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The Volt gives back

August 30th, 2014 · 6 Comments

After more than 2 years of putting electricity into my Volt, it is finally prepared to give a little electricity back.

A company sells kits that allow you to wire into the Volt and use it to generate 120 volts. You can actually do this with any car, of course, with a simple inverter. But you are limited on how much power you can draw and for how long before the battery dies.

The Volt has a robust charging system that can handle a lot more power than most cars, and if the battery starts to get low the engine will automatically start and charge it back up.

The kit will put out pure sine wave 120V, 1500 watts sustained, and handles surges of up to 3000 watts. So if the power goes off I should have enough to run my refrigerators, perhaps only one at a time, but at least we can save our food.

Now I almost wish we would have an outage so I can try it out…

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science · Family Updates

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Richard // Aug 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Sounds cool. What does the kit cost?

  • 2 Richard // Aug 30, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Guess I could have just gone to the website to see that it was $499. That’s not bad.

  • 3 Daryl // Aug 31, 2014 at 10:14 am

    You can certainly buy a 1500 watt generator for a lot less than $5oo, but probably not with a high quality pure sine wave inverter. And generators rated at 1500 watts usually mean 1500 surge, 1000 or less sustained.

    I like that I don’t need to worry about maintaining or storing anything that I don’t already maintain and store. It is silent to operate and always ready.

    There is a company ( that converts GM trucks to electric drive. They include standard a 120 V outlet. It makes sense to take advantage of that big battery.

  • 4 Richard // Aug 31, 2014 at 11:19 am

    You’re right about that. My Honda 2000 is an inverter generator. It’s rated at 1600 amps continuous and 2000 surge. It cost about $900. Of course, you can buy a cheap construction type generator for much less, but who wants to listen to one of those noisy things?

  • 5 dale // Sep 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I’m kind of doing the same thing when I charge my batteries by running my van. My inverter is not big enough to power any appliances and I am debating going to a larger one. The only variable is how much gas it uses to set and idle for an extended time. How much gas do you think the Volt would use overnight?

  • 6 Daryl // Sep 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I have heard that under strong electrical load the engine runs about 6 minutes every hour, so not very much gas.

    I hooked it up a couple of days ago and ran an electric drill with it. Not much of a load, maybe 200 watts, but at least I know everything is working

    Your inverter will have an upper limit based on how much your alternator can deliver.

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