With a general power cut in Taupo recently, one EV owner and dealer, Steve Greenwood of Drive EV (www.driveev.co.nz/) has been able to keep the power going at his home and office.
Using an inverter running off the traction batteries in an EV, he has available two AC power points for household appliances.
This is something that the Better NZ Trust has always said was possible. One of the common questions that we hear is: "what happens in a power cut? You can't charge your EV then can you?" It is usually asked in a slightly smug way, and it is a pleasure to actually explain how useful an EV might be in a power cut.
The 1kW inverter cost Steve's family $500, which is a lot cheaper than a diesel generator. It would be enough to get a small household through the day, provided the car was reasonably charged to begin with. In their case, they have a yard full of EVs.
Steve says, "we estimated we have 120 kWh of electricity on the car yard - enough for a few days worth."
Luckily power from the general grid came back on later that evening, so this didn't prove to be needed.
How it Works
By leaving the car on, the inverter is attached to the 12V battery, with the traction batteries supplying energy to the 12v as they normally would. The end result has been a constant 13.3 volts - enough to supply 1000 watts of power, enabling the staff at Drive EV to continue operating.