Taking the pressure off Lightning production

steven

Member
Nov 26, 2021
73
19
tucson
I can use but don't absolutely need a pickup. The Lightning's bidirectional charging with Intelligent Backup Power is for me the deal clincher. For those of us who may have no choice but to wait until next year for our LIghtnings, Ford could soften the blow by promising to offer ASAP bidirectional charging with Intelligent Backup Power across its entire range of EV offerings. Its Mustang Mach-E has just dethroned Tesla as the best EV. Given the battery resource bottlenecks anticipated in the transition to EVs - and Elon Musk's short-sightedness in not allowing his engineers to include bidirectional charging with the EVs Tesla sells, this would be good not just for Ford but for EV owners and the planet.

By offering its customers the ability to store power produced from renewable energy sources, it would compel the nation's electrical utilities to adopt new business models based on supporting the distributed production and storage of energy, not on how many grid-scale batteries and how much peak power infrastructure they can convince their state utility commissions they need to accommodate renewable energy sources.
 

pinaz

New member
Jan 4, 2022
6
3
Texas
Ford's "bidirectional charging" is more hype than reality IMHO.

What is grounded in reality is the built-in inverter at either 2.4 and 9.6 kW. Whereas before the only option was a gas generator, now you can hook up electrical loads to an F150 Lightning or Ford Transit (or Hyundai Ioniq 5 / Kia EV6) and power them without needing a grid connection. (Those loads can include some of your house loads, just like you would with a gas generator.) That alone makes it appealing... and it is distinguishes it from Tesla.

The "bidirectional" bit, though, is where things fall apart. Just about any EV (with DC fast charge capability) can connect its battery to something external... that's what happens when charging at a DC fast charge station. This doesn't happen casually, as seriously bad things could happen with that much power, but ultimately it is just software and the right external (powered) equipment. All indications are that Ford's/Sunrun's "Intelligent Backup Power" solution needs to send power through the DC fast charge connector.

The problem is that Ford's sales team (with all their hype videos) made people think that there was something special inside the F150 Lightning. I think the reality is that the "something special" is the optional Sunrun system, which extra and not inexpensive. With the technical cooperation of a manufacturer (the engineering of which is probably still happening between Ford and Sunrun), something like the Sunrun system could work with most any vehicle, but I suspect it is going to be expensive enough that only the wealthy and/or dedicated enthusiasts will pay for it (at least for the next several years).

Everything that I've read (and what I was told at the touring Ford event) indicates that every F150 Lightning model can do this:

When a grid failure happens, the normal EVSE charger will stop charging the EV. If the house has a load switch panel (installed by an electrician and like has been available for years when using a portable generator), the owner can physically switch over the loads, and by plugging in the F150 Lightning pickup bed power connector (or Ford Transit equivalent), can power up to 2.4/9.6kW. When the grid comes back online, the owner can disconnect the EV, manually switch the load panel back to the grid, and the grid-powered EVSE charger can start to fill the F150 Lightning battery back up again. It is not as sexy as some hands-free smartphone app like the Ford hype video shows, but it would do the job and it doesn't need the "Intelligent Backup Power" Sunrun system.

As a practical matter, Ford simply can't offer " bidirectional charging with Intelligent Backup Power ", at least not without expensive equipment external to the vehicle. It can, however, start equipping all its EVs with V2L... and hopefully they will be smart enough to do this ASAP. (From the extracts I've seen of what Farley has said so far, Ford is going to be improving vehicles like the Mach-E incrementally, rather than waiting until the next refresh cycle.)

So, I would suggest that Musk's fatal error was not including V2L (Vehicle To Load); because of this, Tesla owners will need something half as convoluted as the Sunrun system just to achieve what already exists in V2L capable vehicles.

The Ford F150 Lighting and Ford Transmit (and Hyundai Ioniq 5 / Kia EV6, etc.) will show what is possible with V2L in the coming years.
 
