Is the new Toyota Sienna's hybrid system really capable of taking care of all my heating, cooling and electrical needs?

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colwem

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I've never lived in a van before. Never converted one before. So I don't really know what it takes. I'm thinking of buying a sienna because it seems to have 3 big things taken care of. It's a generator on wheels. It seems like it can provide overnight heating and overnight cooling as a standard feature. And the higher trim levels can include a 1500w inverter.

However as a sanity check can someone with actual understanding of what it takes tell me does this really work? Will the Sienna's onboard power system be sufficient? Is it designed to be able to handle the load I'll be putting on it? Like would using the inverter to the max a lot be more than it's designed for? And would opening the moon roof and turning on the heater every night in January kill it in some way? would it be able to provide sufficient heat in very cold places? Alaska in the winter?

I don't exactly know what I'm planning to do. I don't anticipate having insane energy needs. Except the one thing I really do want to do is spend time in extremely hot and extremely cold places. I'm an extremophile.

Another way you could be helpful is remind me of some things I might want on the road that might take more power than a 1500w inverter can deliver. But if I need more I guess I can just buy an ecoflow delta and charge it with my sienna?
 

maki2

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I can’t think of anything in my setup that takes more than 1,500 watts. Of course I actually did not bring along anything I could not run on my Honda i1000 generator. Just weeded all that stuff out of my life, not enough room for it anyway.
 

bullfrog

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There are kits for the Prius which may be similar to the Sienna that allow a 1500 watt inverter powered by the small 12 volt battery and a 3,000 watt inverter to be used off the big battery. These came about after hurricanes knocked out power on the east coast and were used to power whole houses. They may shorten battery life, something you may want to research. If the heating system depends on the gasoline engine cooling system like the Prius then most owners to reduce engine cycling on and off used an inverter and a low wattage 120 volt ceramic heater to heat the interior at night. Anything can be abused and over used resulting in premature wear but reasonable use for a person not requiring more space this would be an ideal setup if you could afford it in my opinion.
 
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gone2day

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I don't exactly know what I'm planning to do. I don't anticipate having insane energy needs. Except the one thing I really do want to do is spend time in extremely hot and extremely cold places.
Both electric heating and air conditioning in extreme temps use lots of energy. The hybrid system will probably do it but will use a lot of fuel to run the ICE. You may also need to replace the battery sooner than normal with extreme use.
 
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Carla618

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LargeMarge

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I...never lived in a van...

...sanity check... I...want to... spend time in extremely hot and extremely cold...

... remind me of some things I might want on the road...
.
I think a vehicle with yuge windows is engineered for looking out instead of maintaining a constant comfortable interior temperature.
Accordingly, I think your conversion would isolate the quarters in the rear from the driving area up-front.
.
Does the deluxe version have AC and heater vents into the rear area?
Would that version be a mini-bus instead of a cargo configuration?
Would you acquire the bus version, then junk some of the parts to create your quarters?
.
Although I appreciate odd-balls [points to self... and most of the folk I know] fiddling with goofy stuff [points to our rig] to create a completely different use than the manufacturer intended, I think you are investing in a marginal light-duty foundation for full-time live-aboard in the conditions you describe.
.
If I was me, I might rent a similar van, then take it camping.
I might experiment with different road conditions in diverse weather.
I think I would eval its innate insulation, both acoustic and thermal.
.
Do I think your concept is do-able?
Sure.
Do I think your goals could be accomplished with a wide variety of other rigs?
Sure.
.
Do I think you are driving an extraordinarily expensive ('hideously expensive, freakishly expensive') enormously complicated expensive genset with a vehicle attached... instead of getting an old beater, then insulating it and mounting a small genset in a box on the bumper?
Could be...
 

Solarcoast

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I've never lived in a van before. Never converted one before. So I don't really know what it takes. I'm thinking of buying a sienna because it seems to have 3 big things taken care of. It's a generator on wheels. It seems like it can provide overnight heating and overnight cooling as a standard feature. And the higher trim levels can include a 1500w inverter.

However as a sanity check can someone with actual understanding of what it takes tell me does this really work? Will the Sienna's onboard power system be sufficient? Is it designed to be able to handle the load I'll be putting on it? Like would using the inverter to the max a lot be more than it's designed for? And would opening the moon roof and turning on the heater every night in January kill it in some way? would it be able to provide sufficient heat in very cold places? Alaska in the winter?

I don't exactly know what I'm planning to do. I don't anticipate having insane energy needs. Except the one thing I really do want to do is spend time in extremely hot and extremely cold places. I'm an extremophile.

Another way you could be helpful is remind me of some things I might want on the road that might take more power than a 1500w inverter can deliver. But if I need more I guess I can just buy an ecoflow delta and charge it with my sienna?
There is no free lunch. All the power you use will come from running the gas engine, the battery will just store that energy. So either way you are relying on running a gas engine for energy. If you plan to heavily use air conditioning or heating expect to have the car running for extended periods of time and using a lot of fuel

I think a decent 2000w generator would produce power much more efficiently, and be far less costly to repair.

I agree with the other poster that a regular van build and a decent electrical system will do the same thing better for a lot less money.
 

Frood

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YouTuber Nikki Delventhal was in a borrowed Toyota Sienna overnight and reportedly using the hybrid climate control to run the AC during this time consumed about 1 gal of fuel... Not sure if heating would be equivalent.
 

Solarcoast

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What was the ambient temperature? What temperature did she set the ac to? How did she measure fuel use? I tried looking for the video on her channel but couldn't find it. Based on the videos I did see I wouldn't rely on her for hard technical specs.
 

Frood

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What was the ambient temperature? What temperature did she set the ac to? How did she measure fuel use? I tried looking for the video on her channel but couldn't find it. Based on the videos I did see I wouldn't rely on her for hard technical specs.
Definitely not a video for tech specs... she was just talking about living in a sienna for a few days while her prius was in the shop or something.
 
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