Electric4Me wrote:So, help me out here... If the power was out for an extended time, could you shut of the house's main breaker, turn on the Leaf (to keep the 12V system "connected" to the main pack), plug in a common 12V inverter, and the other end to a 120V outlet on the wall (with a male-male adapter), and run items in your house on the same 120V wiring leg? (up to the rating of the inverter & 12V plug in the car)
In theory, you could do this. In practice, not very advisable. Also the main bottleneck would probably be the DC-DC converter inside the car that generates the 12V for the cars electrical system.
GM and Chrysler have dabbled in this for some of their hybrid trucks. I think it is a great idea and I'm really surprised more hybrid and electric vehicles don't offer this sort of functionality. I know there are aftermarket kits for Prius that can tap into the car's high voltage system and generate quite a bit of power. If you think about it a hybrid can generate a lot more electricity even at idle than a regular gasoline car using a standard alternator. If you've ever looked at the cost of large portable generators, it seems like a hybrid vehicle could be a mobile generating station for emergencies. Granted the gas tank is smaller than a lot of large generators but you could carry a few cans of gas with you.
I would hope more manufacturers would start offering that feature as some sort of option on hybrid vehicles. Just think about folks who work on construction sites and what not. Great application for mobile power. My guess is that they don't like it since it racks up wear and tear on the car even though the odometer isn't actually moving.
I'm not a huge fan of using an EV for this purpose. I mean, if the power is out I have no way to charge my car. So the last thing I'm going to want to do is drain the battery in my EV and leave my powerless and stranded too. At least with a hybrid you could power your house and when you run low on gas you could hop in the car, drive to a gas station somewhere that has power, fill up, then come up and power your home some more.