With the current weather conditions in mind, Toyota said its new fuel cell vehicle could be the answer to keeping the lights on when power cuts strike.
Instead of fumbling for the candles when the electricity supply fails, owners of the new Toyota FCV could simply reach for their car keys to keep their homes warm and bright, says Toyota.
The FCV, due to make its world sales debut next year, is demonstrating its potential as a back-up domestic energy supplier at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
Toyota explained the four-door sedan’s electric motor can produce more than 100 kilowatt and, with a full tank of hydrogen fuel, could generate enough energy to power a regular home for a week. Toyota’s engineers are now researching an external power supply device that could be used with the car to provide a safe and simple domestic connection.
The FCV’s potential as an emergency power supply is of course secondary to its principal role as a practical, zero-emissions vehicle. Benefiting from Toyota’s decade of hydrogen fuel cell research and development, it is expected to have a range of at least 300 miles on a full tank, and can be refilled just as quickly and safely as a conventional gasoline or diesel model. Toyota added when driven, the car’s only tailpipe emission is water, the by-product of the fuel cell system’s electricity generation process.
Toyota has made its hybrid vehicles central to its research into developing low-carbon homes, integrating the rechargeable Prius Plug-in into its “smart grid” housing developments in Toyota City, Japan, and in a pilot project last year in Indianapolis.
Toyota boasted that unofficially, its hybrids have already proved their worth as mobile power stations, notably with Prius models being drafted in as emergency energy sources in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and in the recent storms and power outages hitting North America and the UK.