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Prefab off-grid home in desert - credit Dwell.jpg


credit - Dwell

Application Note:        Off-Grid Living with the PlugOut Inverters

PlugOut Power provides unique inverter-chargers [our PlugOut series] that allow hybrid and plugin cars to provide mobile power for homes or onsite needs.  Our 3 and 5 kw inverters use the high voltage battery of the electrified car for far more power than can be had from the 12v system.  The power out is available in 2 forms; 120/240v AC power for generator like uses, and/or 24/48v DC input/output to charge solar batteries like when the sun doesn’t shine. 

The PlugOut inverters can be deployed in several ways, depending on the needs of the customer; from small mobile systems to larger solar systems.


Car-Power Off-Grid Design:

PlugOut inverters enable from hybrid and plugin cars [E-cars] to output 3-5kw of split-phase AC power, similar to a generator but from a much higher quality system.  PlugOut attaches to the high voltage traction battery for maximum power output and the PlugOut is unique in this capability. 


               Schematic:  E-Car  to PlugOut  to AC Loads


Great for short or long term power where e-car [with PlugOut] is used as a generator. 
See PlugOut vs Generators Comparison:


Battery Assist Off-Grid Design:

PlugOut Inverters can also connect to a 24/48v battery to allow buffering of car power for standalone interval use by charging the batteries from the high voltage input [hybrid/plugin cars] and discharge through the inverter for AC power loads.  PlugOut is currently the only inverter available today that enables a hybrid/plugin car to supply 3-5kw for off-grid AC power and 24/48v DC battery power from an aftermarket product.


               Schematic:  E-Car  to PlugOut  to AC Loads
                                                           ||    [to/from]


PlugOut inverters with battery can provide AC power with or without the car connected.  Great for camping trips or off-grid power, allowing continued operation when car is not attached [refilling, away work, overnight].  The e-car can recharge the battery when reconnected. 
SeePlugOut vs Power Stations Comparison:

PlugOut inverters with battery can also use battery power instantly when power output needs exceed the e-car input power supply, then recharge the battery when the output needs are lower.  This enables some motor start surge loads [like well pumps or central heat fans] to be handled even when car power cannot meet the requirement of the output loads.

Solar Off-Grid Design:

Solar power can be added to PlugOut with Battery Off-Grid designs where the battery can store energy from the solar array.  Solar panels feed a solar charger[s] that charge the 24/48v solar battery.


               Schematic:                   E-Car  to PlugOut inverter-charger to AC Loads
                                                                          ||    [to/from]
           Solar panels to Solar Charger to   Battery


Solar power then minimizes the need for car power.  Where the solar power and battery storage are sized to handle most living needs, car power is only needed when solar power is not sufficient.  This might be for overnight use [small battery size], or only during multi-day cloudy weather [larger battery size], or any thing in between.  The battery also allows the site to keep running when the car is not present [going to work or to get fuel].  In this way, e-car [charging] power allows the solar panels and battery to be sized smaller to meet fewer scenarios than if no or limited charging is otherwise available.  Some planning will be needed to coordinate the battery charging of PlugOut and the solar charger so not to overload the battery.  The availability of e-car power [PlugOut] can allow system costs to be lower.


Great for longer term living off-grid where solar power is useful.
See –


Adding PlugOut to existing Solar-Battery Design:

Most solar power systems employ solar panels with a solar inverter/charger-with-battery to supply AC power [split phase 120/240vac power].  For long term off-grid use, this design needs to oversize the solar array and/or battery to handle every power and energy use scenario. 
PlugOut enables an e-car is to be used for battery charging.  This enables a solar system design to be slimmed down because the PlugOut can provide power when the sun doesn’t shine. 

Adding PlugOut to an existing solar power design: 


Solar Assist Schematic:  Solar panels  to Solar inverter-charger  to AC loads
                                                                               ||           [to/from]
                                    E-Car  to PlugOut to    Battery                                [option]


The e-car+PlugOut supplements DC battery power and can be a backup for AC power.  The Solar Assist design is particularly useful where the AC power output needs exceed the 5kw PlugOut specs. 

However, for smaller [<5kw] off-grid use, the PlugOut might be used as the central inverter-with-battery for site AC power, where the solar panels use a solar charger[s] supply the battery directly and the e-car supplements energy when needed [see Solar Schematic above]. 

Taking the difference of the two designs, we are comparing the cost of a Solar Inverter-Charger vs. a Solar Charger:  $ thousands vs hundreds.  Hence, using the PlugOut as the central inverter can allow the solar panel/battery design to be minimized and contain only one inverter/charger for a low-cost configuration which allows the e-car to be a supplemental power source. 

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