Just for a Chevy Volt.

stefuelstefuel Registered Users Posts: 5
Number one son is off to school and he's commuting. The tank we gave him to learn to drive on (full size Chevy Tahoe) is great but it costs over a hundred bucks a week to feed it for the commute. So he's driving the wifes new car which uses half the gas, but that's her car and she wants it back. I am going to have to buy a new car for him anyway. The Volt holds enough charge for the round trip. He leaves in the AM before the sun comes up and gets home about 2:30 PM so not enough daylight for a recharge. What about a small off-grid that has no other function but to charge the Volt at night? As it turns out, the absolute best place to put however many panels it would take is right where is home parking space is. Thanks,

Chip

Comments

  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Off-grid is expensive because of batteries and the losses involved in charging and discharging them. It would be more efficient and much cheaper if you used the grid as your battery, so install a grid tie solar system that sells during the morning, charges the car during the afternoon and then use the grid to charge through the night.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,350 admin
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Just to put some "back of the envelope" numbers to the task:

    Grid tied power around ~$0.10 to $0.30 per kWH (depending on where you live, cost of install, etc.). Also not all utilities allow grid tied solar. And there are many different plans--Some are very advantageous for home owners, others are not. In my area, I can get paid $0.30 per kWH for summer afternoon peak power I generate and pay less than ~$0.10 per kWH for off peak power "I buy" at night/morning. With complex rate plans (like we have in California, Time of Use metering, and tiered power levels--the more power you use, the higher price you pay--and electric vehicle metering options, it is not obvious how much on average you will pay/save with grid tied solar).

    Off Grid Power, typically around ~$1 to $2+ per kWH. Off grid systems are less efficient than grid tied (~52% off grid efficiency vs 77% for grid tied) and you have a large battery bank which need replacing every ~5-10 years (electronics for both types will need replacement roughly every 10+ years).

    As Stephen typed--Don't even think of building an off grid recharging system unless you do not have grid power available.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    a grid tied solar system is your only real answer at home for solar cannot charge at night when the car will be there.
  • Eric LEric L Solar Expert Posts: 262 ✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    I am going to have to buy a new car for him anyway. The Volt holds enough charge for the round trip. He leaves in the AM before the sun comes up and gets home about 2:30 PM so not enough daylight for a recharge. What about a small off-grid that has no other function but to charge the Volt at night?

    Just to put some numbers on a battery-based system: the Volt has about 10.5 KWh usable on its 16 KWh battery. So assuming your son used the whole 10.5 KWh/day for his commute, that much would have to be replaced. Battery-based pv systems have major efficiency losses, mostly due to the batteries, although there are efficiency losses in the inverter, the charge controllers for the batteries, and the wiring. Also, the charging of the Volt itself is only about 80% efficient, from what I've seen. As a guess, you'd probably need to generate over 2 times the 10.5 KWh/day to overcome these, or over 21 KWh/day from the pv panels themselves. A deep-cycle battery bank can only be safely discharged to about 1/2 capacity at most for long life (ideally less), so at a minimum, the bank would also have to be at least 21 KWh, but you'd really want a lot more for cloudy day charging, unless you relied on the grid those days. But in that case, you'd quickly be asking yourself why not rely on the grid everyday.

    On the plus side, since he's home at 2:30 you could get some charging in before the sun went down if he plugged it in immediately. If that were consistent it might lower the system size slightly, but it would still be big.

    A battery-based system of the size you'd need is doable; many people here have even larger ones. But it would cost tens of thousands of dollars and, as BB mentioned, would have additional battery replacement costs every few years. It would never save you any money but in fact cost many thousands more.
  • stefuelstefuel Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    OK so what about changing the scenario. My wife works nights. Give him her car and buy her a Volt.
    Couldn't I build a direct charging station to dump the energy directly into the Volt's battery? She only drives about 5 miles a day. That should be doable with much less equipment shouldn't it???
  • Eric LEric L Solar Expert Posts: 262 ✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Is there a reason you want an off-grid system? As stephen and BB pointed out, a grid tied system is vastly more economically sensible if your utility supports net metering or has some other feed in tariff arrangement.

