Ford has started its rollout of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, the all-electric version of America’s long-running and best-selling pickup truck.
A partnership between the automaker and solar energy company Sunrun means that some owners will be able to use those trucks as backup generators.
A 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, with either the 98-kilowatt-hour (kWh) standard range battery pack or the 131-kWh extended range pack, can utilize its stored energy to provide backup power to a home as the owner sees fit.
In the event of a power outage, a properly equipped F-150 Lightning can power a house for as little as a few minutes up to 10 days.
Here’s how it works, what equipment you need and everything else you need to know about the Sunrun Home Integration System and how it works with the F-150 Lightning.
What equipment do I need?
For the F-150 Lightning itself, no additional on-board equipment, option or package is needed. Every one comes with Intelligent Backup Power, a bidirectional power system that acts as an onboard generator.
However, you will need a Ford Charge Station Pro, the company’s 80-amp wall charger. That comes with every Lightning with an extended-range battery and is optional on models equipped with a standard-range battery.
The charging cord is 25 feet long. Ford recommends 17 feet of slack between the truck’s charging port and the station to account for their respective heights.
That’s where Sunrun comes in. The installation of their home inverter and home integration system allows for the power from the F-150 Lightning to flow into the house.
Can my solar panels be connected to the system?
Yes, solar panels can be connected to the Sunrun system. This allows a way of charging electronics, including the F-150 Lightning, off the grid.
How much will all of this cost?
A 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro, the base truck geared towards commercial customers, starts at $39,974. The consumer-focused model starts at $52,974 and tops out north of $90,000. Tax incentives are not figured into this cost as they are a credit on your federal taxes rather than a discount on the vehicle.
The Ford Charge Station Pro will cost $1,310 before shipping, taxes and installation.
The average Level 2 home charger installation can cost between $400 and $1,200, according to utility company PG&E’s website.
Sunrun’s Home Integration System is $3,895 for the hardware. Everyone’s house and connection to their utility’s power grid is different, so you’ll need to contact the company for an installation quote.
Are there any tax incentives available?
At the federal level, there’s the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles. That credit only fully applies to manufacturers that have sold less than 200,000 plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicles. Ford is expected to fall out of full eligibility before the year ends.
Some municipalities, county governments, and utility companies offer incentives or rebates geared towards EVs or EV charging equipment and installation. You’ll want to check with your local provider.
How does it work when the power goes out?
If everything is installed correctly and the F-150 Lightning is plugged into the network, backup power should start flowing into your home as soon as it detects an outage.
The truck can provide up to 9.6 kilowatts of power to your home, which can be deployed as the owner sees fit.
Through the FordPass smartphone app, customers can control how much power the system can send into the house, how long they want that power flowing, any limits based on the truck’s battery percentage and other factors.
Ford says that providing a full day of charge can drain the battery by about 100 miles in a day. Limiting electronics in the house that use power can extend the number of hours that the F-150 Lightning can keep a house charged.
What happens when the power comes back?
After power is restored to the home, the system detects that and reverts to charging the truck’s battery.
If the battery’s power usage amounts to 100 miles of range, Ford estimates that the Charge Station Pro would be able to recoup that range in a little over 3 hours, at about 30 miles an hour.
For the extended battery pack, the company estimates that it would bring the battery from 15 to 100 percent in eight hours.
Homes that frequently see brief outages while maintenance is performed on power lines can benefit by having the Lightning providing power when the energy company cuts flow, then being charged during up time, even if the cycle is on and off throughout the day.
Could installing the Sunrun system save money in the long run?
Potentially. Generators vary in quality and level of power output. Smaller ones can start in the lower thousands, whereas larger ones can go past $10,000.
It could also save you a marginal amount of money that would normally be spent on replacing food that has spoiled due to an outage.
Depending on your home insurance coverage plan, sone insurers will allow a homeowner to detail up to several hundred dollars in wasted food as a result of an outage on their claim form. But, that involves proving that you had that amount of food in your home at the time.
Additionally, using the truck to heat a home during a cold weather-related outage can help keep pipes warn, preventing bursting that can cost homeowners thousands in repairs.
Generators require maintenance, are noisy, and their use depends on the availability of gasoline or diesel.