Electric cars could come to the rescue by powering UK homes as Storm Eunice hits, Founder and CEO of Electrifying.com Ginny Buckley advises.
With winds expected to reach up to 100 mph in some areas of the UK today and people across the country braced for power cuts, drivers of certain electric vehicles could turn them into mobile generators to keep vital household items such as the fridge-freezer running or to boil the kettle to stay warm.
Electric cars like the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are fitted with a ‘vehicle to home’ system which means they can take power from the car’s battery during a power cut. This in turn could power a family home for several days after a full charge.
Even electric cars that don’t have this facility will allow you to charge your phone or even keep warm in your car if you are left without heating.
Says Founder and CEO of Electrifying.com Ginny Buckley:
“If you have a power cut today or this weekend, we want drivers to be aware that their electric car could come to the rescue – the clever technology built into certain models could generate enough power to keep the fridge cold, kettle boiled and, in some instances, power an entire home for days.
“With the severe storms in the UK today, Electrifying.com has also busted myths around driving your electric car in water, and has come up with some top tips to stay safe if you can’t avoid taking to the roads.”
The ‘vehicle to home’ concept was first used in the midst of the 2010 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami when 5 million Japanese homes lost power prompting a team from Nissan to mobilise early Leaf models to be used as mobile generators in the earthquake zone.
These systems are now being used in a number of pilot schemes but are expected to become commonplace over the next few years.
Tips for driving your EV if you have to go out during a storm
Charge your battery
Most electric car makers only recommend charging to 80% if possible as it helps to preserve the battery life in the long term. But an extreme weather event is a time when it makes sense to charge the battery up to 100% just in case there is a power outage. Even if you don’t intend to drive anywhere today, the disruption to supplies could last several days.
Driving through water
Electricity and water are not a good mix, but your car has been very carefully designed to be resistant to floods and weather in general. Tests have shown that electric cars are actually better than most petrol or diesel-powered cars in deep water, as there is no air intake – if your conventional car sucks water into the engine it will require a full rebuild and may write the car off.
Don’t let your range drop
Extreme cold (or hot) weather will impact the range of your battery and it won’t be as efficient as usual. Make sure you find somewhere safe to stop and recharge before it dips too low to avoid the risk of getting stranded. Charging facilities may be impacted by the storm so plan ahead and ensure you have a couple of different options if you know you’re going to have to stop to charge.
Stay safe if you breakdown
If you find yourself experiencing a breakdown while travelling on the motorway Green Flag say it’s best to try and turn off the road at the next exit. If this isn’t possible, pull onto the hard shoulder and turn on your hazard warning lights. Exit the car using the doors facing away from passing traffic, wait behind a barrier and move up the bank at the side of the road if it’s safe to do so.
Don’t put yourself in danger by attempting to make any repairs yourself, call for help, or call your breakdown provider who will ensure you’re safely back on the road as soon as possible.
We’d also suggest you carry a warning triangle and hi-vis vest – they are cheap and don’t take up much room in your boot and could make a real difference to your safety in an emergency.