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An EV-powered tiny home will demonstrate 100% off-grid energy independence

An EV-powered tiny home will demonstrate 100% off-grid energy independence

Tessa R. Salazar

If you have a full electric vehicle (EV) that’s also capable of powering a small house, wouldn’t you grab the opportunity to put up such a dwelling that’s grid-independent? That’s the intention of Cebu City Councilor, environment advocate, and vegetarian Nestor Archival when he revealed plans to construct a tiny house that would be powered entirely by an EV.

Archival’s planned house would occupy a floor area of only 27-sqm, which would already encompass two bedrooms, a toilet and bath, kitchen and dining area, apart from a 7.29-sqm garage for an EV that would provide the structure’s power source, which in this case would be his Nissan Leaf battery EV.

The house’s roof deck would have enough space for the solar panels, laundry area, and garden. The doors would be made of a combination of recycled wood and bamboo.

Archival, who is also an electrical engineer, further revealed to this writer, “This tiny house will not be connected to the (utility services of the city). The solar panels will charge the Leaf and the back-up battery (which would be used as the house’s power source when the Leaf is out on the road). The back-up battery will power the house, and when the Leaf comes back in, it will take over as the house’s power source.”

He described the concept based on the “Maya” principle (Most advanced yet acceptable) that recommends users apply enough of what they already use and understand, with enough new technology that is easy to adopt.

Archival was inspired to attempt the literal power connection between a tiny house and an EV when he realized months ago the Leaf’s V2x, or “vehicle-to-everything” technology, that enables bi-directional charging to use energy from the Leaf battery to power homes and equipment, or simply give back energy to the power grid.

He explained that the V2x is the capability of the Leaf to receive electrical energy not only to power the vehicle as a means of transport, but also as a means for the EV to provide electrical energy itself via Nissan’s proprietary Power Mover.

Archival has already demonstrated the versatility and adaptability of his Leaf’s V2x capabilities, especially during the times when the City needed it most. When super typhoon Odette raged over the region in mid-December 2021, he used his Leaf to provide an alternative energy source for communities in Cebu affected by the massive power outage.

His Leaf is also charged completely by his house’s solar panels. His 270-sqm two-story eco-house in Talamban, Cebu, that sits on a 7,000 sqm property, is mostly made of recycled materials. The two sets of solar panels are complemented by a 450-watt wind turbine system. The first set of 27 solar panels–-with each having a 250-watt capacity–charges the house’s battery which has a storage capacity of around 5kW. That battery, in turn, powers his refrigerator, two air-conditioners, and other home appliances. Another set of 27 solar panels with the same energy capacity is used to power his workshop and his family’s small ice-making plant.

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Archival isn’t merely concerned by what humans put out, but also what they take in. He said that he’s on a plant-based diet which he classifies as vegetarian.

A study from the Oxford University has identified going vegan (a way of life devoid of all animal products and by-products such as cows, pigs, poultry, sea creatures) as “the single biggest way” we can reduce our carbon footprint, shrinking it by up to 73 percent.

For those who aren’t yet aware, going vegan stops the deforestation, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with animal production, helping to slow climate change and secure our global food supply. It’s also the ideal complement to adopting sustainable mobility practices, such as using renewable energies for transport.

The Human League organization put it simply: “By eliminating our consumption of animal products and making the switch to plant-based eating, we can stop the rapid depletion of earth’s resources, slow the threat of climate change, and help protect our planet for generations to come.”