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PHOTO CAPTION: Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Stack capable to generating 100kW of electric power.

Toyota Working on Vehicle-to-Home Backup Power System

Toyota's FCV hydrogen fuel cell car might someday serve as an emergency power generator capable of easily supplying a home's electricity needs.

Published: 11-Jan-2014

In the wake of recent storms in North America and Britain, several enterprising Toyota Prius owners adapted their hybrids as backup power sources to run their homes during recent storm caused power outages.

In fact, enterprising owners have been finding a way to tap the electric power from their hybrid cars for a number of years now, a lesson not lost on Toyota, or Nissan or Mitsubishi or, even General Motors whose early Silverado hybrids were equipped with a pair of 110V outlets.

Now we hear that Toyota is preparing its 2015 fuel cell car to be able to similarly provide emergency power. The hydrogen fuel cell stack found in the concept car on display at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show is capable of producing a maximum of 100kW. Depending on household loads, that's enough to nearly power an entire neighborhood, and easily one home. Presumably, however, only a fraction of that energy will be available due to safety considerations: utilities won't want repair crews working in an area where there is live voltage. What power will be available from the car will likely be used to feed separate appliances, rather than the entire home circuit, unless there's an automatic grid cut-off in place.

Work on making hybrid and electric car energy storage capacity available in emergencies took a serious turn in the wake of the 2011 tsunami in Japan and subsequent power shortages across the country.

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