Build a "battery cart" to charge our 2015 PiP?

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by wsalopek, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. wsalopek

    wsalopek Junior Member

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    We live in a condo complex and the HOA doesn't want to put in any chargers...nor even simple 110 volt outlets in the garage...we've even offered to pay for it.

    Anyway...

    I'm thinking about a battery cart...mounting up, oh, 2 to 4 car batteries, with an inverter, on a dolly.

    I know this is not a graceful solution, but it's about all I have right now...I'd roll the cart into our condo, charge it up, and roll it back out to the car.

    What I need help with is the math...how many car batteries...or whatever other battery type might be appropriate, including perhaps building something out of 18650's (which I've done building quadcopter / drones) do I need to do a full charge on our 2015 PiP?

    Am I right in assuming 3.8kwh is the full charge? That would mean if I had an 85% efficient(?) inverter, I'd need about 4.5kwh of batteries...but since I'd want a bunch of charge cycles on those batteries, I'd wanna use perhaps no more than 80%(?) of their charge capacity, meaning I'd need 5.6kwh of battery capacity.

    So...what's the formula for converting car batteries, or 18650's, or whatever, to kwh? I think I've read that the average car battery has about 1kwh...is that right? So I'd need perhaps 6 car batteries. But then maybe that would be draining them all the way down? And of course that's not what I want to do for longevity. So maybe I'd need 8 batteries? Yikes...kinda heavy.

    Thanks...

    --

    Bill
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you would need a hummer size battery :cool:

    btw, youre not the first to ask :)
     
  3. Pluggo

    Pluggo Active Member

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    It doesn't look good for you. Ask yourself, How long can a 1500/1800 watt inverter run at full load off of one battery? You need to run at that load for just over 2 hours. You might do better by shaming the HOA with a petition, if not a lawsuit.
     
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  4. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Assuming that this is your daily commuter......Is there any chance of charging at the OTHER end ??

    Then.....given that this is California.....is the cost of electricity REALLY that much less than gas ?
    Enough so to justify turning this into a battle ?

    There might be rules requiring that they accommodate a "normal" outlet with an individual meter but do the math and be sure it would be worth it in the long run.

    I think your "solution" currently under consideration is penny wise and pound foolish.
    You would have to drive a LOT of miles with a SUBSTANTIAL electric saving to recoup the cost of your "cart".
     
  5. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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  7. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Car batteries do not have a good cycle life in this sort of use. Other sorts of batteries (RV, marine, golf cart?, off-grid solar system) are better built for such use.

    I'll vote for charging at the other end of your regular commute or shopping trips.
     
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  8. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    Have you reminded them of California Civil Code § 4745? As explained in one law firm’s summary, you would have to provide insurance and meet certain other requirements, but if you have a designated parking space, an association can’t prohibit you from installing EV charging equipment at your own expense.
     
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  9. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    There are unfortunately no easy solutions to your dilemma.

    Question: Is there any way that you could run an extension cord from your condo, if so how long would that cord need to be ?


    Rob43
     
  10. 4est

    4est Active Member

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    Pip usable battery is 2.4 kwh. So you need about 3kwh portable battery.

    You could buy a volt battery section (4kwh). Should be 600usd or less
    And a photovoltaic inverter
    Weight will be under 100kg.
    And not too big either
     
  11. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    As @sam spade 2 points out, the additional conversion losses and the cost of the batteries and related equipment might well outweigh any environmental or economic benefits from recharging the car’s battery.

    Consider, too, the risks of a home-made battery cart and the association’s likely response. Such a device would have the electrical and chemical hazards of a large battery pack, but without the safety features or carefully-validated design of a mass-market electrified vehicle. A lithium-ion battery section (PDF) from a Chevrolet Volt, as @4est kindly suggests, is fine when it’s installed in the Volt, but otherwise, it’s a fairly dangerous object, whose use and storage are quite properly regulated by both condominium associations and public authorities.

    Battery carts exist, of course, but they’re generally used for other purposes; here’s one meant for starting aircraft engines: POWERVAMP COOLSPOOL 130 28V DC BATTERY RAMP CART | Aircraft Spruce
     
  12. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I'm with @sam spade 2. This cart is going to cost you more money and do worse things to your environment than if you just burnt more gas.
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    that might be a first
     
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how about a swappable salvage pip battery?;)
     
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  15. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Have the forklift ready for the swap ;).

    Cause lifting that yourself would be a bad idea (y).
     
