The power of a pickup truck is not all about torque, horsepower, towing and hauling. Ford’s newest electric F-150 Lightning, which was unveiled Wednesday, is trying to change the meaning of truck power with a system that can provide energy to a customer’s home in the event of an outage.
Ford isn’t alone in its effort to show consumers the benefits of an all-electric vehicle. Others, such as Lucid Motors have also touted this capability.
Severe winter storms in February caused a massive power outage in Texas, with more than 4.5 million homes and businesses left without power for days. 151 people were killed as a result. The F-150 Lightning’s 9.6 kW of Back Up Power can provide full home power for up to three days on a full charge of battery.
“If your F-150 Lightning is plugged in when your outage occurs, intelligent backup power will automatically kick in to power your home,” said Ryan O’Gorman, Ford’s energy services lead, in a video briefing prior to the reveal. “When power is restored, the truck automatically reverts to charging its battery.”
Solar, battery storage and energy services provider Sunrun has partnered with Ford to install the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and home integration system, which comes standard with the extended range battery, to power the intelligent backup power system. While they’re in the neighborhood, Sunrun will also give customers the option of installing a solar and battery system for their home.
For those who want to spend time away from home, an additional 9.6 kW Pro Power Onboard battery source, which is up from 7.2kW in the F-150 hybrid, can power anything from loudspeakers and TVs to electric dirt bikes, circular saws and jackhammers. The truck features 11 outlets in the bed, the cabin interior and the mega power “frunk” AKA front trunk.
The battery also distributes power intelligently. So if a driver is at a worksite powering tools and the battery level falls below a third of its total range, the driver will get a notification so they can decide if they want to keep at it or save the juice for driving.
Drivers also don’t need to think too much about where the nearest charging station is. They can set it and forget it, letting the truck handle switching off pro power onboard if the battery level approaches the distance it takes to get to the nearest charge. Charge information both for the Back Up Power and the Pro Power are reflected on the Ford app and the car’s infotainment screen.
While the F-150 Lightning currently can give your home the backup power it needs, in the future, the aim is for subsequent models to be used as a home management tool, according to a Ford spokesperson.
“F-150 Lightning is reinventing the idea of vehicle power,” said O’Gorman.