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Canadian man uses electric car as a generator during outage

Jan. 5, 2014 at 12:36 PM

THORNHILL, Ontario, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A Canadian man said he used his Toyota Prius as a generator to power his furnace, lights, refrigerator and TV during the recent ice storm.

Bob Osemlak, a retired Air Force mechanic who lives in Thornhill, lost power for nearly a full day on Dec. 21, the Toronto Star reported.

Osemlak prepared for the outage by installing an outlet on his furnace. He then ran a cord through the basement to his hybrid electric car.

When the power went out, he conserved his car's battery by rotating between using it for heat and electricity.

"When the furnace comes on, and the house gets up to temperature, I go to the thermostat and shut the furnace off," he said. "Now I can plug something else in: the TV, the fridge or the floor lamp."

He used the car to power his house for nine hours, and the car's battery went down by less than one bar--equivalent to a gallon of gas.

He spoke to his experience as a mechanic and warned others not to try using their car as a generator.

"I've been an aircraft technician for over 50 years, and I've also worked on cars," he said.

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