    Even if you go with day time charging, if the system is off-grid, you'd still need a sizable battery bank, although it could be smaller than the night-time charging scenario. Off-grid systems still need to deal with interruptions from clouds and so on, and need the battery bank for voltage regulation as well. The battery bank thus has to be big enough to support the load from the Volt charger when it's cloudy (this could be significant, especially at 220 volts charging). I'd say there's still little chance you'd save any money with an off-grid daytime charging set-up. Depending on what your utility offers though, a grid-tie system could potentially save money. So assuming savings is your goal (from your first post it seems to be), you've got to find out what your utility offers to grid-tie customers before you'd know if solar+EV would make any sense.
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Better do SOME serious reading on the VOLT.
    Yota or honda made in USA , small fuel effective type (gas only here in AME)is huge resale ahead, plus less insurance.
    Price out the Ins rate & then do a Hummmmm ? why!!

    VT

    OK so im not getting thru !!

    PLEASE CHARGED THESE GOVERNMENT MOTORS VEHICLES OUTSIDE.
    let the fire crew only deal with the fire.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    The right way to do this is to grid tie an get the full benefit of your solar system and net meter. Then if you have TOU charge on your cheap rate. The Volt uses about 10.5 kWh and it takes about 13.4 kWh to fill the battery from the wall.

    This is how we do both our Volts.

    Edit
    There is a,guy over Gm-volt.com that is,off grid and has a bang bang type of controller that takes his afternoon excess solar and uses it to charge his volt. He uses his charge controller to controll the input to the car.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Edit
    There is a,guy over Gm-volt.com that is,off grid and has a bang bang type of controller that takes his afternoon excess solar and uses it to charge his volt. He uses his charge controller to controll the input to the car.

    the problem with trying to directly charge the volts' batteries is that the car can't be driven until night or it will be away from the home where all of the solar charging would take place. to charge other batteries to be used through an inverter to facilitate the ability to drive during the day and still capture the energy from the sun to enable night charging would be vastly more expensive and far more inefficient than using a straight grid tie solar setup. let the grid be your battery and use the straight gt method. i did briefly mention this in my previous post.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    niel wrote: »
    the problem with trying to directly charge the volts' batteries is that the car can't be driven until night or it will be away from the home where all of the solar charging would take place. to charge other batteries to be used through an inverter to facilitate the ability to drive during the day and still capture the energy from the sun to enable night charging would be vastly more expensive and far more inefficient than using a straight grid tie solar setup. let the grid be your battery and use the straight gt method. i did briefly mention this in my previous post.

    He has a 220 AC inverter and he runs it via his AC side. Just as an FYI, not as a recommended method. He is off grid and needs to do it that way. Down side is the car needs to be there to get the solar watts.

    Yes agreed the grid is the best battery as it gives you the full potential of the panels as usable power even after dark.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    sorry dave as i just don't see that said anywhere and the guy only has 3 posts. he says he wants to go with an off grid system and i see nowhere where he says the grid is not there no matter what equipment he may have there. maybe some clarification from the op is needed to be sure.
  • stefuelstefuel Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    niel wrote: »
    sorry dave as i just don't see that said anywhere and the guy only has 3 posts. he says he wants to go with an off grid system and i see nowhere where he says the grid is not there no matter what equipment he may have there. maybe some clarification from the op is needed to be sure.

    I am totally new to this so I don't even know the correct questions to ask.

    On the way to work. Will post more tonight.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    niel wrote: »
    sorry dave as i just don't see that said anywhere and the guy only has 3 posts. he says he wants to go with an off grid system and i see nowhere where he says the grid is not there no matter what equipment he may have there. maybe some clarification from the op is needed to be sure.

    I am just saying that it is possible to do it off grid using a off grid excess day end solar but it is not the recommend method. He is force to do it, is retired and there late afternoons to take advantage of the excess off grid solar. Certainly a Lead acid battery setup to charge a volt is not a good plan, the loses will be extreme. The loses in volt charging run about 25% of full charge 13.5 kWh to get about 10 kWh of usable driving watts. Now add in the 50% loses of an off grid system on top of that. of course there is no way to direct connect to the solar to the lithium battery and no charge controller to managed the HV dc directly. So solar dc to AC back to Dc via the internal charger is the only way to achieve a charge.

    The recommend method for "solar charging" a Volt is to grid tie the solar and get the solars full potential into the grid as a storage device via net metering and then charge at will from the grid, or even as a planned charge on TOU where like in CA you make money with grid tie. We charge both of ours on demand but our TOU only give us excess on peak, so we buy some of the off peak watts. We consume all our off peak solar and then some.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    You guys are talking at cross-purposes.
    Niel; solar_dave is referring to someone else who has a Volt and is charging it using an off-grid system, not the OP.
    These threads can turn into a maze pretty quickly sometimes. :p
  • stefuelstefuel Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    OK so back to plan B. The wife would only average about ten percent of the Volt's battery charge per day so I don't care if we have a couple of cloudy days a week. So my thought was no batteries. Just enough panels and sufficient inverter to go direct to the Volt. How hard would it be to make up that ten percent.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    stefuel;

    How expensive is your utility power there? Unless it's like $1 per kW hour recharging the Volt off solar isn't going to make a bit of sense.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    stefuel wrote: »
    ... So my thought was no batteries. Just enough panels and sufficient inverter to go direct to the Volt. How hard would it be to make up that ten percent.

