Can An EV Be Charge With A Generator? Not What You Thought


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Can an EV be charged with a generator? Yes you can use a generator to charge your Ev. We tested using the Generac IQ 2000 on a Tesla Model S and found the generator charged our EV giving us six to eight miles per hour recharge. Not a great deal but good for an emergency if you got stck. This is how we did it.


We tested the Honda EU2000I versus the Generac IQ 2000 charging on none other than a Tesla Model S. Yes, I know it's sacrilege charging an electric car off of a gas generator.

However, if your off-grid camping and you don't have a way to plug in your car, or you find you're stuck in the middle of a freeway a generator might be a good alternative to tow, especially since a generator would end up costing about as much as a tow would.

So let's see which one does a better job of charging a Model S.

Let's start with the Honda. We're going to economy mode off until the car is charging, the power demand of the car the generator to keep up initial surge.

The Honda will not be able to charge the car because we are getting the four flashes of doom. What does that mean? That means no ground present.

Now technically we can make a little adapter plug that bridges the ground and the neutral with a little resistor, that allows the UMC to detect that the ground is present and functional,

So as of right now, the UMC thinks the Honda generator is not grounded, which technically that is correct. The Honda generator design everything rounded to the actual gound. 

Herac has that however on the generator it also has a built-in neutral bridge to the ground which should theoretically solve that issue so let's see how that will not be able to test the Honda let's move on over to the generator.

We have solid green ready light so that means we should be good to go. For charging and run footer on turbo Generac on turbo let's plug in the model s and see what we get.

This car is currently charging at 5 amps at 122 volts, this is off the Generac. Now when you start your car charging off on one of these portable generators you want to start it at the lowest amperage possible, which gives the generator a chance to catch up and stabilize with the loads given.

Once it's stabilized like it is now, then you can gradually increase your charge rate and since this is technically charging off of 120-volt outlet we're going to just do the slider to 50%.

So that way the remaining charge time updates a little quicker because once it goes past 24 hours it just says 24 plus hours. So at 6 amp, it will take quite a while. 

Now remember this isn't something you can be doing regularly, this is going to be something for an emergency or off-road in the middle of nowhere type charging.

7 amp, eight amp and 9 and the Generac is keeping, up very impressive. 10amp and voltage wandered just a little bit, 11 drops and 12 amp at 120 volts.

That means we're at about 1400 and 40 watts being drawn right now and this number here takes just a little while to catch up.

The correct average charge rate is actually 1.80 miles per hour and it's actually going up, like I said those numbers are averaged and if we let this go this will actually top out at about 3.2 miles per hour.

For the fastest charging you'd want to exit the vehicle so the center screens and the rest of the vehicle go into a sleep mode, then all that would be left active would be the charging circuits.

You could squeeze a few more amps out of it if you were to use the 20 amp plug but I do not recommend it as is this is going to be a sustained load for a long period of time you don't want to go too hard on a generator.

Also, keep in mind this generator is not even broken in, I have less than one hour of runtime on it since setting it up. So now that we got that stabilized take five hours and 20 minutes to get from 44 percent to 50 percent which usually all you need is 3 to 10 miles if you're empty to make it to the nearest plug.

I mean it's not very often we're going to be that far away from civilization where you can't even plug into anything at all.

So let's move on to see what the generator has to say about all this. There's my current, amount of fuel. Indicator light says we're using approximately 80 percent of our generation capacity and we have at this load approximately two hours in 34 minutes of runtime remaining.

Now I did calculate it up earlier and if you have exactly one gallon of fuel you will be getting the equivalent of approximately 15 miles per gallon and that could go up or down by approximately three miles per gallon depending on ambient temperatures.

So you can get anywhere from 12 to 18 miles per gallon if charging solely off this Generac generator which is not bad considering that's just slightly less than what a similarly sized luxury sedan.

Let's see what happens though when we turn the engine down to standard. No real difference in runtime engine RPMs about the same yet let's turn it down see if the economy makes a difference.

And it does, I heard the engine throttled down slightly and noticeably the noise level has dropped. The run time went up two hours 36 minutes, mind you, I did not have a full tank. 

I've been playing with this for a while this morning at high loads, that's not bad considering we're using approximately 80% of our generation capacity.

Considering that things running at pretty much max almost max output a sustained output for that generator 1600 watts and we're drawing 1404 40 watts we're pretty close we're just about a hundred and sixty watts below maximum output.

So far given its ability to charge a Model S with nice clean stable outputted power it's holding a nice steady 120 volts and direct out-of-box ability to charge a Model S.

I would have to rate the Generac IQ 2000 the ideal portable generator for emergency electric vehicle use.  The only way it could be better is if it had 240 or 220-volt output.

Sy you have your nice shiny Model X and you're going to be towing a travel trailer and going on vacation you might just have two of these. Why? Because that parallel operation you can actually connect two of the Generac IQ 2000 to thousands together and doing so doubles its output capacity.

So that 1600 Watts sustained capacity turns into 3200 watts if my math right. So you can have 3200-watt output capacity using two of these and the optional parallel connection panel.

Plugging in the Model S to that now just gives you six to eight miles per hour recharge, so if you're going off-grid with your Model X or even a Model S like mine. You might if you have the cash flow to have two of these and double your power now you're living large off-grid.

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