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Published on November 10th, 2012 | by Jake Richardson


Man Lights House with Toyota Prius

November 10th, 2012 by  

An enterprising New Jersey man used his Toyota Prius as a generator to run his home’s lights, laptops, and a television because he lost power due to the recent Sandy outages. For one week he used an inverter and some extension cords to produce power for his home while only using 75% of one tank of gas.

At one point, as you probably know, millions of homes were without power in New York and New Jersey.


There are instructions online explaining how to use a Prius as a generator. WikiHow has a six-step process, including a tip about proper ventilation, because car exhaust can be deadly if it accumulates in a space where people or animals are breathing.

The New Jersey man is not the only person to have used a Prius to power devices in his home. Last year, a man in Massachusetts did as well. “When it looked like we were going to be without power for awhile, I dug out an inverter (which takes 12v DC and creates 120v AC from it) and  wired it into our Prius… These inverters are available for about $100 many places online,” the man said. He only used five gallons of gas to power his home appliances for three days.

Many backup generators use two-cycle engines, which are known to create large amounts of air pollution, though they certainly are much cheaper than a Prius. Some electric vehicle owners also have solar panels on their homes and generate all or a portion of their own power.

The 2012 Prius has been rated at 536 miles per tank.

Image Credit: S 400 HYBRID

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  • EVmarc

    I did vehicle to house in 2011
    power out
    on my 84volt electric motorcycle
    attached 12volt to 120 volt AC inverter
    powered the heater furnace blower fans
    kept home warm that day power was out
    pretty simple

  • Techno

    At least he did something to help himsefl, I hope 10% of the people while waiting in line to buy gas would have thought about doing something to help themselves, at least place solar panels on their windows if renting an apartment.

  • The Volt is a much more efficient generator, uses 2 gallons a day due to the huge battery buffer…. it will run a few minutes each hour…


  • freedomev

    ————Excellent idea as the Prius motor is 3-10 x’s the eff of a portable generator and a couple % of the pollution of one. Not to mention far more quiet.
    ———When a huricane hit us in Fla I rn my home for 3 days off my lightweight EV’s. Others generators drove me crazy loud and runing alll night.
    ———If one uses RE it’s a good reason to use battery systems so they can work even with the grid down. Many Grid tie inverters don’t work if disconnected from the grid.

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