Nova Scotia

This electric car powered one man's appliances after Hurricane Dorian

When Joe Williams's Halifax home lost power during the storm, he came up with an inventive way to keep his fridge and freezer running.

Plug-in hybrid provided electricity to Halifax man's fridge and freezer

This electric car powered a fridge and deep freeze during Hurricane Dorian. (Robert Short/CBC)

It took a bit of MacGyvering, but one Halifax resident came up with a creative way to keep some of his home's appliances running during a power outage caused by Hurricane Dorian.

Joe Williams used an inverter, a couple of electrical cords, a pool noodle and an elastic band to supply his fridge and freezer with power generated by his electric car.

On Tuesday morning, Day 4 of the power outage in his area, the meat inside the deep freeze in Williams's garage on Poplar Street was still frozen solid, thanks to his blue Chevrolet Volt.

"It's basically a mobile generator here on wheels," Williams said.

The plug-in hybrid has a battery pack in the back of the vehicle that's usually used as the car's starter battery. Williams hooked a 2000-watt inverter into the 12-volt battery, supplying 120 volts of electricity to his appliances.

Joe Williams used his electric vehicle to run power to his fridge and deep freeze during a power outage caused by Hurricane Dorian. (Robert Short/CBC)

Williams said once the battery is fully drained, the hybrid car's gasoline-powered engine will turn on automatically and start powering the battery again.

"Right now my battery is down to about four out of 10 bars," he said.

Williams said he knew it was possible to use his vehicle as a generator, but it "really didn't become a priority until we lost power in the hurricane."

This inverter takes electricity from the car's 12-volt battery and supplies 120 volts of electricity. (Robert Short/CBC)

"Luckily, yesterday Canadian Tire was open and I went out and I got an inverter and some other equipment and I was able to rig this up."

He used a pool noodle to protect the wires running out of the windows, and the elastic band around the gear shift button to prevent the car from shutting off automatically.

"So I can run this until I run out of gas, basically," Williams said. "I'm not sure when that'll be."

These electrical cords run power from the electric car to Williams's appliances. (Robert Short/CBC)
This pack of bacon, like the rest of the items in Williams's freezer, was still frozen solid. (Robert Short/CBC)


With files from Tom Murphy


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