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Can You Charge A Ford Lightning With A Generator?

Knowing the charging options for your Ford Lightning can help save you when you need to charge the truck’s battery. You might wonder if you can charge this light-duty truck with a generator. We researched this concern for your convenience, and here’s what we found.

Yes, you can charge a Ford Lightning pickup truck with a generator. However, you need to use a mid- to high-end generator that can provide at least 1,500 watts to the vehicle. Also, if you use a portable generator, it needs to operate with a clean sine wave to charge the truck without issues.

Picking the correct generator to use with a Ford Lightning ensures that you’re using the correct unit to power the vehicle. So continue reading as we dive into the topic of charging a Ford Lightning truck with a generator in greater detail.

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Charging A Ford Lightning With A Generator

Ford F-150 Lightning on display

Generators that can produce a clean sine wave effect through a built-in inverter can charge a Ford Lightning. With this feature, the generator can provide power delivery at a rate that's similar to charging the truck at a wall outlet.

Here are some recommended portable generators for charging a Ford Lightning:

Recommended portable generators for charging a ford lightning

1. Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Generator

Despite being marketed for RVs and motorhomes, this portable generator can also charge a Ford Lighting pickup truck.

For starters, this generator has a reasonably quiet operation. It operates at less than 71 decibels, which is only slightly louder than on-road vehicle traffic. Take note that this noise level is a bit louder than people talking, but it’s not deafening.

Plus, this model can provide up to 3,500 starting watts and 3,000 running watts. Those power delivery ranges should be more than enough to charge the Ford F-150 Lightning’s battery.

You can also connect this unit to another generator. That way, you might be able to increase the speed at which your Lightning's battery charges. However, you can only do a parallel charge if the other unit is the same model.

Check out this product on Amazon.

2. WEN 56235i Super Quiet Portable Generator

Unlike other generators on the market, this model only weighs 39 pounds. With its weight, it shouldn’t be too challenging to transport to and from your truck.

The smaller, lighter frame also means that the generator runs at a lower power capacity than the previous unit. Nonetheless, this product can produce 2,350 starting watts and 1,900 running watts, which should be sufficient for charging your truck.

Plus, this generator is quieter than many of its competitors. With a running noise level of 51 decibels, it’s only slightly louder than moderate rainfall. Also, the sound level is similar to a normal human conversation.

But it can be tough to get a hold of this generator in some places, especially if you plan to order it online. This is because some states, like California, have strict rules regarding generator deliveries.

Check out this product on Amazon.

3. Honda EU2200i Portable Generator

This portable generator might make some budget-conscious buyers back away slowly. It has a premium price tag, but it also comes with quality features.

For instance, it has a safety feature called Co-minder. The manufacturer calls it an Advanced Carbon Monoxide Detection System. With it, the generator will turn off the moment it detects dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide produced by the machine.

Users can also control this portable generator with the Honda My Generator smartphone app. Connecting it to a compatible smartphone allows users to start and stop the machine remotely and monitor performance and remaining battery power.

As for its power delivery, it can supply 2,200 starting watts and 1,800 running watts. Take note that the charging delivery is less than the likes of the Generac GP3500iO. Still, the machine is reasonably powerful for charging a Lightning’s battery.

Check out this product on Amazon.

4. Champion Power Equipment 100519 Generator

This particular generator offers different wattage rating options from 4,000 to 8,750 watts. This means that every version of this battery-charging machine should be able to charge a Ford Lightning’s battery properly.

It’s also important to mention that this generator isn’t portable. It weighs 155 pounds, which could be challenging to load onto your Lightning’s bed without a ramp. Still, this model comes with wheels to help ease transport difficulties.

This generator is also slightly louder than the others we've mentioned. It has a noise level of 72 decibels, which is a bit noisier than the likes of the Generac GP3500iO.

It also has an Eco Mode that reduces noise levels. But taking advantage of this feature also reduces its power delivery capabilities.

Check out this product on Amazon.

How Long Does It Take To Charge A Ford F-150 Lightning?

Charging Ford F-150

It takes about 41 minutes to over eight hours to completely charge a Ford Lightning’s battery. The speed at which the truck's battery charges differs depending on factors like the charging outlet or machine used.

For example, if you use an 18-amp portable generator like the Honda EU2200i, it may take longer than 14 hours to charge a Lightning truck’s battery from empty to full.

However, if you use a 150-kilowatt fast charger, it may only require about 41 minutes to charge the battery.

Can A Ford Lightning Charge Its Battery?

The Ford F-150 Lightning may not be able to charge its battery, but it has a feature to help reduce charge drain.

The vehicle has a regenerative braking system, wherein drivers can turn the power generated from using the brakes into an additional charge for the battery.

Take note that the power regenerated may not be enough to charge the vehicle's battery significantly. Nonetheless, it's a great feature to have to help reduce the likelihood of running out of battery power while you're driving.

What Is The Lightning’s Battery Size?

Disassembling the battery of an electric vehicle engine

The Ford Lightning’s battery ranges from 98 to 131 kilowatt-hours, depending on the truck's trim level.

A fully charged Lighting can go from 230 to 320 miles. Plus, purchasing the truck from the manufacturer or a trustworthy retailer may include an eight-year or 100,000-mile limited warranty (whichever comes first).

How Do I Charge My F-150 Lightning?

Bear in mind that the Ford F-150 Lightning has three charging levels:

  • Level 1: Regular 120-volt household outlet
  • Level 2: Charging station with 208- to 240-volt ratings
  • Level 3: Also called DC fast charge, it offers 400- to over 900-volt charging speeds

You only need to connect the Ford F-150 Lightning’s proprietary charging cord to a compatible charging outlet or station.

But you may need the company’s mobile power cord (which should be in every certified Ford Lightning purchase) to connect the vehicle to a grounded outlet.

Gain additional insight into this topic by reading our post on how to charge a Ford Lightning. Alternatively, you can watch the video below:

Will Charging My Ford Lighting To 100% Damage Its Battery?

Your battery will not be damaged if you charge your Ford F-150 Lightning to 100%. Overcharging the vehicle should not harm to the vehicle.

However, it might be ideal to remove the charging cable from the Ford Lightning once its battery reaches about 90% during a charging session. That way, it might be possible to extend the truck battery’s life.

Ford also recommends Lightning owners to only charge the truck’s battery at about 90% for daily use. On the other hand, you might want to opt for a full charge if you’re going to use the truck for a long road trip.

What Happens If My Ford Lightning’s Battery Runs Out On The Road?

Ford F150 Lightning on the road

First, navigate the pickup truck to a safe spot as fast as you can, before the vehicle runs out of momentum. Then, you can use a portable generator to help you charge the Lightning’s battery during this emergency.

Another solution is to call Ford’s Roadside Assistance. Calling the service’s hotline number allows you to take advantage of different services if your truck breaks down. Some services you can use from the assistance are:

  • Battery jump start
  • Flat tire change
  • Towing
  • Winching
  • Restore entry from lockout

Final Thoughts

Remember, you need to use the correct generator to charge a Ford F-150 Lightning’s battery properly. Using the wrong generator may compromise the vehicle’s performance.

If you’re looking for answers to other car battery concerns, check out these other great reads:

Can You Overcharge A Lead Acid Battery?

Does Leaving Car Engine Running Charge Battery?