A few weeks ago, Ford’s events kept having unexplained power outages, and there was always a Ford Lightning on hand to save the day. It happened enough times that many people on social media started to suspect Ford was staging the power outages just to show off the Lightning’s ability to power things. Personally, I’d be mad if Ford unplugged houses randomly and came to the rescue, but if they are staging outages at their events, it’s just a cute publicity stunt.
But, there is another kind of power outage that’s far more predictable, and people don’t mind at all when someone plans ahead of time to come to the rescue: hurricanes. Like other storms that can have a negative impact on the grid, we can often see that they’re going to happen days in advance. State and federal governments, non-profits, and the people in the path of the hurricane always try to pre-stage resources and come up with plans to use resources to help people.
Interestingly enough, Ford has become one of those players in recent years.
Ford’s efforts to help people suffering from power outages came to the front in a big way during the Texas freeze of 2021. With massive rolling blackouts, many people almost froze to death. Some actually did. My grandmother lucked out when some helpful neighbors gave her some firewood to burn, and some people slept in their Teslas to avoid freezing. After hearing news that a Ford F-150 Hybrid owner used his vehicle to power critical things like a space heater in his house, Ford asked dealerships to lend out more of the trucks to save more families until power could be restored.
For Hurricane Ian, it was a much more organized effort. In addition to other corporate aid efforts, Ford sent F-150 Hybrids, F-150 Lightning electric trucks, E-Transits, and other vehicles to assist non-profits in powering relief efforts during outages. They also said they were working with dealers, but didn’t detail those arrangements. A good educated guess is that they’d ask dealers to help their local communities by lending out any vehicles they had that could provide power.
While we haven’t heard any stories of Ford-lent EVs and hybrids saving anybody in particular, we have heard from an F-150 Lightning owner who used his own truck to give his house some power. The whole story is pretty interesting, but for those of you who don’t want to click the link, the short version is that he used the truck to power cooking, lights, a refrigerator, and family entertainment during post-storm outages. Fortunately, the outage didn’t go on for weeks, but in a day he used only about 10% of the truck’s battery pack, which means it could probably power basic electrical needs and some entertainment for 8-9 days.
Other Relief Efforts
Outside of using clean transportation to provide clean power, according to Ford, it also did several other things:
- Activated emergency response plan, including contacting Ford employees, Ford dealers and those within itss network, helping to transport people to Salvation Army pop-up shelters.
- Ford Fund donated $1 million to be distributed to the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, ToolBank USA, World Central Kitchen and local food banks. Each nonprofit specializes in disaster relief efforts and is already on the ground in the area providing meals, shelter and assisting with the clearing of roads for emergency personnel.
- Existing Ford Credit and Lincoln Automotive Financial Services customers affected by the hurricane may be able to defer up to two payments.
If we come across any stories of Ford vehicles (or any other EVs) coming in handy during the hurricane, we’ll be sure to share them!
Featured image provided by Ford.
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