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Ford F-150 Lightning goes on a Power Play

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The Ford F-150 Lightning is already pretty cutting edge as one of the first all-electric pickup trucks on the market, but now the Blue Oval is making it easier for the Lightning to power your home in case of an emergency. Through a partnership with Sunrun, the nation’s leading solar company, the F-150 Lightning with available Ford Intelligent Backup Power can provide power and security during an electrical outage.

“F-150 Lightning brings new 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 truck into an incredible energy storage source – and future truck features can help 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 a variety of ways.

Ford Charge Station Pro

While you can buy a home charging station on Amazon these days, the one Ford offers to Lightning buyers will be necessary to make the Ford Intelligent Backup Power operate. The Charge Station Pro and Home Integration System is composed of a power inverter plus a battery that can operate without connection to the power grid and a transfer switch, all of which enables the two-way power flow.

Buyers of the extended-range F-150 Lightning will automatically receive the Ford Charge Station Pro, but standard-range truck customers can purchase the 80-amp home charging station and pay for activation separately. The partnership with Sunrun makes this available to purchase on the solar company’s website, but pricing hasn’t yet been announced.

How Ford Intelligent Backup Power works

Ford Intelligent Backup Power, developed by Ford, will make its debut in the F-150 Lightning and is available on all trims. This system is different than the Pro Power Onboard we’ve seen in the F-150 hybrid because it uses bidirectional power technology, allowing the truck to provide energy directly to homes during any kind of a power outage.

Because the Lightning has an extended-range battery system that can store 131 kilowatt-hours of energy, it can also deliver up to 9.6 kilowatts of power in a cleaner, quieter, more efficient way versus gasoline-powered generators, and with greater capacity than many wall battery units.

According to Ford, a properly equipped F-150 Lightning using the Ford Charge Station Pro and Home Integration system automatically kicks in to power your home if the grid goes down. Once power is restored, the system automatically reverts back to utility 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 10 days when used in conjunction with solar power or rationing.

Pro Power Onboard vs. Backup Power

Both of these features found on the Lightning offer ways to power your home and other electronics. But there are clear differences between the two.

Pro Power Onboard:

  • Comes standard with 2.4kw of power
  • Is available with 9.6kw  of power, which lets you power more energy-intensive stuff (like a saw or other power tools)
  • No need to install anything to use this feature as it’s built into the truck

Backup Power:

  • Has the capability to us up to 131 kilowatt-hours of energy stored by a truck with the extended-range battery
  • Kicks in automatically to power your home if the grid goes down, and reverts back to utility power when available
  • Provides full home power for up to three days or as long as 10 days when used in conjunction with solar power or rationing
  • Requires the 80-amp Charge Station Pro and Home Integration System to be installed at your house

The bottom line on Ford Intelligent Backup Power

Powering your entire house in an emergency? That’s a great feature other automakers currently don’t offer. However, a further investment is needed on a truck that already some sticker shock — and that’s kind of annoying.

As the technology emerges and develops, it’s good to see the Lightning, one of the first electric trucks out there, adapting and evolving as well. This will be necessary as a skeptical consumer maneuvers through these uncertain waters. Something else to look forward to: Additional F-150 Lightning features to help customers save money and take pressure off the electric grid during peak usage.

If you want more information on the Ford Intelligent Backup Power and home requirements, be sure to visit Ford’s consumer website.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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