Ever since the earthquake and tsunami disaster this time last year, Japanese auto makers have been talking up the advantages of being able to switch power from your EV for use in your home in an emergency situation.
It’s a great idea. Not a feature you would use every day, but one which might just be the difference between making it and not making it when disaster strikes. And it’s not just for Japan, with its earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes … and nuke meltdowns. The same concept works in other parts of the world too. Like when a hurricane knocks out your power in Florida. Or snow brings down the power lines in Scotland.
The thing about using power from your EV is that it only gives you about 2 days worth of electricity. Of course, those two days could be crucial — and it’s better than nothing. But wouldn’t you rather have 6?
This is what Honda is promising with the latest development of the FCX Clarity fuel cell car. The addition of an inverter in the trunk of the car means that the Clarity can convert the hydrogen in its tank to electricity to power your home for up to 6 days. Of course, we are talking about a Japanese home, which is smaller than most Western homes, but that 6 days would be 6 days of normal levels of power consumption. The thing is I don’t think you’ll be wasting power watching too many movies on your big screen TV in a real emergency. So with sensible power conservation, you may even get more.
Honda gets to that 6 day figure by comparing the FCX Clarity’s peak power output of 9 kW available over 7 hours, with the amount of power a typical household consumes. In the real scenario, you would be using nowhere near 9 kW, so the power from the hydrogen in a full tank would last a lot longer – 3 times as long as other makers can extract from their EVs.
（And if your Clarity gets its hydrogen from a solar-powered fueling station like the one just installed at the Saitama Prefectural Offices, then you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that this power is completely clean. This solar hydrogen fuel station produces 1.5 kilograms of hydrogen per day from pure, freely-available sunshine.)
The FCX Clarity fuel cell car is slated to go on the market in 2015, so it will be interesting to see whether this emergency electrical supply feature will make it into the production version.
Source: Nikkei (Japanese-language)leave a response, trackback from your own site