    Can't do that, you must have a battery in the PV --> inverter setup.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    techntrek wrote: »
    Can't do that, you must have a battery in the PV --> inverter setup.

    On the other hand, if the charger will accept direct PV (like any solar CC) then the vehicles batteries will be the batteries charged by the CC.
    Chargers for home brew EVs can be made to do that. For a Volt, without breaking the warranty, probably not.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Here is some reading for your sparkie ' s : http://www.autoshop101.com/forms/Hybrid02.pdf

    Page 2-12 and many others ,Just to put you in the stands. The Ball park is HV (high-voltage) gloves (hot gloves) plus.
    The volt is copied from the same belief of "green".

    This is MY trade & I have taken courses on these from "Yota" , High voltage to the max.
    I'm a Euro Tech. But anytime to cram more goop into the gray matter , always learning ..

    thread needs to know that the $$$$ car has special electronic devices to say , bad power plus.
    Just like all cell phones / digital cameras have a moisture meter/bump or dropping recording to report abuse.

    Below is an old 2007 Euro car with its control Modules installed. The reporting language and communications is

    High & Low Serial Network
    LIN Local Internal Network
    Can-H Central Area Network High
    CAN-L Central Area Network Low
    LAN Local Area Network
    BTN Blue Tooth Network
    IRN Infrared Network Connection
    And MOST that uses a Fiber Optic Network


    Now this is a Petrol powered car..

    Attachment not found.

    It could be an expensive charge .

    Just Sayin YMMV
    VT

    Edit add :
    Here is an electric Vehicle also, so if you fail on the proper charging , Who's fault would that be?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKsLbWTZkKU

    Plus the latest info out on the Volt

    Im as green as I can , within real reason. Recycled 2 the MAX.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    techntrek wrote: »
    Can't do that, you must have a battery in the PV --> inverter setup.

    Unless you grid tie. I know the OP was talking direct solar/off grid but that is not the way to do it.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Since the original post mentioned off-grid and night time charging obviously he wasn't talking about grid-tie... :p
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Interesting read on that Prius manual, CDN_VT. I have pics of my own torn down (only the rear) in the link in my signature.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    Thanks CDN _VT I see that is for a Volvo, of which I own a 2001 S60 and that diagram is very informative, as i am 'hunting' a problem and all those module abbreviation are used frequently.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    techntrek ,That is not really a manual , just a collective page.
    Manuals are much more in depth.

    What I'm trying to get at is the days of thinking you can tweak anything , if you have no tools/ OEM equipment (Audi-Volvo 4 me) with "Manuals" then the Vehicles of now-a-year are the most unusual electronic systems. Dynamos/Generator/Alternator now do a battery equalization to 15-17.~ Volt while the Control Modules do a PWM to keep the voltages safe to around 14.~ so the bulbs etc. don't burn out. This is controlled from the LIN after all other systems say's it's cool to equeak now, you would,t see a flicker. It's also when this happens , the fiber system can diagnose it's beam / optical power checks and then it now can adjust it's normal beam range.

    I'm probably not making any cents 8) , but if you fool with these systems , it's hundreds plus if you get it wrong.

    These new electronic toys are very voltage sensitive !!!! 11.3 and lower , has caused Module death , while "Noisy" battery chargers/jumper packs can do the same.

    Now we have over 200~300 acronyms & Nodes / Modules .
    Just so many can realize the madness.

    VT
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    techntrek wrote: »
    Since the original post mentioned off-grid and night time charging obviously he wasn't talking about grid-tie... :p

    But he must have a source of power now, most likely the grid.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.

    I believe what the OP was looking for was a charging system that went:

    Solar panels ---> charge controller ---> Chevrolet Volt vehicle.

    No mention of using existing power structure for home, whether on or off grid. The impracticality of this has been fairly well covered.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Just for a Chevy Volt.
    CDN_VT wrote: »
    techntrek ,That is not really a manual , just a collective page.
    Manuals are much more in depth.

    The charts that demonstrated which electric motor does what in concert with the gas engine were interesting.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
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