Although the resourcefulness of Paramus, N.J. resident Bob Sakala wouldn’t so much as raise an eyebrow let alone warrant a news story in disaster-ready Japan, you got to hand it to the guy for taking full advantage of his Toyota Prius.
In a quickie from NBCNews.com, we learn that while many of Sakala’s neighbors were forced to resort to gas-powered generators and candlelight to illuminate their homes during the crippling power outages — a total of 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states — that followed Superstorm Sandy, this crackerjack hybrid owner comfortably managed to keep some of his lights on as well as his TV, laptop, and modem.
You probably see where this is going by now … with the aid of a 100-watt inverter — he later upgraded to a 300-watt inverter which allowed more lights to be flipped on — and a series of heavy-duty extension cords from Home Depot, Sakala partially powered his home via his Prius with three-quarters of a tank of gas for an entire week.
“The neighbors kept saying, 'Does Bob have a generator?' No, it's the Prius. It's a spaceship," Sakala told NBCNews.com. He also says that he first learned about the powering a home through a Prius "years ago on the internet." (MNN's own Jim Motavalli wrote on the topic for the New York Times as far back as 2008).
Although Sakala's actions aren't exactly novel or necessarily McGuyver-esque — and he certainly wasn't the only Prius owner in the Northeast to transform his car into a backup generator on wheels during the days after Sandy — this all just goes to show that fuel efficiency isn't the only reason to invest in hybrid or all-electric vehicles in these strange days of freak snowstorms, historic floods, and other Mother Nature-related temper tantrums.