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Maybe you've lost power due to a hurricane or winter storm, or you spend a lot of time working at remote job sites and worry about not having enough power for all your tools. Or maybe you just really like to bring the comforts of home along when you go camping. Whatever the reason, have you ever thought to yourself that it would be handy to use your truck as a portable generator? If so, you've come to the right place! We've extensively researched this topic and collected the most important information for you.
Many of Ford's newer F-150 trucks can be used as generators if you choose the Power Pro Onboard option when you purchase your vehicle. The Power Pro Onboard generator comes in three different options. The least powerful option is available on gas-powered trucks, while the other two options are available for hybrid trucks.
Ford is also coming out with a new all-electric truck, the F-150 Lightning, for the 2022 model year, which has an even more powerful generator than currently available options.
Do you want to know more about which of these options is suitable for your needs? Read on to find out!
How much power does the F-150 generator provide?
A 2.0 kW Pro Power Onboard system is an option for almost all gas-powered models of the F-150. The exception is the base model 3.3 liter V-6 engine, which cannot be upgraded to include this option. 2.0 kW is enough to operate a couple of large power tools at the same time.
Alternatively, Ford suggests that you could have a fully decked-out tailgating party by hooking up a heater, TV, speakers, mini-fridge, and blender all at the same time!
The 2.4 kW version of Pro Power Onboard comes standard on Ford's hybrid F-150 line. Its capabilities are similar to the 2.0 kW version.
If that's not enough juice for you, Ford allows you to upgrade your hybrid truck to have a 7.2 kW generator. This is powerful enough that you can have an entire crew framing a new house and still not max out the generator's capabilities.
Ford F-150 Lightning
Ford is currently taking reservations for the brand new all-electric Lightning model, which is supposed to be available in the fall of 2021. Pro Power Onboard will provide 9.8 kW of electricity on this vehicle, a significant jump from the current max of 7.2 kW.
The Lightning comes with several other innovative features as well. For example, it has a system called Intelligent Range, which calculates how far you can go on the battery given the current load, weather conditions, etc.
It also has Intelligent Backup Power. If the truck is plugged in and your power goes out, the system will sense this and begin feeding power back into your home so you can keep all your essentials running without interruption.
Can you power a house with a Ford truck?
Building houses and throwing awesome tailgating parties are great things. But many Americans have had to deal with extreme weather situations and might be wondering whether the F-150's generators are robust enough to keep the lights on when the power grid fails.
The short answer is yes, though the degree of comfort you'll experience in an emergency is going to depend on exactly what model you have. The 2.0 and 2.4 kW models probably won't do much more than power your fridge and a space heater or two.
On the other hand, the 7.2 kW option can probably handle just about anything you can throw at it. For reference, the average RV only has a 3 to 4 kW onboard generator, and with the top-shelf F-150 hybrid, you can double that.
The F-150 hybrid has a 30-amp outlet in the truck bed, so if you have a 30-amp transfer switch, you can connect it directly to your house's circuitry.
There are also four 120-volt outlets in the truck bed and more in the interior, so if you don't have the necessary transfer switch, you can run a whole lot of extension cords. Make sure to stock up on extension cords that can handle this voltage. The last thing you want to do in an emergency is overload a bunch of extension cords and set your house on fire!
Are you reading this and worrying about doing a bunch of back-of-the-envelope math for how many watts each of your appliances use? There's no need for that since the F-150 hybrid also has a very user-friendly interface. A dash readout tells you how much power you're using at any one time and how much you have in reserve so that you can adjust your use accordingly.
How do I power my house with Ford Lightning?
The Ford Lightning will have two different battery options, the Standard Range (estimated 230 miles per charge) and the Extended Range (estimated 300 miles per charge). A really interesting device called the Charge Station Pro comes standard with the Extended Range and is an option for the Standard Range.
If you have the Charge Station Pro installed, you can plug in your Ford Lightning, and it will automatically sense when the power goes out and start feeding electricity back into your home. It also sends your phone a push notification informing you of the outage.
If you don't opt for the Charge Station Pro, you will still be able to use the Lightning to power your home in the same way you can use the F-150 hybrid now. It's planned to have eleven different outlets in various locations in the vehicle, so if you have enough extension cords, you can hook up an impressive array of different devices.
The Lightning can output a maximum of 9.6 kW. Meanwhile, its battery holds enough charge to power your house for an estimated three days of everyday electricity use or ten days of rationed use.
How much is the generator option on the F-150?
After hearing about all these fantastic new features, you might be wondering about the price tag.
The 2.0 kW generator available for gas-powered models costs $995. That's in the ballpark of what you'd spend for a similar standalone backup generator, and you won't need to worry about your fuel going stale!
For hybrids, the 2.4 kW generator comes standard with the purchase of the vehicle. However, bear in mind that choosing a hybrid can add $4495 to the MRSP of the vehicle. You're getting more than just a slight upgrade to the generator, but it's still a decent chunk of change.
Meanwhile, the 7.2 kW generator is only a $750 upgrade over the basic hybrid. This is a particularly impressive deal considering it nearly triples your potential power usage.
How much does it cost to charge a Ford Lightning at home?
The exact price of charging your electric car will vary based on your driving and charging habits. Some places offer free charging for electric vehicles, which is going to be the cheapest option. Barring that, charging your EV at home during non-peak hours (such as overnight) is going to be significantly more affordable than using a fast-charging station on the go.
Most estimates put the cost of driving an electric car 1 mile at about 4 cents. By contrast, even a very fuel-efficient gas-powered car like a Toyota Corolla is going to cost about 10 cents per mile. According to the Department of Transportation, the average American drives 14,263 miles per year, so that an electric car could save you at least $800 per year on fuel.
Of course, there's also a hardware cost to consider. You can charge your electric car using a typical 120V outlet (called "level 1" charging in EV terms). This won't cost you anything upfront provided you have a convenient outlet.
However, it can be very slow. Many EV owners opt for level 2 charging from a 240V outlet. Having this installed in your garage or driveway can run about $2,000, so it will take a few years of EV usage to recoup the initial investment.
Cars these days can do a lot more than getting us from place to place. Ford's latest F-150 offerings include generator options that can do a wide variety of things. Whether you need extra power for entertainment, for work, or emergencies, there's an option available for you. Now that you've learned all the details, you can be confident that you'll make the best decision to meet your needs when buying your next vehicle.
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