The Ford F-150 Lightning's Intelligent Backup Power System is the first of its kind. Never before have you been able to use your car or truck to automatically power your home during a power outage.
We expect these systems to become commonplace in the coming years as electric vehicle adoption proliferates, but Ford's system was the very first to hit the market and we were one of the first to purchase, install and use it.
Interestingly, the "use it" part seems to be the most exclusive because we've seen many reports online from owners who had Intelligent Backup Power installed, but weren't able to get it to work properly. Fortunately, our installation, performed by Qmerit, went smoothly and the system powered up on the first try and has been working fine.
There are four components to the Ford Intelligent Backup Power system. Owners need to first install Ford Charge Station Pro, an 80-amp bi-directional charger. Ford Charge Station Pro can deliver up to 80-amps (19kW) to Lightning vehicles with the extended range battery pack. F-150 Lightning that have a standard range battery pack have a 48-amp onboard charger and are limited to charging at 11 kW.
However, those vehicles can still use Ford Charge Station Pro without being concerned about the truck getting too much power because the vehicle always dictates the maximum power that it receives and won't accept more than the onboard charger can handle. But owners with the standard range battery will have to purchase Charge Station Pro for $1,310, as it only comes standard with the extended range battery pack option.
Looking for anyone that also has the Home Integration Kit installed. Mine was installed in November and has not worked outside the initial test. If I run the backup power check in the app I get the error attached. Was wondering if anyone else has this issue or if it yours is all green... - Lightning owner post in the F-150 Lightning Owners group on Facebook
In addition to Charge Station Pro, the Home Integration Kit is needed and can be purchased from Ford's partner, Sunrun, for $3,895. The Home integration kit is comprised of three components; an inverter, an automatic transfer switch, and a lithium-ion battery. The battery, called Dark Start, is needed to supply the system power immediately following the power interruption.
Ford Intelligent Backup Power system power flow including solar electric and a natural gas generator
Our installation was a complex one, as we had to incorporate a natural gas generator and a solar array into the system and make sure everything played nicely together. While ours wasn't a simple, straightforward installation, we believe many of the systems will also be complicated.
Many owners will want to integrate solar electric and possibly stationary energy storage systems with Intelligent Backup Power, so make sure you select an installation team that is capable of taking on complex projects. We suspect some additional equipment from other vendors will be compatible and some won't so do your homework before assuming your Tesla Powerwall, for instance, will work with Ford's system.
Ford's partner and preferred installer for Intelligent Backup Ppower is Sunrun, but it's up to the owner to select the installer they are most comfortable with, and Ford has pledged to support Lightning owners throughout the installation and beyond regardless of who their installation team is.
Ford Intelligent Backup Power Costs
In the video, we explain how the system works with a power flow animation to demonstrate how electricity flows through all of the components under various different conditions.
We haven't had an actual power outage since installing the system, but we have done a few power-out simulations by shutting off the main power to the house and confirming that the system works. We should do one of those simulations in the video with the power out and the Lightning arriving home and plugging in to restore the lights in the house.
There was one drawback to not using Sunrun for the installation, though. Currently, only Sunrun-installed systems can be linked to the FordPass app. Therefore, in order for our system to work, we need to have it set to turn on automatically when the power goes out and the truck is plugged in. We reached out to Ford for guidance and were told that is how the app currently works but that they are working on an update and expect to have it ready within a couple of weeks.
Once we have that update and can operate the system through the app, we plan to make a follow-up video showing how that works, with a live power-outage simulation, so stay tuned.