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View Full Version : Toyota Prius as SHTF vehicle


Paladin
11-22-2012, 10:22 AM
I developed this idea over at: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=639524 but edited it to post here for preppers who missed it in the OT forum.

*****

Back when that massive earthquake hit Japan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_T%C5%8Dhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami), they had to shut down some nukes. Many folks w/Priuses improvised to make them mobile power generators. Later, Toyota said they'd offer in the future an option that would enable a Prius to act as a gasoline powered electrical generator. You would park your Prius outdoors (due to exhaust emissions), and run an extension cord from it into your house to power stuff (your refrig every few hours, lights for a few hours at nite, etc). Power would come from the hybrid/plug-in battery first and then from engine powering the electric motor/generator.

Looks like this option was released for the Prius and Prius Plug-In in early Nov.: http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2012/10/25/toyota-prius-is-now-an-emergency-backup-generator/#.UJXSXYW6Wp0
It cost just under $800 for the Prius and just under $1,200 for the Plug-In. System is rated at 1.5kW and 100V.

Those options do not show on their webpage yet:
http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/options.html
http://www.toyota.com/prius-plug-in/accessories.html

As this article points out (http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20121025/247531/), the Prius Plug-In holds 4.4kWh in its battery pack, so that in itself would last awhile (up to 4 days for an average Japanese home acc to http://www.gizmag.com/toyota-prius-plug-in-emergency-generator/22834/), before needing to use the engine and gasoline to generate electricity. Not sure if that 4 days is full-time, or only minimal, emergency use as I described. That makes me wonder if you charged the Plug-In ahead of time, and you had a full tank, how long you could have minimal, emergency electricity in case like Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, where you knew ahead of time that some S was about to HTF. If you had switched as many of your home lights over to L-Prize winning Phillips bulb (60W of light for 10W of electricity), your electricity would go even farther (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=620177).

If you plan on bugging out, wherever you drive your Prius, you've got a generator. No need to pack a portable generator taking up luggage space and adding weight. It is always in your car and ultra-low profile, so no one is the wiser. Just grab your BOB, a can of extra gas, some 5 gallon containers of water and you're good to go!

If you get the Prius Plug-In and if you suspected ahead of time that S may HTF (e.g., like w/the Rodney King verdict, hurricane Katrina, hurricane Sandy, Zimmerman verdict), you can fully charge the battery pack and choose NOT to use it at all when driving (it will then operate like a regular Prius hybrid). That way when you arrive at your retreat, you've got a rechargable Li ion battery pack charged 4.4kWh of energy with you too. At your retreat, you can drive using only electricity to be stealthy or to save gasoline if the retreat has PV panels/wind or other gen. Best part is that until that day (or 2015 when HOV decal expires), you get to use the HOV lanes, and federal, state, and local governments help subsidize your survival vehicle! (incentives to buy plug-in hybrids) :43:

I wonder if a small business owner could use the business expense deduction by saying it is a mobile emergency generator for his business?

If Toyota offered a Plug-In version of the Prius V (has cargo room larger than many small SUVs), with the roof top solar panel package (currently offered only on the standard, non-plug-in Prius), that would be ideal: more room for stuff and excellent for camping, plus a mobile PV panel that goes w/you wherever you drive to help recharge your battery pack w/o using gasoline or electricity.

cdtx2001
11-22-2012, 10:44 AM
After an EMP, a Prius will be even more useless than before. Not to mention, people would still make fun of your man-gina for having a Prius.

223556
11-22-2012, 10:47 AM
After an EMP, a Prius will be even more useless than before. Not to mention, people would still make fun of your man-gina for having a Prius.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!:D

dieselpower
11-22-2012, 10:48 AM
win win. I may need to look into one for a around town car.

Intimid8tor
11-22-2012, 10:49 AM
I think it has SOME merits, especially in certain instances. For long term, no way. Too many issues with long term servivability and being able to drive it through tough conditions.

I would rather put a PTO on my truck and get a generator set up to run off a PTO.

The War Wagon
11-22-2012, 10:53 AM
Yes - detonating a Prius in front of your house, WOULD be a good diversionary tactic, while you made your escape!

