Using an EV as a mobile power source

Discussion in 'General' started by SidEV, May 25, 2018.

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  1. SidEV

    SidEV New Member

    I'm considering an EV as my next car (favourite is a leaf at the moment) and simultaneously setting up a small catering business.

    My question is can we use the EV to run a small kitchen on a trailer (fridge, kettle/urn)? To save having a nasty diesel generator.

    I'm aware the battery capacity in an EV is more than the daily usage of most homes and with V2G solutions growing it is clear you can get power back out of a battery at high power. I'm less clear if there is a solution to do this that wouldn't just be lashed together.

    I can see I could maybe just plug a 12v -> 230v inverter into the 12v socket but that sounds dodgey and likely to cause loads of losses.

    Anyone looked at this?
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  3. Seems like an inverter is the easiest way to go. Below is video of guy using his Tesla with inverter. This link takes you to an IMGUR page showing someone using a leaf to do similar.

  4. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    I don't think its very likely you could get a lot of power out of it that way. Not enough to run fridges and kettles. The car will have a dc-dc converter to provide the 12v from whatever the battery voltage is, and I doubt it will be very efficient. It certainly won't be designed to supply kWs. I imagine the car's handbook will tell you the maximum amount of power you can take from the 12v socket.

    Also, some of those cheap inverters throw out pretty grotty AC. More like a square wave than a sine wave and not all electronic gadgets will work well on them. Some can be damaged by it. You would be better using a true sine wave inverter which costs a bit more.
  5. Steven B

    Steven B Active Member

    From what I understand, Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) is in use in some other countries now. Because the utility companies dictate the standards, it will likely be decades before regulations are passed to allow batteries in cars provide anything other than minor power outputs (Outlander PHEV has one 15A outlet).
  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

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  8. JyChevyVolt

    JyChevyVolt Active Member

    You need the Outlander PHEV GT trim. It can tow up to 1500lbs and has a built in 120v outlet in the trunk.

    You can always use propane.
  9. SidEV

    SidEV New Member

    Thanks everyone. Going to give the Outlander PHEV setup a look (although assume the 120v output is for the US?)

    I'd considered the various inventer lash ups I could do but was looking for something more commercial grade/less likely to invalidate my warranty!

    I'd assumed there would be someone out there doing it manufacturer approved, especially with the Nissan E-NV200 out there which someone must need be using as an ice cream van or something
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  11. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Correct. However we have so many better solutions today. Tapping the 12V DC to generate grid voltages is relatively inefficient but readily available. We found the it could generate 1kW of sustained power and depending on the 12V battery, a little more burst. But the photocell industry now offers a wide variety of higher voltage inverters that can be driven directly from the battery. In theory, the fast DC charger interface is also an option.

    Regardless of approach 12V or traction battery, some assembly is required.

    Late thought, Honda has demonstrated a 9kW CHAdeMO to grid power inverter. This would be more than enough to power a trailer without an engine, portable generator.

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  12. SidEV

    SidEV New Member

    Thanks. I'll maybe wait a bit to see if the Chadmo inverters become more common/affordable.

    You've been awesome all of you

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