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Electric F-150 Has Unusual Perk: Ability to Power a Home

Ford says it would keep a house going in a blackout for about 3 days
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 9:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ford unveiled its electric version of the popular F-150 pickup on Wednesday, and even outlets that don't typically pay much attention to such things have taken notice. The F-150 has long been the bestselling vehicle in America, and the 2022 Lightning is designed to appeal to "everyday truck owners—making it a potential turning point in the electric vehicle revolution," writes Joann Muller at Axios. Coverage:

  • Price: The base model goes on sale next spring for $39,974, but with a federal tax credit, most would pay about $32,500. "Thirty-two grand after subsidies—an astonishing price," writes Robinson Meyer at the Atlantic. Consider that the average new car price in the US eclipsed the $40,000 mark earlier this year.

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  • Big deal: Given the F-150's popularity, "this may be one of the important products in decarbonization," writes energy industry vet Tim Latimer. "Electrification here is a big deal." At the Detroit Free Press, Mark Phelan likens what Ford is trying to do here with EVs to the "transportation revolution" set off by the Model T more than a century ago. Like the Model T, the new truck is pitched as a vehicle for the masses.
  • The line starts: Ford says it took 20,000 reservations for the Lightning in the first 12 hours people could make them, per CNBC. The reservations require a refundable $100 deposit, here.
  • House power: Ford says the Lightning will have the same power to haul and tow as the gas-powered version, though it may take time to convince truck owners of that. But the Lightning has additional perks that come with an EV—owners could draw power from it at a worksite for lights or tools, and Ford says it would have enough juice to power a house during a blackout for roughly three days. As NPR notes, that latter point will likely hit home for Texas residents after that state's recent blackout. Ford is pitching it as a "generator on wheels," per Axios.
  • A drawback: The big caveat with EVs, of course, is keeping them charged. "The truth is, unless Ford invests in building out its own dedicated network, there's only so much the company can do between now and when the Lightning hits the road to make the public charging experience better," writes Sean O'Kane at the Verge. Those who get the extended-range battery will get an 80-amp home charging station that could fully charge the Lightning in eight hours, he adds.
  • Range: The Lightning will get either 230 or 300 miles on a charge, depending on battery choice, and a ballpark estimate is that it would take 10 minutes on a fast charger to add 54 miles of range. "Those are not eye-popping figures—other automakers are making more ambitious promises for their battery-powered pickups," writes Camila Domonoske at NPR.
  • The frunk: Ford didn't invent the word "frunk," but the Lightning is getting a lot of attention for the spacious area at the front of the truck where the engine would normally be. It's got about 14 cubic feet, or enough for, say, two golf bags, plus four power outlets and two USB chargers. MotorTrend looks in particular at the frunk feature.
(President Biden took one for a spin.)

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