Toyota Motor Corp announced July 19, 2011, that it will equip the Prius with a function to provide electricity from its rechargeable battery to external equipment.
The function enables to power, for example, home electric appliances in the case of power outage. Toyota plans to release it as an option for the Prius in 2012. Its price has not been determined yet. The company intends to make the function available to other hybrid electric vehicles, too.
Toyota has already equipped the hybrid electric version of the Estima with a power supply function.
"(After the Tohoku Earthquake,) users in the afflicted areas told us that they charged their mobile phones by using the Estima during the long blackout and it helped them," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said.
Because of such responses from the users, Toyoda decided to equip other hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) with the function.
The maximum output of the power supply function is 1.5kW, and it can power almost all kinds of home appliances including TV, PC, rice cooker and dryer. When the SOC (state of charge) of the rechargeable battery is lowered due to power supply, the engine is automatically started to charge the battery. When the fuel tank is full, it is possible to continuously supply electricity at the maximum output for about two days.