When the power goes out in the winter, most people break out cards, candles, flashlights, and extra blankets. How many people think to fire up the Toyota Prius?
For the last couple of months, in North America, the winter has been particularly brutal, with associated snowfall, ice, and power outages. Further north you go, the colder it gets, and the more dangerous a power outage can be. Without power, of course, electric stoves fail, lighting is nonexistent, and some heating systems, which rely on electricity, cease to function. In some areas, homeowners are accustomed to having the backup generator, the typical gasoline-powered generator. Toyota Prius owners have an advantage, because their hybrid electric vehicle doubles as a backup generator.
Case in point: Bob Osemlak of Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, went without power for about nine hours on December 21. Fortunately, it was only about a day, but Osemlak had no problems keeping the family warm and well-fed, as well as entertained, by using his Toyota Prius as a backup generator. Now, nine hours may not seem like a long time, but it gave Osemlak a chance to test his vehicle to home device, a home-brew adapter to connect his Toyota Prius to his house.
By managing his use of high draw appliances, such as the furnace, Osemlak was able to keep the house warm. When the furnace was in use, he could use the refrigerator, lights, and television. Osemlak does not suggest, for safety reasons, to go his particular route in adapting a Toyota Prius, or other hybrid electric vehicle, to supply house power. On the other hand, manufacturers and aftermarket companies are working on compatible vehicle to house systems that are both safe and efficient. During the nine hours that Osemlak was without power, his Toyota Prius burned about a gallon of gas.