Anonymous asked in EnvironmentAlternative Fuel Vehicles · 3 years ago

Best backup generator for EV?

I'm looking to do a road trip in my 2013 24kWh Nissan Leaf SL. I know, I know, I know! It has a limited range and isn't meant for long distance driving and it will take up to 21 hours to level 1 charge, 4 hours to level 2 charge and 30 minutes to level 3 charge and then only go 84 miles or less. Yes, I'm fully aware of that.

But, I'm using PlugShare and the NissanConnect EV's Route Planner to figure out how I can take a 225 mile road trip (one way. It's 450 miles total) by taking my time and charging along the way. There seem to be enough places to Level 2 charge from (no DC quick charges around) in order get to where I'm going. But a few are kind of far in between, and most towns around here only have one place to charge from, if any, meaning that if that charging spot is down I could find myself in a pickle.

So I want a good backup generator just in case. I don't want to spend a lot of money, but I would find a 240V generator more useful (which would add a mile worth of charge every couple of minutes of charging.) compared to a 120V generator (which would add a mile of charge every 15 minutes.)

I'm guessing I'd probably need an inverter (clean sine wave) generator? I was thinking a propane generator would be best (no gasoline smell in car). Where do they sell those?

I saw the Honda 7000EU. Also a similar Power House generator that's half the price. The Honda is fuel injected but maybe the Power House could be converted to propane?

And ideas would be helpful.


2 Answers

  • 3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First congrats on owning an electric car. But now you have the challenge of taking one over a distance. In my 4 day test drive of an EV I was able to travel some distance as I charged the vehicle overnight. You are in a more challenging situation as you are also trying to do the trip as quickly as possible.

    The absolute quickest way to do this would be to charge the vehicle as you drive. This would likely require a genset trailer. While you can have one custom made and there are a number of manufacturers who have proposed making them there doesn't presently seem to be any commercial models available: in addition you would have to overcome the inbuilt safety that prevents the vehicle from moving while it is charging. The genset on the trailer pictured puts out about 20KW. A leaf requires about .34KWh / mile. A leaf traveling at 60 mph would travel 60 miles in an hour and require about (.34 x 60 = ) 20.4 KW generator for continuous travel

    The actual charger, an AC to DC converter that allows you to charge the batteries at the proper voltage DC is built into the car and is not part of the power supply for type I and type II public or private "chargers." Most generators will put out AC power at 120 volts usually with a 15 or 20 amp limit and a 240 volt with a a 30 amp limit. A rare few generators will have a DC output. A generator with a sufficient output Charging might give you a Level III charge.

    The charger on the Leaf will suck up a peak of about 12 amps of power with a level 1 charge. You will have to look up the level II charge as I don't know it off the top of my head. But you would want a generator that has sufficient capacity to provide that kind of continuous load. A "6000 watt" generator could theoritically provide (6000/240 = ) 25 amps of power but this is not going to be its "continuous load rating" which is more likely to be be 15 amps at 240 volts. (quite likely too low for the Leaf charger)

    Many generators could be converted to propane. I would look for one first that had a natural gas conversion and then see if there is a propane alternative.

    And then there is the question of cost. If you think this is going to be cheaper than renting a car or maybe even more batteries you may be surprised. To make it economical you may have to consider what other goals you may have in mind for purchasing a generator. An electric construction truck with a built in generator that could be used on the construction site might make some economic or business sense. (as might a carport with solar panels built into a charging system. ) The "best" generator might then be one that fit those other goals in the best possible way.

    • Lv 5
      3 years agoReport

      Thanks! Even a 6kW genset would get me along farther than stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    Seriously, rent a car.

    • Lv 5
      3 years agoReport


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