  16. Sarge

    Sarge Active Member

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    Just to add, My ChargePoint Home reports between 2.6KWh and 2.7KWh on a full charge from a depleted battery in my 2014 PiP.

    That said, I agree with the comment above that any additional cost to charge the PiP above “Free” will never make financial sense, given how small the battery is and how efficient the ICE is in Hybrid mode. With the hydro and gas prices where I live, I estimate it saves me $1 per day/charge (most days I charge only once overnight, almost always drive beyond EV range), which is peanuts, really. There are a few shopping centres and IKEAs around that offer free charging and I take advantage of those, but if there is a “charge to charge” I don’t bother. But I drive it because I like the HOV privileges, tech, reliability, and it is just the right thing to do. (y)

    In fact, to this date (almost 4 years), we have never paid a penny (publicly) to charge our Leaf either. Always charge at home or use a free public charger.:whistle: The PiP is our travelling car. :cool:
     
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  17. 4est

    4est Active Member

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    Plug in prius has to be changed for the pleasure of driving EV, not for the money being saved
     
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  18. Deoc

    Deoc Junior Member

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    You best option is to either charge the car at any free charging stations or just move to a different place where there are not hoa and u are able to install a charger, depending where u live charging isn't really much cheaper than gas, in order to do the battery cart you would need a good quality inverter 2000-3000 watts, car batteries won't work because they won't last long so you would need lithium batteries, if you use 18650 batteries you will need good quality ones that cost about 3-4 dollars each wich have the best energy density, at least 400 of those plus you need to put them together to get 12v for the inverter, you are talking about $2,000 plus having to move the cart everytime u need to charge, and u electricity has to be really cheap, by the way if you want to avoid doing it your self there is a company that sells a 3000 watts portable generator that uses lithium batteries instead of gas, look for ego 56v generator.
     
    #18 Deoc, Nov 30, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
  19. wsalopek

    wsalopek Junior Member

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    Wow guys thanks for all those responses. PRIUSchat comes thru again.

    So what I am hearing is that a battery cart is not a good idea, certainly not with car batteries, and in any case would cost about $2000 and be rather big and even a bit dangerous and run into HOA problems of it's own.

    There is a 110 outlet about 130 feet away, and I could actually route the extension cord where it's 99% invisible and out of the way...but knowing this HOA, I don't think that's good enough...that said, yes, it could be worth a try, esp all things considered.

    I'm also hearing that maybe I can pursue some sort of California state laws/requirements and/or some other legal option...I'll look more into that.

    I like the looks/price of that ego 56v "generator"...but it looks like they do maybe 1.3kwh per $1000.

    As far as charging away from home...yes, this is my wife's car and she's out all day seeing clients...she has Plugshare installed on her phone, and while she's on the phone or doing paperwork between clients, she can be plugged in. (BTW, do you suggest PlugShare as the best app to find free charging locations?) That said, we don't mind paying, we are trying more to do-the-right-thing, as opposed to actually saving money, but of course saving money would be great too.

    We pay about 15.6 cents per kwh for electricity...(and no discount for overnite charging)...so that's about, what, 2.7 x 15.6 = 42 cents per charge, for say, 11 miles, = 3.8 cents per mile, gasoline here is right about $4.00/gallon (yikes!), so to go that same distance on gas, at 45mpg, would be about 97 cents. So yes, there's a cost savings here.

    OK so what next...I'll research the laws, that extension cord, and a good directory of charging locations, preferably free locations.

    Thanks all...

    --

    Bill
     
  20. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Toyota warns against extension cords in part because they worry you will use too thin wire and start a fire. They also worry about a voltage drop in the wire, and bigger wire helps that as well. For a long extension cord I would want you to use 10 gauge wire. (Lower number wire is bigger wire) Too long a cord is better than multiple cords as the much of the voltage drop happens at the connectors.
    www.amazon.com/Lighted-Extension-Outdoor-Jacket-LifeSupplyUSA/dp/B06ZZ75CJZ

    I did not find 130 feet but I did find 200 feet.

    These guys may custom build a cord for you for about $250 I would be VERY sure how long I wanted it!

    Heavy Duty Contractor Extension Cords Factory Direct

    Again you want 5-15P plug and a 5-15C outlet, black 10/3 SOW cable, (Severe service, Oil resistant, Weather proof) and 150 feet or so.

    I have no idea how many years it would take to save enough electricity to pay for the cord. If they question why it needs to be 10/3, explain that it takes full power for 5.5 hours to charge the car and you do not want heat build up.
     
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