I have a mobile car-wash company and I want my guys to have a fully 220V (2000W-3000W) power outlet available to plug their vacuum cleaners into.

I thought I could buy an electric vehicle to "shoot the both ducks". My guys could drive to the client with their cleaning tools and use that ZERO-EMISSION vehicle as a power source.

I would like to have some of your opinions; do you think it's a good idea to go with an electric car instead of a conventional gas car?

Will I have some difficulties with it, or is it absolutely fine?

  • @SolarMike it was meant that I don't need to have a gas engine running on to not kill the car's battery while using vacuum cleaner via power inverter connected to the 12V power output Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 21:24
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    You won’t connect a 2000W inverter to a standard 12v cigar lighter (usually 10A) - for 2000W you need nearly 200A at 12v. You should also consider that if you connect directly to the main battery that it will be 300v or more - outside the « normal » inverter input range...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 21:30
  • Why not consider an auxiliary battery with a split-charge system on a van / pickup that can take all the gear needed anyway.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 21:31
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    I am sure tapping the car battery for this purpose would void the warranty.
    – Moab
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 21:40
  • @SolarMike I will take a look on this one and will go directly to a dealership to ask them. I'll update the post tommorow. Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 21:44

4 Answers 4


This isn't something you do yourself.

The 12V system even at 100% efficiency would require about 250 amperes of current to provide 3000W. At lower efficiency, it's closer to 300 amperes.

I don't think most EVs even have a 3000W DC-DC converter so at 3000W, the 12V battery would deplete in very short amount of time. Lead-acid batteries don't like deep discharge so do that few times and you need a new 12V battery. In some cars like Tesla, every load is accounted for and if you create a load the computer doesn't know about, it will fail to work.

Even 100 mm2 copper wires can't do 300 amperes.

To do this, you need an inverter that's tapped into the high-voltage battery directly. You in practice can't do this yourself, you need a car where the inverter is already present. Some cars like Hyundai Ioniq 5 already have such an inverter. Most don't.

I think it's braindead design to create a mobile >70 kWh battery pack and not add an inverter to provide 230V 3600W via a standard outlet.

Only buy cars that have the all-important 230V 3600W inverter like Hyundai Ioniq 5. Don't buy cars that lack that important feature.

  • thank you for such informative explanation. Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 22:37

This sort of vehicle to load capability is now something you can purchase with your electric vehicle. I’ve seen several providers at a variety of capabilities including the Ford Lightning at the high end (a whole house solution) down to Hyundai Ioniq 5 (more like “what can you fit on a single power strip). At this point, I would recommend you shop for a vehicle that will give you this capability natively rather than trying to retrofit it.

I also expect that this capability will only mature. It’s so much more useful to use the electrons that you brought with you than to try to run loads off of a portable generator!


If this is a DIY project, you'd almost certainly have to run the inverter off of the 12V battery and the 12V batteries on most EVs aren't sized to handle much of a load -- the traction motor battery is going to have an uncomfortably high voltage, it's likely to be well above the input voltage of most off-the-shelf inverters.

However, there are starting to be cars on the market that have V2L (vehicle to load) capabilities. The (currently) unobtainable Ford F150 Lightning comes to mind. Those would be worth investigating.

A vehicle with V2H (vehicle to home) capability, such as the Nissan Leaf, might also be an option.


Except from the cost of the electric vehicle you choose, you should also note that if you use the vehicle to run 220v machines multiple times in a day there is a high chance the ev's battery will discharge quicker than usual.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 18:27
  • Electric power tools are not that energy consuming. A electric car uses on the order of ~2kWh/10km. One hour of a 2kW vacuum cleaner thus equals 10km of driving. Yes, it will of course reduce the state of charge, but not by that much compared to energy used for actually driving...
    – vidarlo
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 20:00

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