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Charging During Power Outages

I live in an area of the Northeast that can be prone to power outages on occasion due to thunderstorms and hurricanes (pretty area, lots of trees.... lots... of... trees...), and I'm wondering what backup methods people have used/recommend in these situations? I have a couple superchargers near me on main highways so I'm sure those would still be functional, but given how 2020 is going I'd rather be prepared. :p

I've ready about charging off a generator as long as it's providing current with a pure sine wave (and Teslas won't charge if that is not the case to protect the car, or so I've read), so I figure this is an option for emergencies. A coworker suggested using a marine battery kept charged throughout the year with a trickle charger, but I can't find any instances where charging off a marine battery would work so I'm inclined to think it doesn't/might ruin the Tesla.

Powerwall/solar is not an option as I live in a condo.

Any suggestions?
 

gavine

Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast
Apr 1, 2014
2,639
2,226
Philadelphia, PA
How long is a typical outage where you live? How long is your commute? What are the chances that you'll have a flat battery right when an outage happens and have a long trip immediately after? Gas stations don't work during power outages so I guess it's not that much different with an EV, other than you don't have the luxury of charging from home during the outage (superchargers nearby).

Sorry I didn't answer your question. I don't know of any backup plans, other than solar with Powerwall.
 
How long is a typical outage where you live? How long is your commute? What are the chances that you'll have a flat battery right when an outage happens and have a long trip immediately after? Gas stations don't work during power outages so I guess it's not that much different with an EV, other than you don't have the luxury of charging from home during the outage (superchargers nearby).

Sorry I didn't answer your question. I don't know of any backup plans, other than solar with Powerwall.

No worries. My commute is about 30 miles round trip. Chances of a long trip post-outage is pretty low. The superchargers are within a 5-10 mile radius of me (I-95 corridor). Most outages last 1-2 days max, but during Superstorm Sandy we had no power for 5-6 days, tho I-95 had no issues.
 
Who's your utility? Most utilities are required by regulators to report on outage times. There are a couple different metrics for outage measurement, such as Customer Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI) and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI). That might help you get a sense of historic outage durations in the past.

Unless you're right on the Atlantic coast, the outage numbers are probably quite low. Personally I wouldn't sweat it....but if you want the security, a small gasoline generator for emergencies wouldn't be a bad idea. Just keep in mind the small generators will charge an EV very slowly.

Also, if it makes you feel better.....a lot of gas stations couldn't pump during Hurricane Sandy, either. So it's not just an EV thing. But to avoid getting totally screwed in a Sandy 2.0, get a generator and make sure you store a few gallons of fuel before the storm hits :)
 
Powerwalls are not an option as you say, though for others Tesla recently updated firmware to charge cars, during power cut, using excess solar (at lower current) when you’ve passed your defined power wall state of charge. It’s pretty awesome.

anywho, in your case - just use the super chargers. They have high availability and I wouldn’t sweat it.

dc to dc charging doesn’t work (no marine battery).

you could use high quality small generator as you say, though a couple of hours at 240V 15-20A is not many miles
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
884
US
I live in an area of the Northeast that can be prone to power outages on occasion due to thunderstorms and hurricanes (pretty area, lots of trees.... lots... of... trees...)

The last hurricane to make landfall in the Northeast was Sandy in 2012. I don't think that experience is typical, and few were able to access gasoline in those times. The northeast is absolutely not prone to hurricanes. Only super hurricanes can make it to the North Atlantic without weakening to a tropical storm. A very large number of storms pass just off shore due to the gulf stream which sends them eastward to Northern Europe.

The outages in CT from wind and thunder are transitory, and quickly fixed within a few hours. Even a 1-day power outage is not something you need to prepare your Tesla for.

I have a couple superchargers near me on main highways so I'm sure those would still be functional, but given how 2020 is going I'd rather be prepared.

I agree that the superchargers are likely to be function in a large storm. Realistically, you have more people who are asking about how they can use their car to power their house than people asking about how to have backup power for their car.


I've ready about charging off a generator as long as it's providing current with a pure sine wave (and Teslas won't charge if that is not the case to protect the car, or so I've read), so I figure this is an option for emergencies. A coworker suggested using a marine battery kept charged throughout the year with a trickle charger, but I can't find any instances where charging off a marine battery would work so I'm inclined to think it doesn't/might ruin the Tesla.

Electric cars use too much power to make any of this realistic. You are probably not familiar with the size of the car's battery and the massive amount of fuel that you would need to provide even a trivial charge. The generators that you are looking at probably would have difficulty powering a refrigerator for 24 hours.
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
884
US
I have a couple superchargers near me on main highways so I'm sure those would still be functional, but given how 2020 is going I'd rather be prepared. :p

2020 has been like that.

If you are becoming a preper, you have to have a well-balanced approach, food, guns, water, bug out vehicle, cottage in the wilderness. Or just suffer and die like the rest of us.
 

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