That is the gist of your post, no? I didn't really want to waste time reading it. :cool:

d4v0s
11-22-2012, 10:59 AM
Wicked cool idea here.

I will be honest though, a multifuel generator that can run off of scavenged motor oil, tranny fluid, vege oil, and other oil based products would be far more useful.

Look at new york, people were standing in line waiting for a few gallons of gas. I cannot imagine that it would be very useful long term. HOWEVER a multifuel engine that could make use of the waste oils like engine oil, trans fluid, atf and the like would be extremely useful. IMO

aalvidrez
11-22-2012, 11:02 AM
What about an inverter as a practical generator? Theres some that will run a power tools and refrigerators which is why we need a generator. Takes up little space, requires minimal maintenance and you already have a car...

ZombieZoo
11-22-2012, 5:12 PM
Seems like total "no brainer" that any car (hybrid, or otherwise) should have a few 110V plugs, both inside and outside.

It is just plain dumb they made hybrids with huge batts and generators without 110v outlets and even 220v(for dryer or foreign stuff, or most likely a temp power construction box)

dieselpower
11-22-2012, 6:23 PM
Wicked cool idea here.

I will be honest though, a multifuel generator that can run off of scavenged motor oil, tranny fluid, vege oil, and other oil based products would be far more useful.

Look at new york, people were standing in line waiting for a few gallons of gas. I cannot imagine that it would be very useful long term. HOWEVER a multifuel engine that could make use of the waste oils like engine oil, trans fluid, atf and the like would be extremely useful. IMO

I didnt realize a multifuel generator could be driven 300+ miles on the highway...what brand do you recommend?

ZombieZoo
11-22-2012, 6:33 PM
IIRC, VW was planning a bio-ready hybrid diesel.

MAYBE it will come with factory 110v outlets.

I get a weird feeling that the common sense of using regular household stuff in the car and 'car as way of life' is mostly an American thing.

My German professor says in Germany(and Europe) they don't have houses of "toothpics" and they are all solid stone and or concrete, and it is all about "bugging in".

aalvidrez
11-22-2012, 7:15 PM
IIRC, VW was planning a bio-ready hybrid diesel.

MAYBE it will come with factory 110v outlets.

I get a weird feeling that the common sense of using regular household stuff in the car and 'car as way of life' is mostly an American thing.

My German professor says in Germany(and Europe) they don't have houses of "toothpics" and they are all solid stone and or concrete, and it is all about "bugging in".

Germany doesn't sit on major fault lines..:43:

speedrrracer
11-22-2012, 7:40 PM
Great post. Certainly highlights the versatility of an already epic vehicle, esp for bug-in situations.

NotEnufGarage
11-22-2012, 8:01 PM
I didnt realize a multifuel generator could be driven 300+ miles on the highway...what brand do you recommend?

My Cummins powered truck can. 120 amp alternator, two 1000 CA batteries, battery isolator, 800 watt inverter. Plan to add s few more batteries and a 4000 watt inverter. Id like to find a PTO generator hookup.


Truck runs on diesel, waste motor oil, waste veg oil.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

kb58
11-22-2012, 8:19 PM
After an EMP...
Which goes along nicely with your sig...
"Hokey religions..."
There's a whole lot of disasters FAR more likely to happen than an EMP, but I guess we can always ignore the 40% chance of real problems and dream of the 0.001%...

mindwip
11-22-2012, 8:50 PM
Lol houses of toothpicks now thats funny lets see there stone houses live up to 7.4 and greater quakes

Gothboy
11-23-2012, 5:58 AM
I truly applaud your thinking outside the box, and if that idea will work for you, ROCK IT! It sounds like youve done your research, and if it is the direction you want to go that will factually support your shtf scenario, then I suggest you test it to verify it WILL work! Doesnt sound unrealistic at all. Cool on you for sharing! :)

Oceanbob
11-23-2012, 6:34 AM
Slightly off topic: What's the problem with Prius drivers? On a recent drive from LA to the Bay Area I noticed that Prius Drivers just would not drive over 58 MPH in the fast lane. They were oblivious to blocking traffic with the string of 26 cars behind them trying to make at least the speed limit. :mad:

dieselpower
11-23-2012, 6:44 AM
Slightly off topic: What's the problem with Prius drivers? On a recent drive from LA to the Bay Area I noticed that Prius Drivers just would not drive over 58 MPH in the fast lane. They were oblivious to blocking traffic with the string of 26 cars behind them trying to make at least the speed limit. :mad:

