Ford F-150 Lightning will team with home solar, bypass brownouts: Here’s how


The upcoming 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning will likely be the first electric truck—and the first U.S.-market electric vehicle—delivered with the ability to pinch-hit for the electrical grid during an electrical outage.

How? The Lightning will be one of the first few models enabled for bidirectional charging, permitting it in the near future to be a sort of backup power broker on wheels, capable of adding energy independence for owners, helping them work with home solar to shift loads off the grid during peak use times, and saving money—and, perhaps, easing what can cause those outages in the first place.

Not just that, but Ford is enabling it from the start, with supporting hardware. As Ford announced last May, with the reveal of the Lightning, it’s chosen Sunrun as the preferred installer for home solar, and for the Intelligent Backup Power system that enables this game-changing ability set.

Ford Intelligent Backup Power – F-150 Lightning

The setup starts with the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro, which enables a wide range of smart-charging functionality, but to make the F-150 a reliable component for home backup energy you’ll need the full Home Integration System, which includes a power inverter plus a dark-start battery and transfer switch—allowing energy to flow to the house independent of a grid connection.  

Ford hasn’t revealed details about pricing, but it says that customers interested in combining the Charge Station Pro installation with solar power may be eligible for reduced installation pricing and a zero-down finance plan. It has emphasized that commercial customers will have access to the same hardware and feature set.

With the extended-range battery, Ford notes that the Lightning has 131 kwh of energy storage and can deliver up to 9.6 kw of power—more impressive specs than many wall battery units.

Ford released an accompanying graphic comparing its Intelligent Backup Power system with Pro Power Onboard. The latter is essentially like a generator system, with 11 outlets directly powering tools and more. The former is full-on power for the home. 

Ford Intelligent Backup Power – F-150 Lightning

The F-150 Lightning is the first of potentially many upcoming Ford products to come from a joint battery venture between Ford and battery supplier SK Innovation, called BlueOvalSK and due to produce 60 gigawatt-hours annually by the middle of the decade, with 140 GWh of U.S. output later in the decade made possible by an additional BlueOvalSK Battery Park in Kentucky. Based on these features enabled in its first product with the new cells, it clearly has a lot of confidence in them.

There isn\’t much potential competition yet. Hyundai has said that future electric vehicles, built on the E-GMP dedicated EV platform, will be bidirectional-compatible, and in November it previewed a coordinated Hyundai Home energy ecosystem that will bundle charging, solar, and energy storage. But with the power-out potential of the first model, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, limited to 1.9 kw (Vehicle to Load, or V2L) in U.S. versions, it’s unclear how useful the car itself will be for energy storage. The Kia EV6 has a similar function, but Kia currently has no plans in the U.S. for home-energy systems. The Lucid Air is probably the closest product being delivered today that can offer the Lightning’s level of bidirectional charging, with that company’s Connected Home Charging Station the basis for stopgap home-energy needs or even off-grid uses like a vacation home. And VW EVs will, in the near future, offer such functionality. 

With Tesla potentially losing Powerwall business with such a move, this isn’t anything we’ve seen enabled from the EV trendsetter yet either. 

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

The F-150 Lightning’s Home Integration system will be for sale through Sunrun starting this spring, and Ford says there will be provisions to get the system installed ahead of delivery. The F-150 Lightning is due for first deliveries this May. 

The Sunrun page that Ford links to says that Sunrun currently operates in 22 states, with “referral or other installation options made available for all other areas.” The system doesn’t require Sunrun; you can use your own preferred electrician.

We’ve reached out to Ford for clarification on who installs the system in states where Sunrun doesn’t operate, and what kind of home service you’ll need in order to make the most of the Lightning. Can it also power the weekend cabin? Stay tuned.


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