Looking back, it's almost funny how optimistic we were about all the ways people could use the Ford F-150 PowerBoost's 7.2-kilowatt onboard generator. Ford's ad materials suggested power tools, outdoorsy types dreamed of campsites, and some of us at The Drive even calculated how it could power a food truck. We couldn't have imagined that F-150 hybrid owners would put their trucks to a far more dystopian use: Keeping the lights on during Texas' widespread winter blackouts.
F150Gen14 forum users are sharing stories of relying on their new F-150s for power in recent days, their areas' grids having collapsed this past week. Rather than burn furniture to stay warm, many are firing up their trucks, plugging their vehicles into their homes' junction boxes or simply routing extension cords inside to keep appliances running.
"Ran power to some lights, coffee pot, 75-inch 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," said poster Just Me. "Much quieter than the neighbor's generator and I didn't have to refill it in the cold every eight hours. No filling stations open so he was in the dark after his two five-gallon cans ran out."
Other Texans shared similar stories of leaning on their trucks, which they are using to power essentials like furnace blowers, plus luxuries like coffee pots and TVs. Their anecdotes suggest even constant idling for days on end has used surprisingly little fuel, with one poster reporting a quarter-tank's use in 72 hours—maybe that's not so surprising for the most fuel-efficient, non-diesel full-size pickup in America.
Access to even the basics may serve as an eye-opening exercise in gratitude for these lucky Ford owners, who are without a doubt aware millions of their neighbors remain without power, and reportedly may still for days.
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