It’s a 7.2-kilowatt generator on wheels
America's perennially best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150 pickup, has gone hybrid, and there's an all-electric version in the works. And aside from showing class-best fuel economy of 9.8 liters per 100 kilometers (24 miles per gallon), the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid finds a versatile sideline as a megapowered mobile electric generator.
The onboard system cranks out up to 7,200 watts, enough to supply a home during power outages. Ford says the system could power 28 typical home refrigerators. More practically, the Ford could simultaneously power a TiG (tungsten inert gas) welder, air compressor, plasma cutter, chop saw, angle grinder, and work light, all with no need to carry a noisy, bulky gasoline generator in a pickup's bed.
A cargo-box panel, in the bed, has four 120-volt outlets and one 240-V connector. And there's a pair of household outlets in the cab. A touch screen displays power draw in watts for each of two circuits.
The truck's mini power station is fed by a 35-kilowatt (47-horsepower) motor-generator sandwiched between the truck's gasoline engine and its 10-speed transmission. A garden-variety power inverter converts DC power to AC and smooths power spikes so users can plug in laptops and other sensitive electronics.
A 1.5-kilowatt-hour onboard battery supplies power. Once it's depleted, the gasoline engine fires up automatically to keep energy flowing and recharge the battery.
A robust 7.2-kW generator is a US $750 option for the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid, which comes standard with a 2.4-kW generator. And there's a 2.0-kW unit on nonhybrid models. The fuel-saving hybrid system itself adds $2,500 to $4,495 to the basic truck's price, depending on the model.