Randy Jones of Katy, Texas, has lost count of how many reporters have called to hear his personal story about starting his house with his truck during the Texas blackout.
“I saw myself on Fox News this morning,” he said Friday. “It has created a lot of interest. Incredible. All I wanted was a little comfort.”
As Texans ended a week struggling with unreliable power supplies, freezing temperatures, and uncertainty about drinking water as frozen pipes burst, Jones wasn’t the only one who saw truck ownership as essential during uncertain times.
“You always have to be prepared,” said the 66-year-old retired refinery worker.
He and others suffered a power outage from February 14-17 with the help of their 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid with Pro Power Onboard. Even later in the week, electricity was still in short supply, residents said.
Storm rain: This man used his 2021 Ford F-150 to heat his house
Where does a billionaire invest ?: Here are the 10 stocks Warren Buffett has been buying.
Ford confirmed that it had seen an 18% increase in online searches for the F-150 as of late Thursday. The F Series has been America’s top-selling franchise for years, so it’s notable to see an increase in consumer traffic.
While Ford makes more than 1 million F-Series trucks annually for the US and other markets, about 10% of F-150s are gas-electric hybrids and the other 90% run on gasoline alone, said Mike Levine, a product of Ford North America. communications manager.
The Dearborn automaker may increase production of the F-150 hybrid to meet demand, he said.
The all-electric F-150 will arrive in 2022.
At the moment, Ford has fewer than 500 trucks with Pro Power Onboard (gasoline and hybrid) available for sale in Texas, Levine said.
Owners, including Jones, have shared in online forums how their trucks have powered a home heating and cooling system and allowed friends and neighbors to charge cell phones and tablets.
Ford dealers will use F-150s to help
Ford sent letters to its Texas dealerships Thursday encouraging them to use the hybrid trucks as needed for emergency purposes.
“Due to the urgent and unprecedented weather situation in Texas, several of our local dealers are using all-new Ford 150 equipped with Pro Power Onboard to help out in their communities. Approximately 415 trucks are included in this effort. We are proud to present to help to Texas in this time of need, “Levine said.
Therefore, dealerships can sell the vehicles as needed or may qualify for $ 600 financial compensation from Ford if the Pro Power Onboard vans are used in the community for an extended period. Allows dealers to discount the vehicle if it is underused. How the trucks can be used locally is left up to the dealers, Ford said.
Ryan Laskowski, 38, general manager of AutoNation Ford Katy in Texas, said he has 17 F-150 hybrids in stock and the dealership is ready to assist customers with borrowed vehicles as needed.
“We will be as flexible as we can,” Laskowski said Friday. “We have just recovered energy. Now the problem is the water. But at least we are warm.”
Agreements are easily drafted for customers who want to rent a hybrid truck during this critical period to obtain the necessary power.
“We had one of our best customers, an IT executive in Houston, he bought one from us about three weeks ago. He was out of town this week and he let his dog walker and husband come over, plug in his truck and they turned on a heater , a refrigerator, a television, and he camped at home with the truck feeding equipment, “Laskowski said. “I had an F-150 PowerBoost hybrid with a 7.2KW battery. When you have all these things working, you can run the truck for (32) hours on a full tank of gas.”
Only F-150 hybrids come standard with Pro Power Onboard and are often upgraded.
$ 70,370 loan
Before Ford’s world headquarters issued a memo saying dealerships would be compensated a little more for helping the community, Laskowski made the call on his own to do so.
An employee had no heat or water and Laskowski sent him home with an F-150 hybrid. He powered up the house overnight and still had over 300 miles of range.
Tropical storms vs. ice storms
“This is a really unfortunate situation, but it’s great that we have the technology that we have,” Laskowski said. “In Houston, we lose power every summer and fall due to tropical storms, we just didn’t think they were useful that quickly.”
The blizzard hit Texas, he said. “No one has been able to leave their house for the last three days.”
Corndogs for the 7 year old
Aaron Lewis, Vehicle Acquisition Manager for AutoNation Ford Katy, woke up for work at 5:30 am on Tuesday and it was 50 degrees at home.
“We didn’t have a generator. I told my whole family: ‘You have to come work with me. We have generators and heating there, ‘”he said. “We got to the Ford dealership at 6:15 am. My son watched cartoons and my wife, Lindsay, was working on her laptop making Zoom calls to the YMCA in Houston. We were there for eight hours.”
At first they thought they had restored power because 37-year-old Lindsay Lewis received a phone alert that her Roomba vacuum was moving. His electricity lasted 30 minutes.
That night, Lewis returned to the dealership to pick up a new 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid pickup with Pro Power Onboard. It had only 10 miles on the odometer and a sticker price of $ 70,370, including destination fees.
“I filled it up (with fuel) and put it in my driveway, ran extension cords under the garage door and inside the house,” Lewis said.
You turned on a refrigerator, three portable heaters, and a deep fryer to make mini corndogs for your little one. You also plugged in a slow charger to prevent your motorcycle’s battery from draining, which can happen when it’s very cold outside.
Bradley Lewis, 7, found himself wrapped under seven blankets on the living room couch with his cats Lily and Snowball along with two space heaters.
“My wife and I made miniature corndogs for our son, and fries and chicken fingers for us,” said Aaron Lewis. “It was so cold upstairs that Bradley couldn’t sleep in his room. With all the stress, we said to our son: ‘We’re going on an adventure.’ “
This Article Originally Appeared On Detroit Free Press: 2021 Ford F-150 With Generator Goes Viral After Texas Storm Assistance