The winter storm that devastated a lot of Texas this week left thousands and thousands of residents with out water and electrical energy — however some folks have been capable of maintain the lights on and heaters going due to autos able to offering emergency energy.Ford even reached out to ask sellers in Texas to supply loans of the brand new F-150 PowerEnhance, a hybrid model of its full-size truck that may present as a lot as 7.2 kilowatts of energy by means of a built-in generator.“It was a lifesaver,” Jerry Hall, a retiree in rural Kerrville, Texas, advised NBC News. “It gave us all of the conveniences. We weren’t sitting at midnight, remoted.”The storm that struck Texas final weekend dumped each ice and snow over a area not used to harsh winter storms. Due to a mixture of things, the state’s power grid largely short-circuited, leaving thousands and thousands of residents with out energy.When Hall’s energy was reduce final Sunday, he backed his new Ford truck as much as his storage and began rolling out the extension cords. He had bought the hybrid model of the F-150 particularly to get the built-in generator — which he had anticipated to make use of for tenting, or to run energy instruments remotely.“I didn’t know I’d wind up needing it for one thing like this” storm, he mentioned by telephone.The optionally available generator — which Ford calls the Pro Power Onboard system — ran for 3 days earlier than his energy was turned again on. It supplied sufficient power to deal with a fridge, a freezer, lights, the cable and web field and a tv.Hall had a large enough hearth to maintain his small residence cozy. But Randy Jones, of Katy, Texas, mentioned his place would have quickly been freezing with out his personal F-150 PowerEnhance, which he used to energy house heaters, in addition to lights and home equipment.“It’s been a blessing for me and my neighbors,” Jones mentioned, including that he let neighbors come by to plug their telephones and different gadgets in to an influence strip he arrange.Earlier this week, Ford reached out to its Texas sellers to see if they might assist native residents.”Due to the pressing and unprecedented climate state of affairs in Texas, a variety of our native sellers are utilizing all-new Ford F-150s outfitted with Pro Power Onboard to assist in their communities,” the automaker mentioned in a press release. “Approximately 415 vehicles fall inside this effort.”Ford’s new F-150 isn’t the one truck that may function a generator, however different optionally available methods have been restricted to round 2 kilowatts, or barely sufficient to energy a single electrical house heater and a few LED bulbs.Ford isn’t the one automaker getting kudos for serving to out within the storm. A Reddit person who goes by the display identify Razzooz posted a word saying that “My Tesla saved my household from freezing final night time.” The household, together with a new child daughter, was capable of sleep within the automotive within the storage to remain heat with out worrying about carbon monoxide poisoning. “If I didn’t have this automotive, it could have been a really tough night time,” the Redditor wrote.Other Texans took to social media in reward of Tesla’s Powerwall battery back-up system, which saved lights and warmth on.The California-based automaker has signaled plans to supply a two-way charging system that might entry power saved within the automobile, very similar to a backup generator, if the lights go off. And it’s not alone. Nissan and several other different EV makers are creating comparable methods that might assist present power each to particular person properties, even your entire grid, throughout blackouts and brownouts.Paul A. Eisenstein is an NBC News contributor who covers the auto business.