Frequently asked questions
What is a PlugOut Kit?
The Plug-Out kit is an electronic power module (an inverter) which enables a hybrid/plugin car to provide grid-like power to the home, worksite, campsite, tailgate, or a variety of other uses. This is a V2H (Vehicle to Home) capability.
How do I install the PlugOut to the car?
The PlugOut kit requires installation of a [included] car-cable onto the high voltage ‘traction’ battery by a trained and experienced hybrid mechanic [maybe 1-2 hour time]. The PlugOut units are not installed onto the car, typically residing off-car on a separate cart, or a wall backboard in the garage or basement. The trained mechanic is needed for cable installation to ensure safety, as the connection is made to the hybrid’s traction battery, whose high voltages are dangerous and life-threatening. Once the cable is installed, the customer can easily connect/disconnect the PlugOut unit for each use by him/herself. See Plug-Out Operation Guide.
How much fuel does the PlugOut use?
Fuel use is directly dependent on average power use. Results are similar for any of the PlugOut 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 from a Prius [tank = 9.9gal]. Individual results may vary some.
Load: 400w Engine Duty Cycle: 15% Fuel Use: 0.1gal/hr 6kwh/g Time: <100hrs
Load: 1000w Engine Duty Cycle: 18% Fuel Use: 0.122g/h 7.3kwh/gal Time: <75hrs
Load: 2000w Engine Duty Cycle: 35% Fuel Use: 0.245g/h 7.8kwh/g Time: <40hrs
Load: 3000w Engine Duty Cycle: 48% Fuel Use: 0.4g/h 8kwh/g Time: <24hrs
Note: If all car systems are off (except ignition), the Prius still uses about 100-150w, the inverter has about 5-10% loss.
The PlugOut 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 only when operated at optimal load levels. Since much of their use is at low levels, and the engine must continue operating, their average fuel efficiency is more like 3-4kwh/gal (half that of the PlugOut Vehicle). Depending on the cost of gasoline, PlugOut Priuses generate electricity at about 20-40cents/kwh. This extremely high level of fuel efficiency is just one of many reasons the PlugOut Prius stands above store bought generators. See PlugOut to Generator Comparison for more information.
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). PlugOut Power 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.
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. These car dealers aren’t trying to violate Federal Law, it’s just that they aren’t always aware of what the laws are. If you do find an obstinate dealer who won't work on your car, we recommend that you go to another dealer, or independent hybrid service garage, or call us for help. We make it easy for you to disconnect your PlugOut so the car is in OEM condition. Customers/dealers may call us to ask how to disconnect the system so you can get your warranty repair work done.
What do all these acronyms mean?
- E-Car: Electrified Car (HEV, PHV/PHEV, BEV)
- BEV: Battery Electric Vehicle
- HEV: Hybrid Electric Vehicle
- PHEV/PHV: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle
- a/A: amperes or amps
- V: volts
- kW: kilowatt, W: watts; measures of power (rate of energy flow). Watts = Volts * Amperes
- kW h: Kilowatt-Hour, Wh: watt-hour; measures of accumulated energy. Wh = Watts * hours
- ah: amp-hours, a measure of (battery) energy capacity (similar to Wh, but lacking voltage consideration].