Daily Authority: 💸 F-150’s home surprise

All new F 150

Available 7.2-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard ™ features four 120V 20A outlets and one NEMA L14-30R 240V 30A. The all-new F-150 features more exportable power than any light-duty full-size pickup, giving you the ability to use your truck as a mobile generator. It is available with three levels of electrical output depending on engine choice.

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EVs and the home

ford f 150

Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

The Ford F-150 Lightning has a handy trick that has had a lot of buzz for a while: it has support for bi-directional charging, known as vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-home, and the idea is the truck can keep the lights!

But! It’s far more complicated than that, might cost more than you expect, and Ford’s not doing the best job in making it look easy.

The idea:

  • You can, of course, charge your EV at home with a wall box (or a Ford Connected Charge Station.)
  • And with the F-150, you can do the reverse too: use the 98kWh * battery in the standard truck (or 131kWh in the extended range battery that costs $ 10,000 more) to power your home during outages.
  • (* As reference, the Tesla Powerwall 2, which you can buy today and use as a home battery, is a 13.5kWh system.)

What’s happened:

  • The thing was, Ford didn’t specify the key details around how the truck will be connected to the home.
  • In very general terms, an EV has a DC battery, homes and the grid run on AC, so you need an inverter and some extra power electronics and ideally smart management to be able to run all your outlets at home off your EV for your TV and toaster.
  • In March, Ford unveiled the Ford Charge Station Pro (already $ 1,310, which is a bi-directional home charging station, but didn’t mention the cost of the “Home Integration System” or the smarts to go with it.
  • Unfortunately, news is that it’s an extra $ 3,895 before installation. That’s not a wildly expensive sticker price, but the installation won’t be cheap either.

A post from Ford’s Charging and Energy Services person on LinkedIn, of all places, has now confirmed that it starts at $ 3,895 (and that’s before installation, which is via Sunrun!):

  • “If you want your truck to power your home during an outage, take advantage of Ford Intelligent Backup Power and get the Home Integration System that works with the Charge Station Pro. The Home Integration System is required to truly take advantage of two-way power flow of F-150 Lightning. This system consists of an inverter, transfer switch and battery, and will be sold through Sunrun for $ 3,895, with installation costs dependent on your personal home setup. When the power goes out, the system automatically disconnects from the utility line and switches over to Ford Intelligent Backup Power so that the truck can send power to your house. ”

Well:

  • The cost isn’t a complete surprise given what’s involved. The gear has to be done right for all kinds of safety concerns (like, the house needs to be isolated from the grid, given people working on poles and wires during an outage need to be safe too).
  • And with this, the truck automatically provides power in the case of an outage. No manual switching or plugging in required.
  • But! The way Ford has dripped out this info and tangled it with the limited capability of its Charge Station Pro might be a surprise.
  • The way Ford’s website reads, though, it’s simple: “It’s ready to work, even when parked,” says the site. “If the power goes out in your neighborhood, rest easy.”

Smarts?

  • Anyway, aside all that, the other advantage of having a home battery with solar panels on the roof is that you can do smart controls.
  • The Enphase app, for example, for people with Enphase inverters and battery systems, can run on “Savings Mode” which uses the connected battery to power a home when electricity is expensive (peak hours), and uses grid power when it’s cheap (during off-peak hours).
  • Ford’s solution may or may not be capable of that. The FordPass app doesn’t suggest it can.
  • So, instead of clarity, there are added costs and complexity.
  • This is all a shame!
  • EVs providing houses with priority power and smarts, and / or backup power are going to be hugely useful. It should be a standard part of the grid of the future.
  • But for now, I wouldn’t blame anyone who doesn’t geek out on it all being put off.
  • By the way: Tesla doesn’t offer this, in case you were wondering.
  • (Footnote: The F-150 actually has 240V AC outlets with up to 30 amps output in the bed of the truck, as you can see in the image. So, you can just plug in a TV directly, but only if you have a long cable or can back the truck into the living room!)

Roundup:

👨‍✈️ Telegram Premium plan is in the works: What do you get by subscribing? (Android Authority).

👉 The Redmi Pad could take the fight to cheaper Android tablets (Android Authority).

🍎 From a book on Apple, an adapted feature on why Jony Ive left Apple: Evolving responsibilities, frustrations building as the company got in his way, mostly over the Apple Watch, all of which eventually led to his June 2019 resignation. He’d had enough. (New York Timesgift link).

Have a great start to your week,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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