This winter has been one of the worst on record worldwide. There have been terrible floods here in the UK as well as exceptionally cold weather in the United States of America. Thousands of people have been left without power and in the cold over the last few months. Generators for remote power are nothing new, but they themselves can prove troublesome to get power from since they need fuel, but what if fuel cannot be gotten to? Secondly, many people don’t have one or even the space to store it.
Toyota (and Lexus) are keen to point out the benefits of their hybrid and forthcoming fuel cell systems and the potential for cars to be used as generators in times of need. Using their fuel cell technology which should be on the road in 2015, engineers are already working on developing external power supply connectivity which would enable owners to plug their car into their home and use it as a generator – but don’t forget to flip the switch inside which cuts off power to the outside world, else you’ll be attempting to power the grid!
Hybrids on the other hand are already a mainstay of our roads with millions of them around the world already in place. The idea with these is that as they carry batteries on-board, once the cars reach the end of their life (long before the batteries reach theirs we might add), they can be re-purposed as stationary power storage systems. This isn’t supposition or an idea for the future, instead, it is a reality occurring in Japan since 2013. Toyota have been using these old hybrid batteries to provide power to Toyota dealerships.
Elsewhere in the world, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama (TMMAL) is studying these used-battery systems for use in powering their operations and for providing emergency power during a short power outage/cut.
The technology has already been proven as we discussed in this article here: Toyota Demonstrates Plugging in their FCV to a Home at CES 2014
Photo source; Toyota