All the power outages in New England lately may be another reason to own a Toyota Prius.

What if you could run your house off your car? Or have backup power without the need to drag a generator in and out storage each time you needed it?


Richard Factor, an electrical whiz, explains this creative hack on “With a full tank,” he says, “you can continuously operate several appliances for a few days.” Proceed at your own risk.

1) Go under the hatch. Locate the batteries under the mat beneath the car’s rear hatch. Attach a 2-foot-long, heavy-gauge cable to the relay terminals on the hybrid’s (larger) “traction” battery. Affix a heavy-duty, 75-amp, plug-style connector to the other end.

2) Build a new circuit box. Wire the stuff in your home that you can’t live without � like your fridge and PlayStation � to a separate breaker box. In an emergency, you don’t want to guess which breakers should be on or off � and the Prius battery isn’t strong enough to power everything in a McMansion. Installation requires cutting drywall, mounting the box, rerouting some wires, and running out a 230-volt plug to power the new breaker box. Consider hiring an electrician.

3) Connect the car to the house. Purchase a commercial-strength uninterruptible power supply. Insert the new circuit box’s 230-volt plug into the UPS, and power the UPS by plugging its own 230-volt plug into a clothes-dryer-style home outlet. Run positive and negative wires from the UPS battery to two heavy-duty diodes; do the same with another wire running between the diodes and a 175-amp plug that connects to the Prius’ plug. (The diodes keep electricity from flowing from your house to the Prius.) The UPS is in the loop to help convert the Prius’ 210- to 240-volt DC power into a home’s AC power. Now you’re ready: If the grid goes down, connect the plugs, fire up the Prius, and feel the power.


The Priups concept.