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2012 Mitsubishi i Can Power Stop Lights, Keep Traffic Flowing

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2012 Mitsubishi i Powers Stop Lights in Japan (Photo from www.yomiuri.co.jp)

2012 Mitsubishi i Powers Stop Lights in Japan (Photo from www.yomiuri.co.jp)

We already know that appropriately-equipped electric cars can be used to provide emergency backup power to homes cut off from the electricity grid in a natural disaster, but can they also be used to help a city run as normal? 

Could they, for example, be used to power stop lights? 

It’s a question we admit we hadn’t thought of before, but in the city of Tokyo, a group of engineers from Mitsubishi and the National Police Agency have answered that question with a good old-fashioned experiment.

The team connected a fully-charged 2012 Mitsubishi i to a portable emergency power inverter using the car’s Chademo direct current quick charging port.

Drawing power from the 2012 Mitsubishi i’s 16 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the inverter then provided enough electricity to run 20 sets of stoplights in downtown Tokyo for 2 hours. 

2012 Mitsubishi i

2012 Mitsubishi i

Enlarge Photo

It might seem a little superfluous to focus on running stoplights in the hours after a major disaster like the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last year. 

But in the days following a major disaster, returning power to street furniture like stoplights helps residents assume normal day-to-day activities, often speeding up repair efforts.

It could also provide power companies with a way of powering stoplights during essential power maintenance work, minimizing the use of gasoline-fueled power generators normally found being used by any road-repair crew. 

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Comments (2)
  1. As usual, this is completely idiotic. So, the Japanese are going to ask one of those city residents, who desperately wants his/her life to return to normal after the disaster, to instead completely interrupt their life to power traffic lights with their car? So, what then? Now they're stuck in the middle of the city without a way to get anywhere?

    Here's a thought: what if they put emergency batteries on utility company trucks, so THEY could deal with the situation like THEY'RE PAID TO DO??!! That could have been done, tested, and implemented YEARS ago.
     
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  2. I think that the municipalities will purchase the vehicles and use them daily to reduce pollution and operating cost as well as a portable back-up power solution.
     
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