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Old 12-24-2012, 01:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Should every car have a plug?

Why shouldn't every car have a plug?
EV charging plugs have become standardized, the J1772 plug can deliver 110v or 220v (three prong) and has two more contacts that are used for communication, different signal voltages and frequencies tell the base station to turn on and off (cord is not live when it's not connected) and adjusts the max amp draw allowed by the EV's on board charger, allowing it to throttle back the EV's on board charger in times of peek grid load.

The other day I was at a friends apartment and was eyeing up the outlet that is in front of each parking space and thinking about the outlets that I installed next to the parking spaces at home for EV charging and I started thinking about all of the other reasons that you would want to plug in a car, any car.
So my list of reasons for plugging in a gasoline car include:

Preheated/cooled passenger cabins would reduce the amount of idling.

Trickle charger on the starting battery would extend battery life.

Engine block heater would nearly eliminate engine warm up time, sending engine in to closed loop sooner, past experiments have shown that plug in block heaters are cheaper and use less energy then driving with a cold engine.

And of course if you had a hybrid that is not normally a plug in hybrid could benefit as well! a plug in system like this could to a charge/balance of your hybrid battery to extend the life of the pack, allowing a route learning GPS drive train management computer like the Ford C-max has, to deliver you home with a drained battery instead of starting the engine up right before you pull in the driveway.

The hardware is already out there, you can buy the J1772 plugs, recepticals and basic signal generator boxes to tell the base station to turn on, of course right now the parts are still out of most peoples price range, but the cost is dropping and it would give more reason for more EV charging stations to be installed.

Of course to make it work really well, it has to be based off of at least a mildly smart control system, an Arduino that was set up to talk to your smart phones calender and also learned your patterns, so it would preheat your car before you go to work and charge the batteries at off peek times.

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Old 12-24-2012, 02:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm going to be using the block heater in the vlx within the next week or 2 but I was thinking of ways to address the icy/snowy windshield. I came up with an idea using a heating pad. I found one 12 by 24 inch and I could attach it to the inside windshield using suction cup thingys and running the cord through the engine compartment next to the block heater plug
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slownugly View Post
I found one 12 by 24 inch and I could attach it to the inside windshield using suction cup thingys and running the cord through the engine compartment next to the block heater plug
In my electric car I've taken to running heavy gauge extension cord from the charging plug to locations where I want stuff like heaters to plug in and I bought a Woods programmable timer with battery back up to turn my heater on and off.

My electric car is old enough that it just has a standard cord end inlet:



And it works really well! for a while for the heater I just had the heater cord dangling out the passenger door and plugging an extension cord in to a cord that is dangling gets old after a while, a ridged mounted inlet is much easier to deal with and the weather tight cover keeps the contacts clean!

A small dehumidifier is the other thing that I really like having in a plug in car, I have a Amazon.com: Eva-dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier: Health & Personal Care that works really well to keep the inside of the car dry so the windows don't fog up, one small modification that I did was installing a thermostat that turns it off when it's below freezing, otherwise it ices up, a better solution would be to have it cycle on and off when it's below 50F to allow it to melt the ice buildup off.

One guy I know of has a hair dryer under the seat of his EV that is timed to turn on in the mornings, it warms the steering wheel and windshield and stays hidden.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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ALL my (4-wheeled) vehicles have plugs. So, yes.

I'm also a hair dryer under the seat user for winter cabin pre-heating, both EV and ICE.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hair dryer that's awesome!!!
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Great ideas, guys!!! I'm gonna be looking into these, along with some sort of block heater thing(s).
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think that plugin hybrids make a lot of sense - they have the advantages of both EV's and ICE's. I hope every hybrid has a plug, for sure.

Another strategy for regular cars: have a deep cycle battery (or two) and use regenerative braking to charge while driving and trickle charger to keep it topped up. Glow plugs in the catalytic converter would be good, as well as a coolant pre-heater.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey Ryland where did you get that plug?
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How would you do regenerative braking with a "regular" car? I would absolutely love to find a way to do that. Every time I'm out with my girlfriend and have to brake - like going downhill or if traffic ahead slows faster than I can (without braking), I tell her, "this is where a hybrid would be so great - because of the regenerative braking...."
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
where did you get that plug?
The Inlet I bought at the local home improvement store, they are commonly used on the outside of smaller RV's and boats. Leviton 4937 Weatherproof Inlet on Flush Mount Wallplate with Aluminum Cover, Straight Blade Receptacle, Gray - Amazon.com is the one that I bought when I had to replace the one in my car after I used to light weight of a cord (16 gauge) extension cord and had the cord end melt, fusing it in to the receptical.

You can also get some really nice, heavy duty covers like this:


For about $40, or you can get light duty recepticals that have a plastic cover that is not spring loaded... personally I like the spring loaded cover, it always snaps closed and stays sealed!



You can also get inlets that are used on fire trucks, they kick the cord out when you start the vehicle and tend to cost $200 or more, personally I'd opt for a bright red LED that lights up on the dash when the car is plugged in to remind you not to drive away with it plugged in, or my electric car cuts power to the key switch when it's plugged in so nothing happens.

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