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Toyota reveals plans to power homes in an emergency

Toyota’s new FCV might not just be an exciting new addition to showrooms when it makes its world sales debut next year.

As the brand reiterated its support for hydrogen fuel cell technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, the carmaker also revealed how it plans to use the technology to ensure that the lights remain switched on at home when there is a power cut.

Toyota FCV in Las Vegas

At the show, the hydrogen car—which is based on the Toyota Prius—demonstrated its ability to work as a back-up supply of domestic energy at the show. The four-door saloon can generate enough energy to power a regular home for a week, assuming it has a full tank of hydrogen. Engineers are now researching an external power supply device that could be used with the car to provide a safe and simple domestic connection for customers.

Fitted with a pair of high-pressure hydrogen fuel tanks (70mPa) and 100kW electric motor, the car’s primary role of course, will be to provide a practical approach to zero harmful emission motoring. With a 3kW/l power output density—twice that of the system previously used in the FCHV-adv concept— the car can deliver a range of around 300 miles with full tanks and can be refuelled in the same time it takes to fill up a petrol or diesel car.

This isn’t the first time Toyota has been involved in domestic energy supplies. The firm has also been using its Prius Plug-in as part of research into the development of smart homes, running a pilot project last year in the Indianapolis region in the USA. Unofficially, Toyota 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.

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Faye Sunderland

Filed under: Toyota, Fuel Cells

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