How to Power your House Using your Electric Car

Yes, conventionally you would charge your EV using electricity from your house, but we’re not always conventional here at Evtide. In an emergency situation, like a blackout, you can power your house using your EV. This is especially useful for those who rent and have no backup generator.

Unless you know what you’re doing, messing around with electrics and batteries can be dangerous. With that said, if you do find yourself stuck without power, these are the basic steps to take.

What You’ll Need

There are a couple of things you’ll need to make this work: a 12-volt power to mains power inverter and a correctly rated extension cord.

Here’s an example of a 1-kilowatt power inverter, which you can pick up for under $130. You should also be able to get one at your local hardware store, along with the extension cord.

Power inverter: Photo Credit – nilram08 (flicker)

Make sure the power inverter has a way to direct connect with your EV’s 12-volt battery, using either post terminal connections or heavy duty clips.

Getting Prepared

Before doing anything, you’ll need to make sure your EV’s battery is fully charged.

Setting It Up

Make sure your EV’s power is off, then locate your car’s 12-volt starter battery. Once you’ve found the battery, you’ll need to connect it to the power inverter. If you’re using clips, attach the appropriate clips to the corresponding parts on the battery.

Once you’ve clipped negative to negative and positive to positive, you can turn your car on, ensuring that it’s ready to drive. Make sure all unnecessary electronics are switched off so they’re not draining the battery. Then, plug in your extension cord into your power inverter and switch the power inverter on.

Power Usage

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you should be ready to go. How long your battery lasts will depend on three things:

  • The size of your EV’s battery.
  • What power inverter you use.
  • What appliances you power.

The average home in the U.S. consumes 29 kWh per day. So, In theory, a 24 kWh Nissan Leaf should be able to power the average American home for around 20 hours.

Be Careful

There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when doing this.

  1. If your EVs not ready to drive the traction battery pack won’t charge the 12-volt battery and you’ll run out.
  2. Make sure you don’t fully drain your EV’s battery, leave enough for you to get to your nearest charging station.

Needless to say, if you’re leaving your EV on, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on it.

One of the best things about this process is it’s not just restricted to home use. The next time you go tailgating or camping, just bring the equipment and use whatever appliances you need.

By Robert Bacon
Updated: April 18, 2017

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