I do the same in a Hummer with a top speed of 60....I use the slow lane though...;)

Kurus214
11-23-2012, 7:18 AM
A well thought out idea.
It seems very expensive and 4kw will be depleted quickly if AC or space heater is needed.
I'm wondering though - Prius'es are running 10K over a car in the same class giving near the same mileage.
The batery option is costing an additiona 1200, so your outlay for this preparedness is over $11,000 dollars.

A 4 KW Onan dielse generator takes 1 gallon per hour to 3 gallons per hour and at full load can run two 12K btu air conditioners, plus lights plus a 40" TV and satellite tuner, plus a RV propane/ electric fridge.

I'd also say for that level of preparedness the battery system is potentially a big cost to replace. I'm not sure though what type of warranty the batteries are carrying I'd heard early replacement estimates at 7-12 years.
The fridege BTW can run 4 weeks on 15 gallons of propane.
I've got 150 gallons of fuel, 4 wheels, beds, a roof and some saftey if I need to bug out or primary residence becomes uninhabitable.

Each bug out situation is different, I'm planning for erthquakes, fire, floods, and industrial accidents. Based on my years as a disaster voulunteer those ar ethe most common.

Good luck your quest as it seems very well thought out.
Respects.
K

Sanderhawk
11-23-2012, 7:43 AM
After an EMP, a Prius will be even more useless than before. Not to mention, people would still make fun of your man-gina for having a Prius.

HA HA HA HA HA HA OMFG :rofl2::rofl2: This made my morning

Chaparral
11-23-2012, 12:04 PM
Back around the time of Hurricane Andrew, FEMA had some pickup trucks that could idle and generate household current at the same time. I'd always wanted one of those. The receptacles were located by the tailgate IIRC from the photos of the time. It was in a Time or Newsweek article I think.

A regular Prius could probably be hacked. I got a base model '08 used for 14K and change out the door a couple years back but haven't had the time to start doing the research and pulling it apart...prolly has something to do with the fact that I have a job or three that I use it to get to and don't want to deal with the downtime.

As for revocation of the man card, I earned mine long ago and don't really have the need to prove anything to anyone. When gas hits $6.00 and then 7 and then 8 and 9 and 10 a gallon while wages, pensions, disability and social security stay the same or get at most, a 2% yearly increase, we'll see who still has the luxury of complaining about a car that barely accelerates or feels more like a household appliance than a real automobile. All the retired cops, firefighters and skoo-teechers that will be buying cheap chinese dog food because that's all their pension will afford them will probably agree when that time comes.

paul0660
11-23-2012, 12:08 PM
AC or space heater

There might be some impact on personal comfort when the SHTF.

Anyone know what kind of voltage the Prius generates? Not Watts or amps, voltage.

Chaparral
11-23-2012, 12:21 PM
A well thought out idea.
It seems very expensive and 4kw will be depleted quickly if AC or space heater is needed.


In 2005 I started prepping for more than just a short-term natural disaster or violent civil unrest.

I started prepping for the complete, utter and total collapse of the US dollar. The underlying assumption was that within 20 years time, Americans will have the same crappy material standard of living that the typical Latin American/SE Asian/Chinese/Indian subcontinent resident has now, with three or four generations living together in a small house, maybe one vehicle like a moped or TATA or microbus in the garage and we'll be so poor that even a decent steak will be unaffordable except on special occasions. With that in mind I designed and built my current house for passive heating and cooling. I can go the entire year without turning on the heat or AC. My bug in plans therefore only need to address the fridge, satellite receiver, two smaller flatscreens, the surveillance system and a few lights and chargers. A Prius battery pack ought to be able to keep that going for a good long time. In the meantime It can get me to work and back for about 60 bucks a month.

If I lived up in BigBear or Lone Pine I'd rely on propane or wood for heat anyhow. Electricity would be just for the little things.

ElDub1950
11-23-2012, 12:22 PM
You can buy twice the generator for half the price as this prius option.

