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Old 07-22-2021, 10:02 AM   #1
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Using electric car's battery for power while boondocking

I've been looking at used Class C's and I had a thought and I'm not sure if it would work but it intrigues me.


I have an electric car that I would bring along as a TOAD. It got me thinking about finding a way to use the 64kW battery in my car to provide power for boondocking. Anyone else do or think about doing this? I'd have to figure out the best way to tap into my car's battery but other than that I think this would work well.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:14 AM   #2
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No idea but I suspect it may not be easy to find an inverter to run off the EV battery voltage, which will be higher then 12v.

Any idea what the battery voltage is in your car?
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:18 AM   #3
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The systems within the car run off of 12V just like any other car. Things like the instrument cluster, backup camera radio etc. The traction battery ( the battery the drives the wheels) is 356 volts. I'd either need a big DC-DC converter or find out how much power the 12V systems can produce.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:21 AM   #4
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The new Hyundai IONIQ 5 has this exact function; the car includes an adapter that plugs into the car’s chart port and outputs 120V power (15A?). Pretty cool.

Edit: on my tesla I just use a generic 12V to 120V inverter in the cigarette lighter for this purpose when boondocking but it only puts out 180W or thereabouts.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:28 AM   #5
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I was just thinking this. Some EVs can be used as a backup power source at home during power failures. Im not sure if mine can so this.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:38 AM   #6
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I was just thinking this. Some EVs can be used as a backup power source at home during power failures. Im not sure if mine can so this.
I have been reading of some advancements in this area in the past couple of months... I bet something, if not here already will be available at some time...
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:15 AM   #7
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I was just thinking this. Some EVs can be used as a backup power source at home during power failures. Im not sure if mine can so this.
I seriously doubt an EV is a viable backup power source for your house. After several hours of AC power demand the life would be sucked out of the battery and you have no way to recharge it. You can't rob Peter to pay Paul.
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:19 AM   #8
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My car has a 75 kWh battery pack and I only need about 20 kWh of it for a few days of commuting, grocery runs, and so forth.

It would take me a LONG time to burn down 50 kWh of spare power in the car running the fridge, lights and entertainment devices in my house to make it through a power outage. If I were particularly careful I might make it five days.

A useful feature in an emergency.
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Old 07-22-2021, 12:28 PM   #9
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Be careful how you tow it. A Tesla towed with all wheels on the ground will be in "regen" mode which make your Class C feel like it is towing a cement truck.
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Old 07-22-2021, 12:30 PM   #10
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Be careful how you tow it. A Tesla towed with all wheels on the ground will be in "regen" mode which make your Class C feel like it is towing a cement truck.

It would be on a dolly.
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Old 07-22-2021, 12:38 PM   #11
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I bought a Nissan Leaf in 2012. At that time, one of the chargers available would use the EV to backfeed the AC panel in the house. Something like that may still be available. But, if you do that, you need to ensure that you have a way to open the main panel breakers so you don't backfeed power onto the grid. I didn't see the need at the time since the Leaf had a relatively small battery, and I have a backup generator...

Yes, the electric car accessories run off 12 volts. But, this accessory power is from a small deep-cycle battery - not the huge motive battery. Generally, the accessory battery is smaller than one you would use in an RV, and is not connected to the motive battery..

I hope you have an appropriate method to tow your EV behind the coach. I haven't found one yet that is flat-towable. The Rivian is supposed to be flat-towable, but it's not available yet. I just sold my Leaf, and purchased a Tesla Model Y. The Y is only towable on a full trailer...

Unless you have access to the technical drawings for your specific EV, and are an experienced Power Systems Design Engineer, I would highly recommend not trying to hack a solution. You're dealing with a LOT of power, and a significant investment in the EV and your house. Stuff likes to explode and burn at these power levels if done improperly...
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Old 07-22-2021, 12:49 PM   #12
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Dumb question

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Originally Posted by timfromma View Post
I've been looking at used Class C's and I had a thought and I'm not sure if it would work but it intrigues me.


I have an electric car that I would bring along as a TOAD. It got me thinking about finding a way to use the 64kW battery in my car to provide power for boondocking. Anyone else do or think about doing this? I'd have to figure out the best way to tap into my car's battery but other than that I think this would work well.
Maybe a dumb question, but isn't this function already available on the electric F-150?
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Old 07-22-2021, 01:03 PM   #13
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The F-150 has an option for a decent-sized inverter generator (9600 watts if I recall correctly) that is integrated into the vehicle. It's a slick idea, but it's simply a generator that runs off the truck's fuel supply.

Don't know if it's available on the electric F-150...
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Old 07-22-2021, 01:08 PM   #14
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Maybe a dumb question, but isn't this function already available on the electric F-150?
It is on the 2021 F150 Powerboost (hybrid). Available with up to 7.2kW output at 230/115V. I have one but not yet used the AC output.
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Old 07-22-2021, 03:34 PM   #15
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Yes, the electric car accessories run off 12 volts. But, this accessory power is from a small deep-cycle battery - not the huge motive battery. Generally, the accessory battery is smaller than one you would use in an RV, and is not connected to the motive battery.



This is not entirely true. Yes, there is a small automotive style battery under the hood that provides power to the accessories but it is charged from the main battery much like an alternator charges the battery in a gas powered car. This battery would die rather quickly otherwise.
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Old 07-22-2021, 03:53 PM   #16
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Maybe a dumb question, but isn't this function already available on the electric F-150?
Yes it is, but the same problem exists. It is still a battery and at some point you know what it is going to need. Plus the older it gets the less it performs.
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:52 PM   #17
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Using electric car's battery for power while boondocking

The Hybrid F150 which is called the powerboost has as an option a 7200 KW generation system that can power a house for roughly 32 hours on a full tank of gas. It will automatically start the engine to regenerate the lithium battery which is under the bed of the truck. It can supply voltage to your Travel trailer but not with the 240 volt plug that you would use to power your house. You would have to use one of the four 110 volt outlets to power your trailer. I just got the 2021 Platinum F150 and all I can say is WOW!!
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:00 PM   #18
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The Hybrid F150 which is called the powerboost has as an option a 7200 KW generation system that can power a house for roughly 32 hours on a full tank of gas. It will automatically start the engine to regenerate the lithium battery which is under the bed of the truck. It can supply voltage to your Travel trailer but not with the 240 volt plug that you would use to power your house. You would have to use one of the four 110 volt outlets to power your trailer. I just got the 2021 Platinum F150 and all I can say is WOW!!
How many kw per hour for the 32 hours? How many gallons is the fuel burn when you say full tank?
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:05 PM   #19
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The tank holds 30.6 gallons of gas. According to Ford Motor Company it will run at full 7200KW for 32 hours. When the tank gets low it automatically shuts down with enough fuel so you can get to a gas station and fill up. I have heard that if you are just using a small amount of the system for say just a refrigerator and a couple of lights it can go much further than 32 hours. This information is not from me, this is from Ford. I have hooked up my welder to this rig and it works great.
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:35 PM   #20
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It sounds like expensive power. Say it uses 25 gallons leaving 5 gallons to get to a station. In CA @ $4 per gallon thats $100. For 32 hours! Elsewhere using $3. Per gallon itís $75 for 32 hours, still pricey. In CA they shutdown the grid for 1-5 days if it is windy and dry. That could be really expensive.
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