Many people who lost power on the East Coast during Hurricane Sandy were lucky enough to have access to electric generators. But for those who weren’t so fortunate, it was either remain in the dark or, in the case of one MacGyver of a man, figure out how to power your home using a hybrid car.
Bob lives in Paramus and had bought the Toyota Prius Hybrid last June to save on gas, reports NBC 4 New York. For a week after the storm, he was able to power some lights and electronics chargers with the aid of a few heavy-duty extension cords and a 100-watt power inverter plugged into his car’s lighter outlet. Once he figured that out, he upgraded to a 300-watt inverter to power his entire home — all on three-quarters of a tank of gas.
He said he’d heard about using a Prius as a power source on the Internet and figured he might as well give it a go after he lost power during Sandy.
“The neighbors kept saying, ‘Does Bob have a generator?’ No, it’s the Prius. It’s a spaceship,” he told the news station.
He wasn’t able to use a heater with his MacGyver system, but just having the lights on and charing his electronic devices was enough — and a lot more power than hundreds of thousands of other customers have had recently.
Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing before hooking your own car as a generator. Any time you utilize other sources for power, safety is an issue.
To that point, Consumerist reader Mark writes in with an important safety tip regarding generators:
Anyone running a gas-powered generator, whether it is intended as transportation or not, needs to make sure the generator is in a well-ventilated area. Every time there is a hurricane in Florida, there are several reports of people or entire families dying from carbon monoxide poisoning because they ran a generator in their home, garage, or other confined space.
NJ Man Powers Home with Hybrid Car During Blackout [NBC 4 New York]