This is far more just a gimmick than a reasonable disaster prep option.

Added thought .... In a real SHTF situation, a vehicle left idling in your driveway would disappear in about 20 minutes.

Falstaff
11-23-2012, 2:36 PM
My Cummins powered truck a 4000 watt inverter. Id like to find a PTO generator hookup.


Truck runs on diesel, waste motor oil, waste veg oil.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

Don't forget The Mighty Cummins can run on Jet A and kerosene as well as the above!

The old deuce and a half was the best though gaso OR diesel or jet fuel!!

badreligion
11-23-2012, 9:11 PM
I like the idea but gasoline is the weak link. Better off with a multi fuel diesel vehicle.

My personal choice would be a duece, M35 with a whistler C and a PTO winch. Big enough and strong enough to put a Prius in the back and tow a second one. Or better yet connect a PTO generator to the rear output of the PTO to power a centrifuge oil filter set to clean all of the dirty WVO out of the dead Prius's on the side of the road and use it as fuel. You can put the centrifuge oil filter on the trailer right next to your 40kw diesel generator which is also multi fuel. Put a couple of decent sized solar panels above the bed to charge your battery stored in the bed also. Add a second 50 gallon fuel tank and that will give you over 600 miles between fill ups. While everyone is scrounging for gasoline your simply looking for dead vehicles with old motor oil in them, or old WVO at the local mechanics garage.

smle-man
11-24-2012, 9:33 AM
My wife's 2010 Ford Escape hybrid has a 110 150w outlet on the center console. Can't handle much power but enough to recharge electronics or run a laptop I suppose.

speedrrracer
11-24-2012, 5:08 PM
My wife's 2010 Ford Escape hybrid has a 110 150w outlet on the center console. Can't handle much power but enough to recharge electronics or run a laptop I suppose.

Don't see why not...a Prius was used that way during Hurricane Sandy:

"NJ Man Powers Home with Hybrid Car During Blackout"

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/new-jersey-power-gas-prius-hybrid-car-paramus-177998891.html

Mr. Gillious
11-24-2012, 5:19 PM
After an EMP, a Prius will be even more useless than before. Not to mention, people would still make fun of your man-gina for having a Prius.

Very true. Prius is very....G*Y. Can I say that on here??

But let me tell you. Those things are easy to repair. I can swap that motor and HV battery with a blind fold on.

The little compartment that is on top of the spare would make a nice storage for ammo and guns.

Replacing the engine and or transmission takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours if you're experienced enough to do it that fast. If you have mechs wrenching at the same time, you could probably swap the engine and tranny in an hour.... i'm not even joking.

The same goes for the HV battery.

I live in San Francisco and I see these cars ALL the time.

It would be a great SHTF car because you can easily break into other prius' and chop them down and scavenge FAST

Mr. Gillious
11-24-2012, 5:21 PM
...Oh yeah.... turn it into a plug in hybrid and steal some solar panels from your local middle school and you're ready for the end of the world my friends

alcmaeon
11-24-2012, 6:04 PM
Prius, I had one. Hated it. Life is too short to drive one daily. One question- what if you need to drive over any kind of real obstacle- downed tree branches, cracked roadway, meridians, 2 track. Prius isn't going to make it. Its got no clearance and tiny tires. True, there are always going to be obstacles that would even stop a rigged out Jeep with a big lift and huge tires. But a Prius style car is going to get stopped by overgrown roadbumps. Just something to think about.

philobeddoe
11-24-2012, 10:46 PM
After an EMP, a Prius will be even more useless than before. Not to mention, people would still make fun of your man-gina for having a Prius.

http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff296/gophernuts/reseda%20corn%20chip%20run/P1160926.jpg

DavidR310
11-25-2012, 11:51 AM
^^^ Did the XD faint?

DavidR310
11-25-2012, 11:58 AM
I see the prius outlet as a 3rd level backup. Like others said, get a real multifuel generator first. Better yet, get two. Then a solar panel and some rechargeable batteries like the sanyo eneloops from costco. Save your vehicle's fuel for bugging out.

If you tough out a disaster for two weeks using all your fuel, then see clear signs that things are going from bad to worse and need to bug out, you may not have enough fuel to reach your BOL and then you will be SOL.