Frequently Asked Questions for PLUG-IN and PLUG-OUT KITS:
What is a Plug-in kit, and what is a Plug-Out kit?
The Plug-In kit is a battery-charger-computer that is added to select hybrid [gas and electric] cars. The battery provides much greater % of electric driving and/or electric assist, thereby offsetting potential [gasoline] fuel use, resulting in much greater MPG while battery charge lasts. The battery is charged from the grid [or similar power source] where power costs are typically 1/3 the cost of gasoline per mile.
The Plug-Out kit is an electronic power module added to a hybrid car to provide emergency grid-like power output [as an emergency power generator] to power household appliances.
Will the Vehicle’s Warranty be affected?
According to Federal Law the answer is No. Adding an "aftermarket" part to your car will not void the factory warranty. The applicable law is called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The quick explanation is that the Original Manufacturer cannot void its product warranty, in whole or part, when an aftermarket product is added, except where the problem at hand can be proved by the Manufacturer/dealer to be caused by the aftermarket product[s] [burden of proof on the manufacturer]. ConVerdant has access to the same manufacturers’ tech/service bulletins as the dealers, so we may be of help in talking with the dealer about any problem. Do a web search to learn more.
Most Manufacturers and Dealers will automatically tell you “Yes, you will void the warranty”, and will say adding any parts to their cars voids the warranty. The car dealers don't want to violate Federal Law, they often don't know it, and they sell OEM cars and parts. If you do find an obstinate dealer who won't work on your car, go to another dealer or independent hybrid service garage or call us for help. As a last resort you might use small claims court to resolve your issue. We make it easy for you to disable-disconnect your kit so the car is in OEM condition. Customers/Dealers may call us to ask how to disable the system so you can get your warranty repair work done.
What are the differences between the Basic and Island products?
The Basic system is for less than 1000 watts [1kw] of aggregate wattage requirements. The Basic systems allow surge currents of 100% greater than the Rated Power. So, the 1kw unit can sustain a short [10sec] surge power need of 2kw. It gets connected to the car’s 12v battery by the user each time it is used. As a 12v system, the Basic Plug-Out system can work on any car or truck, but works best with Toyota Synergy Hybrids where the 12v battery is in the trunk [set unit on the trunk floor], where there is >1000watt power feed from the engine to the 12v battery, and where there is start-stop engine operation while the car is On and in Park. The Basic unit is inexpensive and easily portable, so could be kept in the car for adhoc uses.
The Island systems are for specific hybrids only [see list] and where aggregate wattage requirements can be greater than 1k watts. Current Plug-Out Island products come in 2 and 3kva 120v versions, and 3 and 4kva 240/120v split phase versions. The input cable comes in 2 halves, one get connected permanently to the Hybrid traction battery and should be installed by a trained and experienced hybrid mechanic. The other half cable is connected to the Plug-Out box and the two can be connected easily by the customer each time it is used. The 2-3kw units can be lifted into the hybrid trunk area for use, or, they can be left on the garage floor/shelf and connected to the car by an optional longer input cable.
Both the Basic and Island systems are designed for manual setup and OFF-GRID operation, and should NOT be connected to live power wires; or, damage to the wires, power source or Plug-Out unit may result. Connection to house wiring, as with any generator, should only be designed/installed by certified electricians.
The 2-3-4kva Island units are rated at 1.6-2.4-4kw, with surge rating 50% higher equals 2.4-3.6-4kw.
What size Plug-Out device should I get?
The first step is to inventory and prioritize your desired appliances and devices to be supported in emergency situations. Next step is to find out the wattages [voltage and current] for each appliance then total them up. There is a wattage list for typical appliances here.
Most suburban houses will want to heat the house [non-electric heat], run the refrigerator[s], lights, TV, battery chargers, computers and the house network. This is usually OK with the 2-3kw units. 120v heavy users like sump pumps, air conditioners, space heaters, hair dryers, and microwaves [typically >1kw each] should be excluded, or used under manual control to prevent overload damage. High-load central appliances like central-electric-heat, electric dryers, electric stoves, deep well pumps, etc, need 240 volts so require the 240/120v split phase units at 3 and 4kva.
Rural homes with automated well and/or sump pumps, need to know if those pumps work with 120v or 240v and to size the Plug-Out system with enough power capacity to handle the larger random startup and interval power requirements for those pumps. Worksite use with power tools can require large startup and interval power of 3-4x the device rating. Most electronic appliances have surge rating of 2x. So, be sure to buy enough excess power capacity to prevent burnouts from inadvertent overlap of device use.
All Motors [pumps, power tools, etc] typically have a large surge current at startup [3-4x normal rating, for 0-1 second], then settle to a “continuous” power level for the rest of the use interval. Pumps/motors with Slow-start, or smart-start operation typically will ramp up speed gradually over time in a way that minimizes the start-up surge requirements to under 50% greater than the continuous rating. Battery operated power tools have low 120v power needs that are specified at the charger.
How do I install the Plug-Out Kits to the car?
The Basic kit can easily be installed by the customer for each use. See the Plug-Out Basic Setup Instructions.
The Island kit requires installation of the car-connection cable by a trained and experienced hybrid mechanic [maybe 1 hour time], then the customer can easily connect/disconnect the unit for each use by him/herself. See Plug-Out Island Set-Up Instructions. The trained mechanic is needed for initial setup to ensure safety, as the connection is made to the hybrid’s high voltage traction battery, whose voltages are dangerous and life-threatening.
How do I setup the 120v or 240/120v power distribution to the house/site?
Again, you should consult the Plug-Out Basic and Island Set-Up Instructions for house/site connections and power measurements. Adhoc setup is usually done with standard extension cords, power strips and a power meter[s], from the Plug-Out kit to the various connected appliances. Pre-wired connection to a house should only be designed/installed by a certified electrician.