OP
S

steven

Member
Nov 26, 2021
73
19
tucson
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Ford's "bidirectional charging" is more hype than reality IMHO.

What is grounded in reality is the built-in inverter at either 2.4 and 9.6 kW. Whereas before the only option was a gas generator, now you can hook up electrical loads to an F150 Lightning or Ford Transit (or Hyundai Ioniq 5 / Kia EV6) and power them without needing a grid connection. (Those loads can include some of your house loads, just like you would with a gas generator.) That alone makes it appealing... and it is distinguishes it from Tesla.

The "bidirectional" bit, though, is where things fall apart. Just about any EV (with DC fast charge capability) can connect its battery to something external... that's what happens when charging at a DC fast charge station. This doesn't happen casually, as seriously bad things could happen with that much power, but ultimately it is just software and the right external (powered) equipment. All indications are that Ford's/Sunrun's "Intelligent Backup Power" solution needs to send power through the DC fast charge connector.

The problem is that Ford's sales team (with all their hype videos) made people think that there was something special inside the F150 Lightning. I think the reality is that the "something special" is the optional Sunrun system, which extra and not inexpensive. With the technical cooperation of a manufacturer (the engineering of which is probably still happening between Ford and Sunrun), something like the Sunrun system could work with most any vehicle, but I suspect it is going to be expensive enough that only the wealthy and/or dedicated enthusiasts will pay for it (at least for the next several years).

Everything that I've read (and what I was told at the touring Ford event) indicates that every F150 Lightning model can do this:

When a grid failure happens, the normal EVSE charger will stop charging the EV. If the house has a load switch panel (installed by an electrician and like has been available for years when using a portable generator), the owner can physically switch over the loads, and by plugging in the F150 Lightning pickup bed power connector (or Ford Transit equivalent), can power up to 2.4/9.6kW. When the grid comes back online, the owner can disconnect the EV, manually switch the load panel back to the grid, and the grid-powered EVSE charger can start to fill the F150 Lightning battery back up again. It is not as sexy as some hands-free smartphone app like the Ford hype video shows, but it would do the job and it doesn't need the "Intelligent Backup Power" Sunrun system.

As a practical matter, Ford simply can't offer " bidirectional charging with Intelligent Backup Power ", at least not without expensive equipment external to the vehicle. It can, however, start equipping all its EVs with V2L... and hopefully they will be smart enough to do this ASAP. (From the extracts I've seen of what Farley has said so far, Ford is going to be improving vehicles like the Mach-E incrementally, rather than waiting until the next refresh cycle.)

So, I would suggest that Musk's fatal error was not including V2L (Vehicle To Load); because of this, Tesla owners will need something half as convoluted as the Sunrun system just to achieve what already exists in V2L capable vehicles.

The Ford F150 Lighting and Ford Transmit (and Hyundai Ioniq 5 / Kia EV6, etc.) will show what is possible with V2L in the coming years.
Superb! Thank you!
 

Ssob

Member
Dec 17, 2021
52
18
Sterling
Ford's "bidirectional charging" is more hype than reality IMHO.

What is grounded in reality is the built-in inverter at either 2.4 and 9.6 kW. Whereas before the only option was a gas generator, now you can hook up electrical loads to an F150 Lightning or Ford Transit (or Hyundai Ioniq 5 / Kia EV6) and power them without needing a grid connection. (Those loads can include some of your house loads, just like you would with a gas generator.) That alone makes it appealing... and it is distinguishes it from Tesla.

The "bidirectional" bit, though, is where things fall apart. Just about any EV (with DC fast charge capability) can connect its battery to something external... that's what happens when charging at a DC fast charge station. This doesn't happen casually, as seriously bad things could happen with that much power, but ultimately it is just software and the right external (powered) equipment. All indications are that Ford's/Sunrun's "Intelligent Backup Power" solution needs to send power through the DC fast charge connector.

