It’s a compelling idea. Use lightning to power your home in the event of a multi-day grid failure. Now even though Ben Franklin’s lightning could get the job done, availability and safety are definitely two things we should be concerned about.
Enter the other Lightning. The Ford Motor Company’s new F-150 electric pickup truck to enter the fledgling EV truck market this year. Being a workhorse, it is not only expected to move workers to the jobsite and back, but also haul, tow and power the needed equipment all day long.
To accomplish all this, a battery with a capacity of up to 131 kWh, output of 9.8 kW and 80 amps including 240 volt outlets, is possible. Consider that the average home might consume 20,000 kWh per year or 55 kWh per day, it should be no surprise that the result is Ford Intelligent Backup Power, through a partnership with Sunrun.
With this technology, the Lightning owner’s home can be equipped with a charger that doubles as the supply and disconnect to enable the F-150’s battery to provide 100% of the electrical needs in the event the grid experiences a blackout.
Combine this with an appropriately sized solar system and the Ford’s battery can be recharged during the day to provide uninterrupted power to the property indefinitely in the event of a major grid failure.
Now keep in mind that this assumes that the truck is actually parked at home when the outage occurs and that the remaining charge is sufficient to handle demand until excess solar electric generation is available to recharge the battery. Though even a 10% charge contains more electricity than a fully charged Tesla Powerwall.
It will also mean that in the event of a disaster, the owner will need to choose between the home’s needs or a remote need, and not both at the same time.
The standard 98 kWh battery can be had in the base model F-150 EV for $40,000. Add in a few options and Ford Intelligent Backup Power totaling $50,000 and this is equivalent to the installed cost of three or four Tesla Powerwalls and they only provide 40 to 55% of the usable power. And you can’t drive your Powerwalls!
This does open up the possibility that any electric vehicle, or even a plug-in hybrid, could be used for property peak power shaving or backup in the event of a grid outage. As far as this technology is concerned, we are only limited by our imagination!