Electrical engineer John Sweeney recently discovered his Prius is good for more than green cred on the road: after an ice-storm knocked out power to his Massachusetts home last month, he tapped his car to generate four days’ worth of electricity for his refrigerator, television, stove fan and a few lights.
Sweeney notes that, while non-hybrid cars could also be rigged up in that way, “the Prius is ideally suited for use as an emergency generator, in addition to being a great car in its own right. I believe that this use of a car will seem normal in five to 10 years when we have plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars available to the general public. In addition, we will have implemented a “smart grid” that can charge the electric cars during nonpeak hours and potentially store renewable energy from intermittent sources such as wind and solar.”
You’ll find more details — along with a list of dos and don’ts for those who’d like to try a similar setup — in a writeup by Sweeney at the Harvard Press.
Google has a plan to do same with fleet of electric vehicles and actually sell cheap electricity saved overnight back to the grid at peak time. Check out google.com press stuff
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