The problem is that Ford's sales team (with all their hype videos) made people think that there was something special inside the F150 Lightning. I think the reality is that the "something special" is the optional Sunrun system, which extra and not inexpensive. With the technical cooperation of a manufacturer (the engineering of which is probably still happening between Ford and Sunrun), something like the Sunrun system could work with most any vehicle, but I suspect it is going to be expensive enough that only the wealthy and/or dedicated enthusiasts will pay for it (at least for the next several years).

Everything that I've read (and what I was told at the touring Ford event) indicates that every F150 Lightning model can do this:

When a grid failure happens, the normal EVSE charger will stop charging the EV. If the house has a load switch panel (installed by an electrician and like has been available for years when using a portable generator), the owner can physically switch over the loads, and by plugging in the F150 Lightning pickup bed power connector (or Ford Transit equivalent), can power up to 2.4/9.6kW. When the grid comes back online, the owner can disconnect the EV, manually switch the load panel back to the grid, and the grid-powered EVSE charger can start to fill the F150 Lightning battery back up again. It is not as sexy as some hands-free smartphone app like the Ford hype video shows, but it would do the job and it doesn't need the "Intelligent Backup Power" Sunrun system.

As a practical matter, Ford simply can't offer " bidirectional charging with Intelligent Backup Power ", at least not without expensive equipment external to the vehicle. It can, however, start equipping all its EVs with V2L... and hopefully they will be smart enough to do this ASAP. (From the extracts I've seen of what Farley has said so far, Ford is going to be improving vehicles like the Mach-E incrementally, rather than waiting until the next refresh cycle.)

So, I would suggest that Musk's fatal error was not including V2L (Vehicle To Load); because of this, Tesla owners will need something half as convoluted as the Sunrun system just to achieve what already exists in V2L capable vehicles.

The Ford F150 Lighting and Ford Transmit (and Hyundai Ioniq 5 / Kia EV6, etc.) will show what is possible with V2L in the coming years.
I want to make sure I understand your messaging, here. What I think you are saying is that there may be a more economical solution, as an alternative to the SunRun equipment and installation package, to provide power to the home during a loss of power event. That solution is similar to that used for a standard gas generator, where a transfer switch is used to remove the load (the home) from the grid power source and transferring it to the alternate power source (a generator) - per the requirements of the National Electrical Code. In the solution you suggest, the alternate source would be the F150 Lightning's Pro Power 240V/30A AC outlet, in the bed, instead of a generator. Using this method would allow for the use of the F150-installed inverter rather than having to use an external inverter (provided by SunRun as part of the Home Integration System) to convert the DC to AC current; hence part of the cost-savings. I think this makes sense - in fact, this is the way V2V charging would be done, via the bed's power outlets.

But, there are some trade-offs to this option, including:

-The Pro Power 240V circuit is rated at 30 Amps, which limits what can be run simultaneously more so than through the Pro Charger (I believe)
-The loss of remote management (initiating V2H - someone must be around to connect a cable and move the transfer switch, setting limitations, etc.)
-Others??

The first trade-off requires determining how much of the house load can be serviced by the 240V/30A source. Although, the same must be done for the SunRun solution, the difference being that the Home Integration System will likely allow for more loads to be carried. The second trade-off is more about convenience.

Both the SunRun solution and the bed power connector solution require the use of a transfer switch. The big difference appears to be the cost associated with the inverter in the Home Integration System, which is likely not trivial. I know this video has appeared in other posts, but it warrants including it in this thread because it explains a lot: Ford F-150 Lightning Intelligent Backup Power: Everything You Need to Know.

In the video, the host indicates you do not have to use SunRun for the installation of the Home Integration System, but you do have to purchase the equipment from them. I assume it is because of the communication required between the inverter and the F150.

I guess it boils down to whether the onboard power outlets can provide the capacity to service your needs during a power outage and how much one values the convenience of controlling the V2H features remotely (for instance, if you are not at your home when power is lost).