How much fuel does the Plug-Out use?
Fuel use is directly dependant on average power use. Results are similar for any of the Plug-Out products, obviously some models can handle higher top loads than others, but all are similar at loads below their rating. The following data are for average power use. Your results may vary some.
Load: 400w Engine Duty Cycle: 15% Fuel Use: .1gal/hr Tank [9.9gal] Time: 100hrs
Load: 1000w 18% .122g/h 81hrs
Load: 2000w 35% .245g/h 40hrs
Load: 3000w 48% .4g/h 25hrs
Note: If all car systems are off [except ignition] the Prius systems uses about 200-400w, and the inverter has about 10% loss.
The Plug-Out Island and Prius combination operate at about 8kwh per gallon almost regardless of power use level. Most Mechanical generators operate at about 4 up to 6kwh per gallon. And depending on your cost of gasoline [assume $4/gal] Plug-Out Priuses generate electricity at about 50cents/kwh. This very high level of fuel efficiency is just one of many reasons the Plug-Out Prius stands above store bought generators.
Advanced Kits: [some text from Plug-in Supply website, some ConVerdant modifications]
What vehicles can be converted?
The vehicles that can be converted at this time are the 2004–present Toyota Prius (Gen 2 and Gen 3), the Ford Escape Hybrid. New versions for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
What is added to the vehicle in a conversion?
The Plug-In Supply PHEV conversion adds an additional battery pack, along with all the necessary electronics, to allow the vehicle to drive on electricity for 20–50 miles (depending on battery size and chemistry) on battery power. Once the auxiliary battery has been depleted, the vehicle reverts to standard hybrid driving mode.
Can I install the system myself?
ConVerdant only sells Plug-In systems that include installation here in NH.
How long does the conversion process take?
The conversion process takes 1 day to complete.
What are the driving modes of the converted vehicle?
The Advanced kit [Plug-In Supply] PHEV conversion has two modes of operation:
•Standard Mode (This is stock factory operation of an unmodified car.)
•Automatic EVTM (AEV) with High Speed EVTM (HSEV) What is Automatic EVTM (AEV)?
When the system is on the car operates in EV mode, automatically, whenever possible. When extra power is needed — to climb a hill or pass a car — the gas engine comes on automatically to provide that power. When the maneuver is complete and the extra power is no longer needed, the gas engine automatically turns off.
What is High Speed EVTM (HSEV)? High Speed EVTM is a feature that allows the car to operate as an EV at highway speeds (above 50 MPH).
How far will the car drive in electric vehicle (EV) mode? The EV range depends on the battery pack of the system, as well as driving conditions and driving style. The 4 KW system will propel the vehicle 20 miles while the 10 KW system will last 50 miles.
What is the maximum speed of the vehicle in EV mode? 72 MPH for the Prius. Plug-In Supply systems allow you to exceed 34 MPH in EV mode. Does the converted vehicle really get 100+ MPG? Yes! The PHEV uses the electric motor more than a conventional hybrid, powered by the auxiliary battery pack. This reduces the vehicle's gasoline consumption. How does EV mode operation affect the vehicle's heating and air conditioning? Heating the interior of the vehicle requires engine operation. In Toyota hybrids, the air conditioning system is completely electric and can be used in EV mode.
What is the warranty?
The PSI Plug-In system is covered by 30 day installation labor warranty, and a 3-2-1 warranty on parts: 3 years on PSI controllers, 2 years on battery cells, 1 year on the battery charger.
How do I recharge the battery pack?
To recharge the auxiliary battery pack, plug the vehicle into any standard 110 volt, 15 amp AC outlet using a 3 wire, 14 gauge extension cord. During the conversion process an electrical receptacle is added to the bumper. The larger kits have an optional 240v charger that would need a 240v clothes-dryer-type recepticle.
Can I use public charging stations to charge the vehicle?
Public charging stations often have a variety of charging options. You can use any standard 110 volt, 15 amp AC outlet.
How long does the battery pack take to recharge?
Recharge time depends on the size and chemistry of the battery pack. It is 2.5 hours for the 4 KW and 8 hours for the 10 KW with the 120v charger. The 240v charger would shorten the large pack time to 4 hours.
Do your conversion systems have a battery management system (BMS)?
Yes, the lithium iron phosphate systems include a BMS. This BMS is very well designed and is the reason the PSI kit is so long lasting and trouble-lite. I don't say trouble-free out of superstition.
Where is the conversion system installed in the vehicle?
The conversion system is installed underneath the rear cargo deck of the Prius and does not infringe on the rear cargo area. Other hybrids are installed in the same area but may require brackets to hold the battery box and components.
Can I access the spare tire?
The spare tire area holds the battery charger. This helps greatly inwinter where the heat from the charger helps keep the batteries warm, and has no detrimental effect in summer. You may carry the spare tire on the trunk floor or carry a foam squirt can to refill flat tires. Many smaller cars are now being sold with only foam cans as a spare. We suggest that you carry a foam can in local driving and bring the tire on longer trips.
How many vehicles have been converted using Plug-In Supply systems?
There are currently 200+ vehicles using Plug-In Supply conversion systems.
I drive long distances almost exclusively on the highway, is there a benefit to having a plug-in conversion?
Yes. Having the extra battery pack will contribute more electricity via the Automatic EVTM feature, increasing your gas mileage until the auxiliary battery is depleted. When the auxiliary pack is empty the car reverts to being a stock hybrid.
What do all these acronyms mean? •EV: Electric Vehicle •HEV: Hybrid Electric Vehicle •PHEV: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle •LiFePO4: Lithium Iron Phosphate •kW-hr: Kilowatt-Hour
Does ConVerdant have a Priacy Policy?