Ford may be making good use of electricity to get the new 2022 F-150 Lightning moving fast, but the electric pickup also has the potential to keep your whole home powered up during an outage. Working, effectively, like a Tesla Powerwall or other whole home battery, Ford Intelligent Backup Power links the truck’s beefy battery pack with a smart, bidirectional charger.
When it’s on the road, Ford says we can expect up to 300 miles of range from the F-150 Lightning with the Extended battery pack, or up to 230 miles from the Standard battery. However that same power could, from a full battery, keep the typical house running for up to three days, Ford suggests. That’s based on 30 kWh of power consumption a day; if you can scale back your power demands, it could last for up to ten days.
Whole home batteries have been seeing renewed interest recently. Prolonged weather-related outages in Texas earlier this year, along with power company shut-downs in California and elsewhere during ever-expanding fire seasons, have forced homeowners to consider just how reliant they are on the energy grid.
A huge battery backup on wheels
The strategy is simple: a big battery acts as a store of electricity, with the home switching to that during a grid outage. Assuming you have enough power in that battery to last the outage – or a way of topping it up, such as via solar panels – you can keep the home running as usual. Problem is, those battery systems are often very expensive to install, and much of the time can be sitting idle waiting for an outage to actually happen.
Ford isn’t the first to look to using an EV battery as an alternative, but it may well be the automaker which popularizes the idea in the mainstream. Intelligent Backup Power will automatically switch on in the case of an outage – assuming your F-150 Lightning is plugged in at the time – switching the home over to the pickup’s battery instead. When the grid power is restored, the system will automatically switch back over, and the truck will start charging again.
For Intelligent Backup Power to work, you’ll need a specific home charger designed to work with bidirectional power. The new Ford Charge Station Pro is a special, 80-amp unit that’s wired into the home’s electrical system; it also uses a new home management system which Ford says it can help users install. The automaker is working with Sunrun for installation alongside solar panels.
Down the line, Ford says, it has even more ambitious updates for the system, Ford Intelligent Power won’t just call the F-150 Lightning’s battery into play during emergency stations, but will aim to offset domestic use during high-cost, peak-energy hours. If your truck is plugged in during those periods – often in the afternoon or early evening – then its battery can be used to keep the home running, switching back to the grid to top-up overnight when electricity rates are lower.
The 80A Ford Charge Station Pro will be included with the Extended range battery version of the F-150 Lightning, and an option with the Standard range model.
The F-150 Lightning also offers Pro Power Onboard
Not to be confused with Intelligent Backup Power is Pro Power Onboard. That also uses the F-150 Lightning’s batteries as a source of external power, but is designed for portable use rather than to supply a whole home.
It also delivers up to 9.6 kW, with up to 11 outlets spread around the electric pickup. As standard, there’s 2.4 kW Pro Power Onboard which will be present on all F-150 Lightning models. That has a total of eight 120V outlets.
Upgrade to the 9.6 kW version, however, and you get both more power and more ways to plug in. Then, there are four 120V outlets in the front trunk, two 120V outlets in the cabin, and four 120V outlets in the bed, plus a 240V outlet also in the bed. They’e enough, Ford says, to run things like work site power tools, keep a TV and fridge going while you’re tailgating or camping, or turn the F-150 Lightning into a mobile office with power for laptops and more.