case you need to.

    At my place, I don't worry about flooding, but the trees keep me awake at night.

    Good luck!
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  18. K8QM

    K8QM Active Member

    Other than 3 hours without power Florence was a non-event for my area. Unfortunately that is not the case for much of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina and South Carolina and flooding will almost certainly occur in the mountains of several states. Just like folks still dealing with the aftermath of last years storms there will be people dealing with the aftermath of this one for months.


    BTW With all the water and debris on the road I'm going to leave the Clarity in the garage for another day or two - I'd rather risk damaging the 2005 Highlander!
    bwilson4web likes this.
  19. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Glad to hear you came through all right.
    So glad the initial punch was as muted as it was. It"s nerve-wracking to be in the sights of a cat 4.
  20. Jimmy Truong

    Jimmy Truong Member

    Hope you’re all alright. This’s why I love California. My friend in NC wasn’t impacted by the storm but the damn red wood tree just fell over his Hummer H2 and collapsed the roof!

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
  21. ABrown

    ABrown New Member

  22. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    And don't forget earthquakes ;) (sorry could not resist that)
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