After a powerful storm knocked out her power, an Australian mom ran her son’s dialysis unit on her BYD electric car.
According to a Guardian article, Kristy Holmes used her Atto 3, which is manufactured by Chinese EV giant and Tesla rival BYD, to power her 11-year-old son’s dialysis equipment after flash flooding knocked out electricity across southeast Queensland on Christmas Day.
Holmes told The Guardian that if the Atto 3’s “vehicle to load” feature—which enables it to charge domestic equipment with extra power from the car’s battery—had not been there, her son Levi, who is awaiting a kidney transplant, may have faced potentially fatal repercussions.
According to Holmes, “We ran it [the dialysis machine] off the car,” The Guardian said. “It was just required for one night. We could have used it for at least four nights before needing to find a place to charge the vehicle.”
It’s the most incredible vehicle I’ve ever had. “I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a gasoline car again, especially after it saved my son during a storm,” she continued.
The Atto’s charging capabilities have also been utilized by the family for less important things, like warming up mulled wine for a movie night.
Some electric vehicles (EVs) can function as mobile power generators, which makes them particularly helpful in situations where severe weather or natural disasters induce outages.
Ford saw a 127% rise in the amount of people using their F-150 lightning electric trucks as power sources in the wake of Hurricane Ian in 2022, which devastated the Florida coast. Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, wrote on X that truckers affected by hurricanes were utilizing their vehicles to power lights and prepare food.
With Ford and Tesla implementing vehicle-to-vehicle charging in the electric F-150 and Cybertruck, respectively, this “bidirectional charging” also enables EVs to charge one another.
In contrast, General Motors declared in August that by 2026, every one of its electric cars will be able to operate in both directions.
Over time, bidirectional charging may prove to be an invaluable backup power source for houses as well as the larger energy grid, with stationary EV power bolstering the electrical system during periods of peak demand or stress brought on by natural disasters like hurricanes and heat waves.