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Using Your EV or PHEV as Backup Power

Old version of Converdant’s Prius inverter in the trunk of the Whitchurch’s Prius. Courtesy photo.

Barbara and Greg Whitchurch

Some of you may remember an amazing inverter kit from a New Hampshire company called Converdant, which consisted of a 2,500- or 5,000-watt inverter for the Prius. We bought the 2,500-watt version, which allowed us to use our Prius as a generator for offsite power and for powering our house when the grid was down. Of course, the car engine would only run when the big “traction” battery got low, and then it would recharge the battery while still running the attached loads and then shut off again automatically. But then the company owner retired and stopped offering the product. However, he’s now coming back at www.PlugoutPower.com/ with a new, improved product, which can tap into hybrids or pure EVs.

This is great news for homeowners, builders and others who want to use their vehicles for 120-volt to 240-volt AC applications, such as power tools, outdoor concerts, home backup, camping, etc. Whereas a couple of Tesla power walls could get you around 20 kWh of home backup, the typical EV has a battery two to three times that size, and when necessary after days of use, can be driven to a charger to be recharged.

Randy Bryan, the owner of Plugout Power, manufactured the earlier version for six years, and while the new product is not out yet, we look forward to getting ours. Early reservations are possible, and we’ve already reserved two (one for our Kia Niro EV, and one for our daughter’s Nissan Leaf). Stay tuned and we’ll let you know how they work out!

Barb and Greg Whitchurch, having moved on from gas mobiles and hybrids, power their Nissan LEAF and Kia Niro EV with solar PV from their roof at their passive house in Middlesex, VT.

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