Backup plan for electrical grid failure?

Discussion in 'BEV or Battery Electric Vehicle' started by MPGee, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. MPGee

    MPGee Active Member

    Hi all,

    Owners of battery electric vehicles: What's your plan for if/when your area experiences an extended electrical grid failure?

    I've only owned traditional ICE vehicles, but recently rented a BMW i3 with range extender. I've really enjoyed driving it, and it's made me consider BEV's. Biggest rub is that I'm not crazy about the idea of owning two vehicles, and I really wonder what would I do if the grid went down for an extended period... Earthquakes are a part of life in Southern California.

    Is it possible to charge an EV with a portable electrical generator in a reasonable amount of time? Has anyone tested this?

    I'm guessing in a natural disaster, gasoline might be more attainable than electricity - especially enough electricity to replenish a BEV.

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  2. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    An EV can be recharged from a generator. Time depends on generator output and 110V charging restrictions on the EV side. A model S gets 3-4 miles range per hour of 110V charging. A Leaf would be fully charged in 10-16 hours. The BMW i3 in about 20 hours.

    You could carry a generator and gas with you and charge any time you were stopped.

    Not at all a convenient solution, but it would definitely work.

    The i3 range extender, while nerfing the performance, would essentially eliminate the concern.
    BillLin likes this.
  3. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    "EV purists" see oil as the enemy,... something that needs to be wiped out immediately, ...
    But oil will most likely be with us for many decades, if not centuries, ... and is not the true enemy.

    === I could go on for a few pages.....
    /I like to think great possibilities lie in the future of efficiency, mixed fuel/power sources, ..and the awesome "power of integration" that we now possess.

    //be that as it may (or may not) be, ... oil looks to be in tight supply over the next few years, and any type of "alternative" or efficient transportation may start to look pretty good soon. (m2c)

    ///and back to your question, .. with today's options -- why not a Honda generator, stored in the garage and started up quarterly just make sure everything's in order?
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    BillLin likes this.
  4. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Using a typical gasoline powered generator as a backup for EV recharging would be terrible from a philosophical point of view. It's pretty bad from an efficiency and environmental point of view, too. In case of an extended disaster, just go rent or borrow an ICE car if you want to have an EV as your one and only vehicle. At least there are pollution controls on the ICE car.

    I like the idea of a Honda generator if going that route, especially the small ones that have pure sine wave power output. I also prefer gas-powered generators (CNG, propane,...) over gasoline or diesel powered ones.

    For those with the means, I'd suggest a fully, off-grid capable system (solar PV, wind power, whatever...) with battery backup.
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  5. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    How can an ICE car pump gasoline - if there is an extended power outage?
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  6. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    That's not a difficult problem to solve. :)
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  7. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    I agree! Ultimate solution is solar with battery backup. Plenty of food, water and bullets and your set!
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  8. MPGee

    MPGee Active Member

    Lol. My dad or someone mentioned this point...

    I'm wondering how many gas stations have a backup generator. Not many, if any at all. Can't say that they don't have fuel... Another good point someone mentioned is that he doubts whether or not gas stations have the wiring done in such a way that they could even be run off of a generator. Hmm...

    All good food for thought.

    I was thinking if I had a gas generator, that could also be handy for keeping the food cold.

    Thanks all.
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  9. MPGee

    MPGee Active Member

    Well this whole matter came to mind again with all of the fire and PSPS (Public Safety Power Shut-offs) going on here in Southern California.

    Yeaaaa... all of this hullabaloo rather cements what I've got in my head: That we're not ready for a fully electrified world... at least for households with only one vehicle. I've been toying w/ the idea of an electric generator for the refrigerators, but the idea of another piece of equipment to maintain does not thrill me.

    We'll see how this goes...
    BillLin likes this.
  10. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member


    " What the world economy needs is a variety of different energy types that match the energy requirements of the many devices in place in the world today. This energy needs to be transported to the right place and saved for the right time of day and the right time of year. There may even be a need to store this energy from year-to-year, because of possible droughts."

    Renewable Energy's Inconvenient Truth
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