2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is an electric pickup that can power your house for days
Intelligent Backup Power can send juice from the Lightning's battery into your home's electrical system in a blackout, no extension cords required.
Craig ColeFormer reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck is packed with surprises and groundbreaking innovations, from its independent rear suspension to the Mega Power Frunk (which offers more cargo space than a Toyota Corolla sedan), to its unbelievably low starting price. But arguably, this EV's most significant innovation is its ability to run your entire home during a blackout.
Believe it or not, this battery-powered truck can really power your house when the lights go out, and better still, doing so won't require a rat's nest of extension cords or even a portable generator. What Ford calls Intelligent Backup Power enables this all-electric rig to feed power from its enormous battery pack through its hardwired wall charger directly into your home's electrical system.
As you might suspect,
store positively enormous amounts of energy in their batteries. After all, it takes a lot of juice to move a multi-ton vehicle at interstate speeds for hundreds of miles. When it goes on sale next year, the new Lightning will offer two battery pack sizes, the smaller of which should provide 230 miles of range and the bigger one about 300.
hasn't said how large these electron reservoirs are, but we're estimating they'll clock in at roughly 110 and 150 kWh, respectively.
The F-150 Lightning can provide up to 9.6 kW of power output. According to Ford, that's more than enough to fully power a house at any one time, and considering the size of the battery, it could do that for at least three days (based on a daily average of 30 kWh). The automaker says you can make that power last for up to 10 days if you ration the electricity accordingly. Kind of like hypermiling for your home.
Provided the Lightning is plugged in, Ford's Intelligent Backup Power system works automatically (though you can manually configure it if you prefer), switching on when there's an electrical interruption. It feeds power from the truck's prodigious battery pack back to the 80-amp, 240-volt home charger, then the juice gets routed to an inverter, which magically transforms it from DC to AC, and finally that sweet, sweet electricity gets routed to all the plugs, lights and appliances in your home. It's pretty neat stuff.
Later, the F-150 Lightning will also be able to power your house during the day when electricity rates are higher and then recharge overnight when the juice costs less. This has the potential to significantly reduce owners' electricity bills.
All of this capability is similar to the F-150 hybrid's Pro Power Onboard system available in its 2021 model-year gas F-150s. (You may recall that some of Ford's trucks saved the day during Texas' frigid blackout back in February). Of course, PPO cannot feed juice back through a building's electrical system. If you want to keep your freezer from thawing like the icecaps and the internet modem up and running, you'd better have some power strips and extension cords handy, because you have to plug everything directly into the hybrid F-150. Or, of course, you can just upgrade to the new Lightning and it will do all that automatically.
With 775 pound-feet of torque on tap and a base price of around $40,000 before any state or federal tax credits, this all-electric F-150 seems like a groundbreaking, industry-changing product. Intelligent Backup Power is just another killer feature that could put the Lightning ahead of competing all-electric pickups from companies like Hummer, Rivian and Tesla.
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