Toyota is hoping that in the event of blackouts, Prius owners would be able to use their vehicle as a home power generator at least for the next few days. Toyota is currently doing experiments on the Prius to expand its capabilities. Similar to what other automakers have done with their EVs, the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid can transfer power from home to car as well as vice-versa.
In most homes, the Prius can offer a total of four days of power. This is much higher than the 24 hours that Nissan estimates its Leaf to offer as soon as it develops the technology to move power from the car into the smart grid. In a press release, Toyota said that stored power is converted by an AC 100V inverter on the Prius into AC appropriate for home use.
Meanwhile, the power flow is controlled according to the link-up between vehicle, charging stand and home. Toyota said that under this new method, low-carbon electricity is generated from regional or home solar generators, or low-cost late-night electricity.
After being stored in the battery, the power can be used in the household during peak consumption periods. By the end of the year, Toyota will start to conduct tests on this technology in 10 Japanese homes.