Video: Charging a Tesla Model S Via a Honda EU6500iS Generator


It turns out that, in a pinch, a Honda EU6500iS generator can charge a Tesla Model S.

This Generator Can Indeed Charge a Tesla Model S

This Generator Can Indeed Charge a Tesla Model S

“It’s typically very hard to get the Model S to charge from a portable generator (they don’t produce clean enough power) so this was mostly to prove you can do it with this particular model if you absolutely needed to.”

Says the uploader of this video.

Honda lists the EU6500iS with an MSRP of $4,499.95

Some specs on the unit are below.  Additionally, you can follow this link to Honda’s site for more details on the generator used in this video to charger the Model S.

EU6500iS Specs

EU6500iS Specs

Category: ChargingTeslaVideos,


22 responses to "Video: Charging a Tesla Model S Via a Honda EU6500iS Generator"
  1. Taser54 says:

    Interesting, yet a tow to a 240 plug seems the better bargain OR ,cough, a chevy volt.

    1. Elroy says:

      Wow, that’s an expensive generator. Now the, $4000 for a range extender on the i3 seems pretty reasonable.!

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Even at 5KW rated power, it would be hardly a range extender…

      Unless you start the generator when the battery is full.

      5KW won’t even get the Model S up the small hill in SF without the help of the main battery…

  2. David Murray says:

    Nice how the Tesla allows the user to pick an arbitrary amperage. With a Leaf, this would be more challenging because I don’t think there is any way for the car to just pick a lower amperage and 6.6 Kw would probably be too high for the generator. It would require an EVSE that could set a particular current limit.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Can’t the EVSE charge at 3.3 kw? I wonder how it decides what kw to charge at. Some the EVSE interogates the source capability or something.

    2. Phatcat73 says:

      Based on Chargepoint my 2013 Leaf charges at 6.0-6.1kW. This generator should work fine.

      1. vdiv says:

        This generator’s spec lists 5,500W nominal rated power output. Your LEAF gets 6 to 6.1kW at the ChargePoint because it is powered by 208V. The generator outputs 240V. You will have to find a way to restrict the current via the J1772 EVSE down to 18A (30% duty cycle on the pilot signal) producing about 4.3kW. 24A or 5.8kW would be above the rating

    3. Dave R says:

      Or, you could just plug in an EVSE that limits current to below it’s rated power level (240V/22.9A). The EVSEupgrade for Nissan portable EVSEs would be great for this as it’s rated at 20A maximum and can be adjusted down to 6A.

      What would be very interesting to know would be the efficiency curve of the generator so you can run it at it’s most efficient level.

      At rated power it’s only about 17% efficient which seems pretty low and it’s even worse at 1/4 load. I suspect it’s better at around 1/2 load.

  3. Cavaron says:

    So you need about 9gals. of gas to fill a Tesla Models with a 60kwh battery which is good for 208 miles which is about 23mpg. Not all to bad in emergency situations.

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      Cavaron’s comment is a great example of why I love this site: People here are willing to think and actually do the math.

      Carry on.

      1. Boris says:

        Attempt at being funny? Give it another try…

        1. Aaron says:

          I think he was being serious. I appreciate facts more than conjecture as well.

          1. Boris says:

            Apologies then, it sure sounded sarcastic to me…

            1. pjwood says:

              Cavoron’s comment speaks to the future. As long as prices for different fuels keep diverging (Ex, domestic Ngas/gasoline), substitution math will take hold.

              It’s getting everybody thinking dollars over miles, instead of miles over gallon. Paradigms are hard to shake.

    2. Priusmaniac says:

      Or you can burn wood in a stirling generator.

    3. Jesse Gurr says:

      Here is some more math. The generator has an efficiency of about 17% at rated load, 5500W.
      That means it extracts about 5.7kWh from a gallon of gas from the 33.7kWh available. Inefficient but might be good in a pinch if needed.

  4. Tim says:

    I prefer to use a perpetual motion machine for charging.

  5. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    This begs a different question. Why aren’t EV makers setting up their charging systems to accept “dirty” power. After all, one of the first things the charging systems does with AC is to convert it to DC. I don’t know that much about the innards of the charging systems in various cars but I bet most of the problem has to do with how they detect the existence of AC. If they knew it was a poorly formed generator waveform, they might be able to relax some of the requirements.

    1. Albert Level says:

      Power level and safety.

      Dirty power usually means something is wrong with the power source. Continuing to cheerfully pull 6kw from suspect wiring is a good way to start a fire. The Model S just recently became MORE picky about the power it accepts for exactly this reason. The car can’t tell the difference between a cheap generator and a poorly wired house.

      They could add a “hey, I’m charging from a generator. Accept the dirty power.” option, but it probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Not really Albert, the S didn’t suddenly become more ‘picky’. It just lowers the current to 32 amps if the voltage drops too much, in anticipation of their Lousy 14-50P plug failing.

        The problem with generators is the output may not be sinusoidal, and that applies to a lesser extent with inverter generators, although, if you spend enough such as this dude did you’ll get an inverter with a clean enough output. Most warranties are voided by the use of a cheap generator. So hopefully he used a Nom de Plume.

  6. Mike I says:

    The key point is that this is an inverter type generator. So, no matter how the load changes, the inverter can maintain constant frequency and produce a consistent waveform. Most generators will change frequency as the engine speed changes with load. If you already have a “dirty” whole-house generator and really want to be able to charge your EV during a utility outage, you could use a Double Conversion UPS. This type of UPS takes the power from the wall and runs it through another inverter to provide a clean output waveform. The APC SmartUPS RT line has models with sufficient capacity for EV charging. You should not need the batteries in the UPS for this to work and used ones can be found on eBay for reasonable prices.

  7. ffbj says:

    For all intents and purposes we are living on a perpetual motion machine.