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Car That Doubles as a Backup Generator for Your House

A California utility develops a plug-in hybrid that keeps the house lights on for you

Photo by Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau

Most people want a hybrid car to save gas and reduce pollution, but a prototype plug-in electric vehicle does all that and keeps your home's lights and fridge going in a power outage. The car, a retooled Prius developed by Pacific Gas and Electric and Energy CS, has an outsize battery that's compatible with a 220-volt household outlet (the kind an electric stove uses). Once plugged into the home grid, an owner need only flip a trunk inverter switch to access emergency power for several hours. (The battery stores 9 kilowatts, whereas the average house uses about 16 kilowatts a day.) When will this hit showrooms? A consumer model is still about 10 to 15 years away. So for now, keep on stocking the canned goods and flashlights. Learn more at The California Cars.