From the April issue of 2022 Car and driver.

UPDATE 5/11/22: We’ve updated this story with more details, including prices for the F-150 Lightning Pro charger and home integration system options.

As the world moves from large on-demand power plants to a more distributed grid using solar and wind systems that generate energy if desired, the likelihood and duration of power outages is bound to increase. The traditional home solution is to purchase a portable or stationary generator to provide backup power.

But electric cars and trucks provide another opportunity for backup power. All EVs have batteries large enough to theoretically provide power at home for several days. The trick is to transfer electrical energy from EV to useful home AC energy.

A number of cars, including Nissan Leaf and VW electric cars from 2022 – could theoretically do so because they have so-called bidirectional charging, which means that power can come in and out comes out their batteries. But so far only Ford has announced the necessary components to make bidirectional charging work in-house. The system is called Intelligent Backup Power and is available in combination with F-150 Lightning.

To estimate how much electricity Lightning can provide, keep in mind that even the standard range version has a battery capacity of 98.0 kilowatt-hours, more than seven Tesla Powerwalls – a well-sought-after home battery, Powerwalls cost $ 10,500 each, while the base The Lightning costs just $ 41,769 – 43% less than Tesla’s seven batteries – plus you get the truck for free. And the extended range battery contains about 30 percent more electricity. Lightning can pump up to 9.6 kilowatts into your home, which is enough to power everything you need during a power outage, except perhaps an air conditioning system. After all, a typical home consumes an average of about 1.3 kW, while modern, low-energy homes consume slightly less.


Of course, it’s not as easy as connecting Lightning to a home charger and flipping a switch. First, you need a charging station Ford Charge Station Pro with a capacity of 19.2 kW, which is standard on models with an extended range, but in itself costs 1310 dollars.

You also need a home integration system. It is a sophisticated power electronics that takes a strong DC current from Charge Station Pro and converts it to AC that can be used indoors. It connects between your home’s electricity meter and your main power panel and disconnects your home’s power from the mains whenever you need this backup. Cost $ 3895.

Finally, you will need to pay the electrician to install these two pieces of electrical equipment, as well as 80 A wiring and some control wiring in between. This 80-amp wiring is the equivalent of two electric dryer circuits and is not strictly necessary unless you also want to use the full charging power of the 19.2 kW Charge Station Pro. But it’s a thick cable that will be difficult to run, especially if your garage, basement and panel board have finished walls. Depending on the size of your power panel, you may need to increase the size to accommodate this extra electrical load.

It is impossible to predict the cost of installation, because it depends on your garage and home layout, but it is difficult to understand how even the simplest and simplest installation will cost less than grand. In my house, which is only two years old, but between a place to charge in the garage and a power panel, but has a long passage through the finished walls, my electrician gave me an estimate of five thousand.

To facilitate this installation process, Ford is partnering with Sunrun, a major national solar system installer. Sunrun can add an array of solar cells to the system to provide free solar power and increase how long the system can power your home while keeping the charge in your Lightning battery. This provides some great cost benefits as the home integration system can serve as an inverter that converts DC energy from solar cells to AC energy for the home, eliminating the need for this expensive component in a conventional solar installation. Sunrun also offers a variety of financing options to reduce initial installation costs.

The actual cost of installing Ford equipment is not much different from installing a permanent backup generator with a capacity of 10 kW. Depending on how much electricity you use, even a standard-range Lightning battery can power your home for a long time. Ford says it averages three days, but it will run on my power supply for five and a half days. And it’s dead quiet, unlike most cheap portable generators will wake the dead. Just remember that if you take your truck on order, your reserve power will go along with it.

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