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Sharing home L2 charging with others during blackouts

MightyHawk

Member
Aug 20, 2019
52
61
Boston
Winter is approaching and with it come the possibility of ice storms and downed power lines. A major storm can knock out power for hundreds of thousands of people in an area, perhaps for days. Likewise, many EV owners in California affected by the rolling blackouts have had to scramble to find places to plug in. While Tesla has an extensive SuperCharger network, I suspect those can become overwhelmed in a widespread outage.

This will be my first winter with an EV. With these potential power outages in mind, I was wondering if there is any kind of informal sharing where someone with an L2 charging system at home (and power, obviously) makes that connection available to those without power.

My HPWC can typically top up my Model 3 after my daily commute in about an hour, meaning that it is idle about 95% of each weekday, and often unused completely on weekends. If there is a widespread outage near my home, I will happily make my HPWC available to others.

Have any long-term EV owners experienced a widescale regional blackout? What did you do?
 
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user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
875
US
I think Californians underestimate the power of a NG/gasoline/propane generator to help them charge their Tesla and run their home in a blackout. Its not like 40% their power doesn't already come from natural gas.

For you in Boston and me in CT, we loose power about once every 30 years, except maybe for 1 day. Doesn't even make sense to think about it.
 

MightyHawk

Member
Aug 20, 2019
52
61
Boston
You have just described one of the reasons people enroll their home charger outlet into Plugshare.
Thanks. I think this is one of those things that early EV adopters just knew and depended upon, but that newcomers to EVs like me are unaware of because of home charging and the extensive SuperCharger network.

For you in Boston and me in CT, we loose power about once every 30 years,
The last time I lost power for multiple days was 20 years ago. But I have had several friends lose power for days every other year it seems. It's worse in the leafy suburbs that still have above ground power lines.
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
875
US
The last time I lost power for multiple days was 20 years ago. But I have had several friends lose power for days every other year it seems. It's worse in the leafy suburbs that still have above ground power lines.

We lost power for 30+ days during Hurricane Sandy and haven't had a significant outage since. What happened, I think, is that all the weak trees were knocked over and it will be another 20-30 years for them to grow back (or die, rather). If only people would proactively cut trees... none of these problems would exist.
 

JPP

Active Member
Feb 4, 2013
3,078
1,326
SF Bay Area, CA
I think Californians underestimate the power of a NG/gasoline/propane generator to help them charge their Tesla and run their home in a blackout. Its not like 40% their power doesn't already come from natural gas.

For you in Boston and me in CT, we loose power about once every 30 years, except maybe for 1 day. Doesn't even make sense to think about it.

In CA one must consider the reliability of the source of fuel for the generator. Natural gas is great until the earthquake disrupts the lines. In many communities in CA they heavily regulate on site fuel storage. So no large propane tank for me unless I have big setbacks from house and property line. We are in the ‘new normal’ of long PG&E power shut offs. During the last 5 day one I kept a 9000w dual fuel (propane and gasoline) generator running, shuttling to an available powered propane dealer (you need electricity to fill propane tanks, like you need electricity to pump gasoline). After due consideration, I have 2 Powerwalls on order for installation before 1/1/2020, to add to 16 kW of solar. Theoretically I can be independent from the grid (in a reduced mode with no AC) for a very extended period of time.

For those of you with no risk of natural gas supply disruption, then, yes, that makes sense. Not so much for me.
 
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user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
875
US
In CA one must consider the reliability of the source of fuel for the generator. Natural gas is great until the earthquake disrupts the lines. In many communities in CA they heavily regulate on site fuel storage. So no large propane tank for me unless I have big setbacks from house and property line. We are in the ‘new normal’ of long PG&E power shut offs. During the last 5 day one I kept a 9000w dual fuel (propane and gasoline) generator running, shuttling to an available powered propane dealer (you need electricity to fill propane tanks, like you need electricity to pump gasoline). After due consideration, I have 2 Powerwalls on order for installation before 1/1/2020, to add to 16 kW of solar. Theoretically I can be independent from the grid (in a reduced mode with no AC) for a very extended period of time.

For those of you with no risk of natural gas supply disruption, then, yes, that makes sense. Not so much for me.

Solar + batteries is definitely the best way for an extended blackout or off-grid. Fuel storage is dirty, but it is the quick/cheap/temporary solution.

Is PowerWall really that available now that you can just order it and get it installed by January? Even before the blackouts it was not very available.
 

JPP

Active Member
Feb 4, 2013
3,078
1,326
SF Bay Area, CA
Solar + batteries is definitely the best way for an extended blackout or off-grid. Fuel storage is dirty, but it is the quick/cheap/temporary solution.

Is PowerWall really that available now that you can just order it and get it installed by January? Even before the blackouts it was not very available.

So we had our 1st relatively short PSPS a month ago. I ‘woke up’ and realized that this was not going to be a single event. So at that time I went to my Tesla account (which has our 2 Teslas) which has our solar account (we installed a Solar City system in 2013, now absorbed by Tesla). I just ordered 2 Powerwalls on line. Authorized my $99 deposit. Got a fast reply from our Las Vegas rep. Filled out the on line form with lots of photos of meter, panels, disconnects, inverters, AC compressors, etc. Since our solar is with Tesla, they have our plans and electrical drawings. After about a week I got an update that our project is in the permitting process. Hopefully this will go quickly. But no indication that the Powerwalls are unavailable. And Tesla has an incentive to book the installation/sale before EOQ/EOY. And additionally the CA building codes are changing to make Powerwalls installation more difficult.

Oh and after the 2nd long PSPS a couple of weeks ago, like everyone is jumping on line to order solar and Powerwalls. One of my partners in the SF Bay Area put in his order, and on the Tesla order page, there is a box to check if you have been affected by the PSPS. He was and is, and checked the box. He is already in design with Tesla and they are looking at a solar roof and not just panels.

So maybe Tesla has streamlined the whole process and is able to fulfill early demand (...but now here in CA they will be booked out for a very long time).
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
875
US
So we had our 1st relatively short PSPS a month ago. I ‘woke up’ and realized that this was not going to be a single event.

Oh and after the 2nd long PSPS a couple of weeks ago, like everyone is jumping on line to order solar and Powerwalls.

Its funny because I am here in CT and I could tell that from the first news article headline that these outages were going to be regular and possibly frequent. Trying to convey that to a few "let me power my house from my car" people, but good to know that the longer the outages last the more they will self-correct.

I bet a lot of people just came home and the power was off.
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
875
US
Wow, that’s a very long time. That must have been a major adjustment. Did you stay at home or did it get too cold?

Coincidentally, I already had travel plans, so only experienced a week of it. I don't know anyone who left just because of the temperature - after all it was only electricity that was off and not very much would have been needed to start the gas furnaces except some skilled wiring to a generator.

I didn't ask in detail how hard it was, but we were around the house with winter coats and you only need a few extra blankets to survive the night. I think it stayed just above freezing in the low temp.
 

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