Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

jayholden
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Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:17 pm
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Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

Hey everyone, my wife just turned over the keys to her 24kWh 2013 Leaf S to me and I'm wondering about the best way to extend the range of the car. I've been driving it a couple of weeks, researched all the mileage-savings tips and advice, but at the end of my commute to and from work I'm frequently making it home on two or three dashes. Minor battery degradation over the next several months and the desire to turn on my AC when temps rise to 100F+ this summer has me worried the car won't work out for the next 18 months while I save up for my next vehicle. So, I've been researching ways to increase the car's range.

Searching for a solution led me to a battery-powered electric generator like this one https://www.homedepot.com/p/EGO-56V-300 ... /305092922 that I would run to recharge part of the Leaf battery while it's parked and I'm at work. I'd recharge the generator batteries along with the car overnight.

The generator says it outputs 2,000 watts of power and total capacity is 30Ah, which at 120V is 3.6kWh. That would provide an additional ~13 miles of range with the AC on. Total cost of this system would be about \$1,700. Two questions:
1) At 2k watts, would the generator put out as much electricity as the regular 120V outlet in my garage at my home? The power output is the measure I'm confused about.
2) Does anyone have experience with a similar solution? I've seen some highly complex trunk setups but they seem like they're beyond my technical expertise.

LeftieBiker
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Re: Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

It's just too small. Also, your estimate of the available energy is a BIT too high. Your best bet for modest range extension is to do things like inflate the tires to 44psi and minimize both acceleration and speed while driving. The Leaf is most efficient at something like 12-17MPH, so if you are driving at 65MPH now, dropping to 55 will net you a handful of miles.
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Nubo
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Re: Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

jayholden wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:27 pm

1) At 2k watts, would the generator put out as much electricity as the regular 120V outlet in my garage at my home? The power output is the measure I'm confused about.
Yes, Level 1 charging from 120V is typically around 1400 watts.

HOWEVER, your estimate of the total power is way off. 30AH refers to the unit's batteries at 56V, not the 120V output. At best, the unit's batteries are going to have about 1.6kWh of energy. Some of that is lost by the inverter when converting to 120V AC. Running a heavy load will reduce the amount of useable energy significantly further. And charging inefficiency will chop off another 30% or so of what's left. I doubt you would get over 1kW added to your LEAF battery with this method.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

jayholden
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Re: Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

LeftieBiker wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:39 pm
It's just too small. Also, your estimate of the available energy is a BIT too high. Your best bet for modest range extension is to do things like inflate the tires to 44psi and minimize both acceleration and speed while driving. The Leaf is most efficient at something like 12-17MPH, so if you are driving at 65MPH now, dropping to 55 will net you a handful of miles.
Thanks for your reply! At this point altering my driving habits is unfortunately out of the question. I used to drive a Prius and I'm well-acquainted with hypermiling, and I do as much of that as possible on the roads I'm on. To go slower I'd have to resort to using frontage/feeder roads which would tack an additional 20-30 minutes onto my 50-minutes-one-way commute.
Nubo wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:50 pm

Yes, Level 1 charging from 120V is typically around 1400 watts.

HOWEVER, your estimate of the total power is way off. 30AH refers to the unit's batteries at 56V, not the 120V output. At best, the unit's batteries are going to have about 1.6kWh of energy. Some of that is lost by the inverter when converting to 120V AC. Running a heavy load will reduce the amount of useable energy significantly further. And charging inefficiency will chop off another 30% or so of what's left. I doubt you would get over 1kW added to your LEAF battery with this method.
Thank you, that's good information and I see my mistake.

Followup:
1) Is there anything fundamentally harebrained about what this guy is doing? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxgzOP8 ... e=youtu.be
2) I saw an Australian company selling battery-based range extensions for Leafs but I'm unclear on whether the company is still around. Are there other companies doing the same thing?

BillHolz
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Re: Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

The inverter in the URL comes with 2 7.5Ah 56V batteries and can take an additional 2 of the same size for an additional \$700. Total Wh is 4 x 7.5 x 56 = 1680 Wh. Given all the inefficiencies in the system you would not even get 1 KWh into your battery. Simply finding even a level 2 EVSE on plugshare.com that is on your route would provide the 4 miles that this solution might provide in less than 15 minutes.

Having places to charge along the way already mapped out for those few times in the year that are too hot or cold to make the trip is much cheaper than this type of solution.
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Oilpan4
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Re: Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

Easy answer is get a 30, 40 or 62kwh battery.

I made my self a 0.6kwh battery out of LiFePO4 prizmatics with 2,000w xantrex inverter to run a welder, grinder or bandsaw.
It's a waste of time to try and battery power a battery powered car with an inverter.
My big 5kwh battery in my garage is a 24v warehouse tug battery. It weighs nearly 600lb.
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bobkart
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Re: Using a battery-powered generator to extend Leaf range?

jayholden wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:01 pm
Is there anything fundamentally harebrained about what this guy is doing? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxgzOP8 ... e=youtu.be
I've been charging my Leaf from a couple of solar panels in the back yard for a month and a half now. Through some batteries and an inverter, similar to what he's doing in that video.

I've considered mounting one of the panels on the roof but so far haven't moved in that direction. Depending on how much battery you put in the back, 10-20 miles of range is achievable, but unless you have an expensive inverter (and battery rate to match), L2 charge rates aren't an option, so expect 2-3 hours of charging time to achieve that much extra range.

Here's a video I made demonstrating this idea.