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Ford Lightning Lights Up Their Lives By Powering Homes If Grid Goes Down

Picture this: an ice storm cuts power to millions, but owners of Ford F-150 Lightning all-electric pickups have a way out, their trucks. Thanks to Ford ingenuity and the automaker's partners, F-150 customers can use their trucks to power their homes for up to 10 days with rationing or solar charging. It is a new feature.
Posted: February 4, 2022 - 10:35AM
Author: Marc Stern


With the number of major winter storms that have wreaked havoc across the nation recently, you sometimes wonder what you can do to protect yourself and your family from power outages that might leave you cold and lightless of days.

Power Problems Can Exist At All Times

It's not only winter, either. The last few summers have seen significant storms slam the Gulf and the South, leaving tens of millions without power for days or weeks at a time. In warm, humid weather, it's just something that is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be downright dangerous. It's not only significant storms like hurricanes, either. After tornadoes and thunderstorms knocked out power to hundreds of thousands, the nation's heartland also suffered. Ford reportedly in battle for second place in the plug-in electric market.
As Ford prepares for an electric future the automaker wonders what its options are.

So, what can you do if your power is out? If you were to own a Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup, you would gain a new ability that is very helpful. Most people know that pickups offer a variety of features to get things done. The features include:

  • Torque
  • Towing capability

And, there's more. For Ford customers who purchase the all-electric F-150 Lightning, the automaker is the first in the U.S. to offer the ability for customers to power their homes when the grid goes dark. With Ford partnering with others to make sure that your home remains powered up during power outages, it makes sense that you buy the Lightning not a Tesla Powerwall.

Ford and F-Series, America's best-selling trucks for 45 years, are partnering with Sunrun, the nation's leading solar company, to enhance home energy management, leveraging the substantial onboard battery capability of the all-electric F-150 Lightning. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Americans experienced the most power interruptions on record in 2020. With F-150 Lightning, homeowners can use their trucks to maintain their routines during brief or extended outages.

Bringing ‘New Innovations To Customers’

"F-150 Lightning brings innovations to customers, including the ability to power their homes when they need it most," said Matt Stover, Ford charging and energy services director. "Teaming up with Sunrun leverages their expertise to bring solar power to even more customers, giving them the chance to turn their trucks into incredible energy storage sources." Also, he continued, future truck features will accelerate the development of a less carbon-intensive grid.

Sunrun is the preferred installer of F-150 Lightning home charging solutions, including the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and Home Integration System, which enables the F-150 Lightning to store and supply power to homes in various ways. Sunrun will also offer home solar options to customers in select areas who are interested in leveraging more renewable energy.

"America's energy future starts at home [so that] partnering with Ford illustrates a momentous shift in the way we power our lives," said Mary Powell, Sunrun CEO. "No longer tethered to a carbon-intensive energy system, we'll be able to offer more paths to greater energy independence by powering homes and vehicles with the sun while helping to accelerate the transition to a clean, resilient energy future for all."

Revolutionary Power At Home

Ford Intelligent Backup Power, making its debut on F-150 Lightning, gives customers the ability to use their pickups' bidirectional power technology to provide energy to their homes during an outage, whether sheltering in a storm or keeping cool in a heatwave.

The F-150 Lightning extended-range battery system can store 131 kilowatt-hours of energy and deliver up to 9.6 kilowatts of power in a cleaner, quieter, more efficient way versus gasoline-powered generators, with greater capacity than many wall battery units. F-150 Lightning can also offer lower-cost energy storage using something customers already own – their trucks.

The F-150 Lightning's Ford Intelligent Backup Power and the Home Integration System automatically kicks in to power homes if the grid goes down. On power restoration, the system automatically reverts to utility-based power. Based on an average U.S. home at 30 kilowatt-hours of use per day, F-150 Lightning with extended-range battery provides full home power for up to three days, or as long as ten days when used in conjunction with solar power or rationing.

Simplifying Home Installation

To benefit from Ford Intelligent Backup Power and future energy management solutions, customers need to equip their homes with Ford's Charge Station Pro and Home Integration System. The Charge Station Pro/Home Integration System comprises a power inverter plus a dark start battery and transfer switch, enabling the two-way power flow.

Buyers of the extended-range F-150 Lightning automatically receive the Ford Charge Station Pro. Standard-range truck customers can purchase the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and pay for activation separately. The Home Integration System – developed together with Sunrun – can be purchased through Sunrun this spring.

Ford is partnering with Sunrun to provide seamless integration solutions. Customer systems will work reliably with Sunrun experts installing the specific charging hardware. Also, customers interested in combining Ford Charge Station Pro installation with solar power may be eligible for extensive savings.

Power Usage That Keeps Getting Smarter

In the future, Ford will introduce additional F-150 Lightning features to help customers potentially save money and take pressure off the electric grid during peak usage. Ford Intelligent Power, for example, will allow customers to power their homes with their truck's battery when electricity rates are higher while charging the truck when rates are lower – or from their solar-powered rooftop. This load shift can also help buffer the load on the nation's grid and help reduce the use of higher carbon energy without affecting daily routines or charging schedules.

Retail customers will need to have the Ford Charge Station Pro – developed together with Siemens – and Home Integration System installed. Standard range customers will also need to purchase the same one-time from Ford to enable the feature. Commercial customers can work with Ford Pro to plan an appropriate home charging installation.

Customers can contact Sunrun about installation and solar options ahead of delivery. To learn more about Ford Intelligent Backup Power and home requirements, please visit the Ford Intelligent Backup Power website.

Deliveries of the F-150 Lightning will begin this spring

Photo Courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.