Home Discharging

Your home’s backup power may eventually be an electric vehicle

Many homeowners may one day have a home backup power source parked in their garage – that is the same vehicle driving them around town.

As automakers release more EV models, the technology contained in them is growing more sophisticated. Electric vehicles are increasingly built with larger batteries that can travel longer distances on a single charge. While this helps drivers significantly reduce range anxiety, the benefits have expanded beyond driving.

The Ford F-150 has the capability to discharge and be used as a home’s backup power source.

Ford turned heads when it announced that its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck would also be able to discharge, or release the electricity, from the battery back into a house. The ability of electric vehicles to power a home has its appeal— particularly since some EV batteries, including the F-150 Lightning, can potentially provide more power than many standalone battery systems or backup generators.

Some Ford Lightning models feature a 240-volt, 30-amp plug in the bed of the truck that can be used similarly to a small backup generator. To provide backup power from the Lightning’s plug, a home would need to be equipped with a manual transfer switch and sub-panel of critical circuits. This is the type of equipment similar to what would be required for a home to accept power from a backup generator.

To take advantage of the Ford Lightning’s automatic home discharging capabilities, Ford states on its website that a Ford Charge Station Pro and a Home Integration System are required. The Ford Charge Station Pro is included in the purchase of the Ford F-150 Lighting with extended-range battery; consumers who purchase the Lightning with the standard-range battery can purchase the charge station separately. This would provide more power than the Lightning’s 240-volt plug in the truck bed.

As more electric vehicles arrive on the market, it is likely that automakers will develop more unique ways to leverage the vehicles’ technology and equipment. That also can mean more electric vehicles and chargers will have the ability to act as a backup home power source during inclement weather or power outages.

Contact your local electric cooperative’s energy advisor to learn more about EVs, including answers to questions about this and other technology that can help your home.