While thousands across the Southwest were stuck without heat or power, some Ford truck owners cashed in on their vehicle’s upgrades, using the built-in generator on their F-150s to power their homes.
Randy Jones, 66, powered appliances in his Houston home for three days using the 7.2 kw generator on his 2021 Ford F-150 hybrid, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“You’re living your life normally and all of a sudden you’re thrust into the dark,” Jones told the Free Press. “I think it got around 9 degrees. It’s been in mid-20s and low 30s. You don’t expect that in south Texas. You don’t expect to lose power when we have nuclear, natural gas, wind and solar power. The truck gave us light at night, TV access to catch the news and weather. It helped give us a little bit of heat and a good pot of coffee.”
The hybrid truck comes with a standard 2.4 kw generator that will run for 85 hours on a full tank of gas. The 7.2 kw system is a $750 upgrade, which generates more power and can run for 32 hours.
Jones first shared his use of the generator on an internet forum dedicated to the F-150 model.
“A little south Texas 10-20 degree cold front took out the power for 3 days so I had a chance to try out the generator on my truck,” Jones wrote. “I haven’t put in a switch to my house power panel yet so I just used a few extension cords. Ran power to some lights, coffee pot, 75” TV, toaster oven, space heater and refrigerator. I ran it for about 10-12 hours per day to keep the freezer food frozen. I guess that’s not much load because it only used a few gallons of gas over that time. I am more than pleased on what it did for me.”
Another Texas resident, Dan Basile, said he was doing likewise.
“I have been doing the same thing,” he said. “I figured I would use the 7.2 every now and then, but this sold it for me. Luckily the blower on the furnace only uses 400w. Been running for days with no issues. I only wish I could turn the screen on the dash off.”
The posts caught the attention of Ford CEO Jim Farley.
“The situation in the SW US is so difficult,” he said on social media. “Wish everyone in Texas had a new F150 with PowerBoost onboard generator.”
On Thursday, Ford asked Texas dealers to provide residents in the community use of the more than 400 trucks equipped with the generators that are sitting on lots, Automotive News reported.
“Our Texas communities need all the support they can get right now,” Ford said in a statement. You can make a significant difference in our community by providing assistance during these very tough times.”
Already some dealerships were loaning out the vehicles.
“Due to the urgent and unprecedented weather situation in Texas, a number of our local dealers are using all-new Ford F-150s equipped with Pro Power Onboard to help in their communities,” Ford said. “We’re proud to pitch in to help Texas in this time of need.”
A dealership in Abilene said it loaned two trucks, KTAB reported. One of the trucks had also been used to power an employee’s house who lost electricity.
Jones was pleased with the truck, which he got earlier in February.
“I bought the truck specifically because of the generator for my own safety. I’m happy I bought it. Some of my neighbors are too, because they could charge their cellphones and iPads off my power supply,” Jones told the Free Press. “It’s just so unusual in this day and time to have a power outage for four days. You can’t ever rule anything out. You always have to be prepared.”