Having a car with the capability to double as a generator could be a lifesaver in an emergency situation. A Toyota Prius will not suit the typical work sites and rural areas where backup generators are used regularly, but in a worst case scenario, hybrid owners with the necessary inversion kit may find their investment paid back a hundred times over.
Setting up your Prius for use as a generator
In order to turn a Toyota Prius into a backup generator, a plug-out inversion kit is needed. This kit will draw directly from the Prius’ electric battery, flowing into an outlet island that can power a vast range of appliances, at least so long as the engine is running. Although plug-out inverter kits aren’t widely available, a number of retailers online offer their own version. ConVerdant is one such manufacturer, offering kits for sale in a range of kW power ratings.
Step 1: Attach the input cable to the Prius’ high voltage electric battery. This may be done by accessing the battery compartment from the trunk of your Prius.
Step 2: Hook up the cable between the island and the battery, aligning colors with colors on the input clamps. In order to safeguard your expensive components, include a surge protector in part of the circuit.
With this quick process done, it’s just a matter of turning on the plug-out island and plugging whatever desired appliances you want into the island for use.
These kits can seem expensive as a purely precautionary tool, ranging from $100 to several hundred U.S. dollars depending on the retail source and kW rating of the product. However, it is strongly recommended you purchase one if you live in a geographical region where natural disasters, such as flooding, are relatively common.
Using your Prius as a generator
First of all, turn on the Prius’ ignition via the power button on the car’s dashboard. You can plug in whatever appliances you need via with plug-out inverter’s outlets. The appliances should be powered so long as the Prius is at least idling.
From there you can use it like an extension cord, energizing whatever things you need. With the generator working in place, you should be able to use at least one appliance at a time; the specifics will depend on the power needed, as well as the kW power of the inverter kit you’re using.
If there are any problems with getting the generator to work, you should check along the cable to ensure everything has been attached on both ends. This includes verifying that the surge protector has been installed in the circuit properly. You should also verify whether the inverter kit in use is compatible with your Prius model type.
If things have been set up correctly, the generator should function for as long as the vehicle is idling. Better still, the Prius’ efficient gas engine only kicks in when it’s needed, generating power using a surprisingly small amount of fuel. And with its low emission footprint and quiet operating noise, it’s not hard to see why this is a helpful Prius feature. Ready to learn even more about the features of your Prius? Find out how to use the Intelligent ParkAssist feature, perform an emergency stop, and disable the reverse beep.