Open the garage door first

The next-generation Prius is due somewhere around 2014. What I expect: 55 mpg, maybe even 60. What I didn’t expect: handy disaster capability. TTAC’s Bertel Schmitt explains:

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami will get Toyota customers a unique feature: A genset, free with purchase of a hybrid. Toyota was moved by the fact that people who had not electricity, but who had gasoline, rigged their hybrid to produce at least a little power. Akio Toyoda announced that “all Toyota hybrids will receive a new function that allows them to be used as emergency generators.”

One guy who’s tried something similar with a current model:

I hook up a few inverters to my Prius, and it runs maybe 5 minutes every four hours or so to keep the battery charged. Was very handy last week when the power was out for 3 days when the tornadoes ripped through.

Estimated gasoline use for the period: around half a gallon.



  1. McGehee »

    12 May 2011 · 10:04 am

    Okay, that’s handy.

  2. Ric Locke »

    12 May 2011 · 6:17 pm

    Unh hunh. Now to make some money.

    Put that rig, with a bigger engine, under a Tundra pickup. The ad shows rugged hunter types gathered ’round the campfire in the deep woods, watching the NFL on wide-screen TV. One of them is checking the fridge for beer —

    Not exactly the Greenest thing, but if what you want is to sell stuff and make money, well, there it is.


  3. CGHill »

    12 May 2011 · 6:55 pm

    GM missed a good bet with those Two-Mode Hybrids they didn’t try too hard to sell. You’d think a 20-mpg Tahoe would move faster than donuts across the street from the police station, but no.

  4. Dan B »

    12 May 2011 · 7:00 pm

    … especially given the inverter that the Tahoe could have powered, you could have almost have run a house off of it.

    As with any other generator, do not run the Prius-as-generator in a closed garage, unless your plans include shuffling loose the mortal coil. If you plans do include that, you’re better off with the Tahoe, you might accidentally survive the Prius in the garage.

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