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I tried searching the forums for this one, but I came up completely empty. Last week Hurricane Iselle made landfall on the Big Island and left about 13,000 people without power, and if on catchment, without water too. Anyhow, I was driving my volt around and thinking to myself, how nice it would be to pull up to an elderly persons house and provide an hours worth of power so she could get the essentials things done and be ok for a little while. Not knowing anything about the federal gov't and their oversight for the idea, and not knowing the engineering requirements to get it done, I was left empty as to whether it would be an easy thing to design into say Volt 3.0 (given gov't permission) or whether it would be ridiculous.
I'm sure you guys have talked about it before, but I've missed out on that.
Hope you can shed some light on this subject for me.
I'm going to head out and help the 1200 or so people that need hot meals and other provisions to make it thru another powerless day here in East Hawaii.
 

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Theoretically? Absolutely. Standard home electrical service these days is 200 Amps at 220V - 44kW, but I don't think anyone really uses the full capacity at one time (standard home backup generators are 14 and 20 kW.)

A properly integrated inverter tied to the high voltage system could easily handle that kind of power, and the car's systems could support it until you ran out of gas (and it'd be more efficient and less polluting than typical gas generators.)

Easy for GM to do, if they can figure out standards to do it safely (for the connections out of the car and grounding and the like,) and a market that'll pay several thousand more for the option. Not something for the average or even the advanced user to attempt, though suitable inverters do exist off the shelf from the solar industry.
 

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The technology is called V2H or V2G. Vehicle-to-Home Vehicle-to-Grid. Nissan has a program in Japan to do this with LEAF technology.

Volt has a 53KW generator and could probably run minimal support for several houses at once. However, that capability is not supported directly yet.

Some here are running 1500w inverters from the 12v system for emergency lighting.

VIA motors is doing on-board generator for job-site support. This capability could also be used for emergency power.

V2G has been discussed for brown-out and peak power leveling.

Lots of discussion and thinkers in play for these ideas.
 

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I used an inverter with the Prius when Sandy took out the power. If I could do it with the Prius, I can certainly use the Volt.
 

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Anyhow, I was driving my volt around and thinking to myself, how nice it would be to pull up to an elderly persons house and provide an hours worth of power so she could get the essentials things done and be ok for a little while.
I used an inverter with the Prius when Sandy took out the power. If I could do it with the Prius, I can certainly use the Volt.
That's what the EV Extend Volt and Leaf inverter kits are for, they're designed to power a few critical appliances/lights in a blackout, or for recreational use (car camping, tailgating, RC charging, etc.)
http://www.evextend.com/Emergency-Power-Kit.php

The Volt has a more powerful DC-DC converter, so you can get up to 1500W of power using the 1500W kit through the 12V battery, and still have some headroom for the vehicle 12V power loads for system monitoring etc.

GM should be able to offer an OEM solution for more power directly from the traction battery, just like Via motors. At constant interstate speeds, the Volt can draw 15kW and actually much more. No reason you can't have it act as the equivalent of a 15kW whole-house generator, if GM wanted to pursue it. It would sure add a lot of value, with very little additional hardware/cost needed for the car (I estimate <$500)
 

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I think the answer to the question is a big NO. The idea that you can just tap into the Volt's 360+V dc system is not currently available/practical/feasable. The kits offered for the Volt are no more than an inverter that could be connected to any 12V system with a pair of battery clamps. You could run any gas powered automotive system through an inverter to create some backup power, but not for the neighborhood. The output from the Volt battery(high voltage) would need to be recoverted to AC from DC. Our onboard charging system changes AC to DC.
 

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You could run any gas powered automotive system through an inverter to create some backup power, but not for the neighborhood. The output from the Volt battery(high voltage) would need to be recoverted to AC from DC. Our onboard charging system changes AC to DC.
Very true. The big difference with the Volt is you can supply that power for a long time without needing to burn gas, and once your battery is depleted the engine will only cycle on for something like 5 minutes out of every half hour. Also, many typical passenger vehicles have alternators that are capable of something like 800W continuous, or about half of the Volt's 1500W continuous 12V capability.

The inverter kit linked above provides an instant connection for this power option from the Volt versus having to potentially spend time fumbling around in the dark to connect to the terminals properly (which clamp terminals won't do especially how the Volt's battery is positioned).

I still very much wish GM would take advantage of the potential application their high voltage battery provides. They already have inverters in there for the motor controller too, and claim V2G readiness soon. It's a missed opportunity for them IMHO.
 

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My household has a full house power monitoring wattage meter that we got as a special deal with our local power company. It allows me to read instantaneous power use across the entire household. I have never seen the power use exceed 10,000 watts 10 Kwatts constantly. I think the highest I've even seen was charging my Volt with a Level 2 240v charger, running the electric clothes dryer, watching TV and zapping food in the microwave. Considering the Volt can supply burst power from it's primary battery at well over 100 Kwatts and the onboard gas generator cranks out in excess of 50 Kwatts, the Volt would more than easily provide enough power to run a house.

The main issue would be trying to hook something safely up to the 360v primary traction battery that can put out in excess of 100,000 watts which can instantly kill you if done wrong. Another problem might be the onboard computer and monitoring system panicking when it finds that you are bleeding power. Plus I can't imagine an inverter which could handle that much power in DC to AC conversion would be cheap. It sounds like one that could run a small datacenter. :)

Come to think of it the only reasonable way to pull it off. I wonder if the Volt could be placed on a dynamo and left runnning on cruise control? It probably wouldn't be very efficient but I imagine that would work.
 

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Moving a hundred kilowatts safely would be a project, but ten is easy. A pair of standard solar string inverters hooked up in parallel will easily handle converting 360V DC to grid quality AC all day long with no issues. The hardest part is tapping the high voltage power safely and sorting out the grounding.

(And we still don't know if the Volt will throw a code if power starts disappearing from the high voltage side. Every HV device has power usage monitoring on the CANBus, including flow to/from the battery. GM could easily have put in a checksum for that, but there's no reason they'd have to that I'm aware of.)
 

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It's all very easy if GM just provides us a 240V plug with the vehicle already doing the inversion for us. No different than connecting to a generator at that point.

Regarding the dyno, I thought of the same thing in a slightly different manner... run the dyno (wel, a motor with the car on a treadmill of sorts) while the car is in low gear, and charge up the battery lickety split. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So the larger problem with "powering a house" must just be in providing a way to tie into the house, while simultaneously cutting the connection to the grid. Unless you have a bunch of electrics that can supply the whole grid quadrant with power, but that seems even farther fetched, given the scenario of a power outage and a temp solution.
Have you guys seen the new "secure power supply" units that solar providers are beginning to offer. I'm not really sold on them, although I think it's a fabulous idea to be able to use the power coming off of your solar panels when the grid is down... to be able to power a low demand device via a regular 110v outlet. 1500watts isn't fabulous, but it's something, eh? http://youtu.be/fF461YYNbtw
 

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The answer you all are looking for is a PTO powered generator like 1000's of farmers use not a dyno or treadmill. Do a search on Ebay and you will see plenty of them. Now all you need to do is jack up car, pull off a wheel and engineer yourself an adaptor that bolts on where wheel used to be. As efficient as tapping into the high voltage? Nope. But a whole lot easier and GM would be none the wiser so no warranty concerns although you will rack up "miles" so you would want it geared as high as the Volts available torque could handle so as to keep the "speed" and thus "miles" down. Of course now all you have is a big gas fired generator which you could just buy.... lol

So full circle we come to where tapping off the high voltage would be awesome but probably not for the average DYI!

Best available answer right now is 1500watt invertor on 12V side.
 
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