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Can you live Off Grid with an Electric Vehicle?

Living off the grid has become an increasingly popular lifestyle choice for those seeking independence, sustainability, and a reduced carbon footprint. In recent years, electric vehicles (EVs) have gained momentum as a cleaner and more eco-friendly mode of transportation. As we embrace renewable energy sources, the idea of combining off-grid living with an electric vehicle raises an intriguing question:

Can you truly live off the grid with an electric vehicle?

In this blog post, we'll explore the feasibility, challenges, and potential benefits of integrating an EV into an off-grid lifestyle.

  • Powering Your Electric Vehicle Off-Grid

One of the primary concerns when living off the grid is how to power an electric vehicle without relying on conventional charging stations. While charging an EV typically requires access to the electrical grid, several alternative options can make off-grid EV charging possible. These options include solar panels, wind turbines, and even portable generators. We'll delve into the practicality and considerations of each method, discussing their benefits, limitations, and potential costs.

  • Energy Storage Solutions

In an off-grid setting, energy storage is crucial. Since renewable energy sources can be intermittent, storing excess energy is essential for powering both your home and EV during cloudy or windless days. In this section, we'll explore different energy storage options, such as lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, highlighting their capacity, efficiency, maintenance requirements, and cost-effectiveness. We'll also discuss strategies for optimizing energy consumption and maximizing the use of stored energy.

  • Off-Grid Charging Infrastructure

Creating an efficient off-grid charging infrastructure for your electric vehicle is a key aspect of sustainable living. We'll delve into the various components required for establishing a comprehensive off-grid charging system, including charging stations, inverters, controllers, and smart energy management systems. Additionally, we'll discuss the benefits of incorporating smart home technologies that enable you to monitor and control your energy usage effectively.

  • Overcoming Challenges

Living off the grid with an electric vehicle is not without its challenges. In this section, we'll address some of the common obstacles you might encounter, such as range anxiety, limited charging capacity, and extreme weather conditions. We'll offer practical solutions to mitigate these challenges, including energy-efficient driving techniques, route planning, and backup charging options. By understanding and preparing for these challenges, you can make your off-grid EV experience more seamless.

  • Environmental and Lifestyle Benefits

Embracing an off-grid lifestyle with an electric vehicle offers numerous environmental and lifestyle benefits. We'll discuss the positive impact of reducing your reliance on fossil fuels, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to a more sustainable future. Additionally, we'll explore the potential financial advantages of living off the grid, including reduced energy costs and potential government incentives for adopting renewable energy technologies.

Embracing this synergy between off-grid living and EVs can contribute to a greener, more self-sufficient future, helping us move towards a cleaner and more sustainable planet.

A background of who I am regarding EVs and living off the grid. In 2014 My wife and I took our house Off-Grid in Seven Hills in Sydney, and in 2015 I purchased an all-electric 2014 Model Zero DS,  You can check out our house in Sydney Here. 

We only had a 3.5 kW solar system, and the bike was mostly charged from solar.

If you think about it like this. At the time, a Nissan Leaf had about 130klm range, and so did the bike. The car had a 30kwh battery, and the bike had a 10. The bike did 3 times the distance with the same energy the car had available. Bikes are not for everyone.    

Our home batteries were 12kwhs of storage, The bike almost had the same energy. What would happen is when the battery for the house was charged, I would plug my bike in to take the excess energy from the solar panels. As if you are off the grid and everything is full, your panels are turned off as they have nowhere to send the energy.

Fast forward to 2023 and a Prius, Mitsubishi PHEV, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model X and a range of Electric Motorbikes and a ton more solar panels and batteries! I will share what I do today.

“Experience is one of those things that you wish you had just before you got it. “

Is the reason they say to learn from other people's mistakes?

I was pretty disappointed when they told me I couldn't carry my child on the back of my bike until he was 8! So I had to ditch the bike and get a car.

Beginning off the Grid and not having the excess energy at the time, the hybrids were the best option for us. I am a big fan of Plug-in Hybrids and have had a good experience with my Outlander Phev.  We live in the country now, and before the battery failed in the car, it was great. I could do 30-40klsm a day with a 12kwh battery, and with my job, I would generally do almost 100klms per day and all on solar. I would charge several times a day.

I would go to work in the morning and plug in there for 30 mins to top back up, Go home and get the kids and take them to school, and go Back to the office. Charge again., Out to see a customer, Back to the office and charge and then pick the kids up and spend the afternoon working from home and topping up before the sun went down to do it all again the next day.

And if I were required to go on a road trip which could result in a 400-600klm day to an off-grid location, it would flick over to petrol, and I would be good to go.

My thinking was either way if I had to charge at night, I would have been using fossil fuels, and the difference between coal and petrol is that If I had an EV and was charging at night at home, I was shifting the pollution. Instead of the tailpipe pollution, I shifted it to someone else’s backyard.

We still have the Outlander, and we are working on getting the battery replaced under warranty.  From and environmental point of view, I would like to know if all the environmental savings we had were not wiped off due to a new battery that is required. It could have been a waste of resources and potentially been more damaging than just driving a petrol car. Mitsubishi learnt some lessons s they stopped selling the Phevs for a few years while they sorted issues out is what was going on.

I still love the concept of The PHEV, and Mitsubishi has it sorted in the newer models.

After owning a Tesla Model 3 for almost four years, they are fantastic cars. There is something about being your own fuel station and having an all-electric vehicle you can charge from your home solar.  

I had to tell myself when I got the Tesla and say that it was ok occasionally to charge from the grid. With the bike, I would plan my life around only charging it from Solar.

With a full Ev and only charging from home, we can be self-sufficient based on road trips for about 9 months of the year. I am lucky these days I now have a home office. One less trip a day to do. And we can charge all day from the solar system. My current set-up is 20Kwhs of Battrey and 25kw of solar on the roof. Winter is when we struggle to be self-sufficient for the car. For our Energy use in the house, we are fine, and we can't produce enough due to shading and the short days and long nights.  

We use an APP called Charge HQ as we are in the wholesale market for energy. This means our prices are all over the shop. The company we use to get access to the rate is Local Volts. What this allows us to do is choose when to charge the car, and our Options are when there is a certain number of renewables in the grid, or the prices are low. These two things, most of the time, are the same. There are a lot of articles that say Australia Grid is powered by coal, and it depends on what time of day you look.

Yes, most nights between 5-8 pm, prices are high, and fossil fuels of a day, most of the Australian network, is a minimum of 50% renewable. Most days, it is about 70% on a good day.



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