SunRun still does not have the price for the hardware nor the cost of installation of the hardware on its site, yet. But, there are other questions that must be addressed, first, before one decides to go with the Ford-suggested SunRun solution. Namely, what would be required to install the Charge Station Pro. The costs or environmental conditions (i.e., apartment living) of doing so might make considering SunRun a moot point.

For me, the biggest challenge is all of the unknown costs associated with taking full advantage of all that the Lightning has to offer. The truck, itself, is a handsome bit of coin. On top of that, one may have to upgrade electric service and install hardware to allow for V2H, both of which would add $1000s on top of the cost of the vehicle.
 

frunk

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2021
948
315
77318
Ford is just giving you an option. I have a generac whole house generator so even those I am getting a Platinum I will not be using the truck as a backup put I have that option alone with just running an extension cord off of the truck. No other car company was offering an option like that.
 

pinaz

New member
Jan 4, 2022
6
3
Texas
I want to make sure I understand your messaging, here.
Below is my interpretation of what (limited) information has been provided. I've given names to each option that might not be the correct or official name...

Option: Portable Generator Substitute

Summary: use the V2L power connectors provided (2.4kW/9.6kW)

Connections: installed or mobile EVSE (mobile is provided with all trims) connects to charger port and tops up the vehicle when the grid is running; load connects to the V2L outlets on the vehicle

Advantages:

+ use the equipment available at all trim levels of the F150 Lightning (although the 9.6kW inverter is much more viable than the 2.4kW)

Limitations:

- 120VAC only with 2.4kW, but split-phase 240VAC with 9.6kW (This is based on how I saw the traveling Ford demo wired up.... the 9.6kW seems to be two 120VAC inverters that can operate in parallel for combination of 120VAC and 240VAC loads)

- max power output is limited to 2.4kW/9.6kW (basic house loads, not all home circuits at once)

- swap over is manual (unless it is possible for some 3rd party to come up with an approved solution that is more automated)

- if the grid is down, it is not possible to use solar during the day to offset home usage and/or charge vehicle (it is so frustrating to be without power and yet have solar panels that are doing absolutely nothing because the grid is down)

- electrician needed to add load transfer switch to home (unless you plan to just run extension cords directly to critical items like refrigerators/freezers, etc.)

Unknowns:

- Can you run items on the inverter outlets at the same time as the vehicle is charging? (You wouldn't want to do this for efficiency reasons (since you lose some power when charging and then lose more on top of that with the inverter. When I asked a Ford rep at the traveling demo, they said this was not possible.)

- If you cannot charge the vehicle at the same time as using the power outlets, does that mean the same circuitry is used for both the charger and inverter?


Option: Home Integration System

Summary: buy this optional extra from Ford's approved vendor (SunRun)

Connections: optional Ford Connect Pro plus special equipment connects to the charger port (do the V2L outlets even get used!?)

Advantages:

+ remote control from your smartphone

+ if you spend enough money, use your (SunRun installed?) solar panels to operate your house and charge the vehicle when the grid is down

+ if you spend enough money, SunRun will sell you as big an inverter as you can afford so that you can power your entire house

Limitations:

- undisclosed $1,000s or $10,000s to buy in addition to the vehicle

- not built to an industry standard, so perhaps this is a white elephant specific to the 2022-2024 F150 Lightning (or Ford EVs made in the next X years)?

- SunRun proprietary, so you can choose to have someone else install it, but will they have access to all the information to make it work?

Unknowns:

- Are the DC connectors being used to provide DC power, or is it just to provide the "powerline networking" to directly talk to the vehicle? (If I am not mistaken, the CCS standard for charger-to-vehicle communications is via powerline communications layered on top of the DC connectors. Tesla uses a proprietary CANbus derivative layered on top of the standard Level-1/Level-2 signals... which are done with a Tesla proprietary connector.)

- Are they connecting the vehicle battery DC directly to one of the solar inverter PV string inputs?

- Is the inverter you buy in addition to the solar inverter? (Count the inverters all duplicating effort: one in the vehicle, one for the HIS, one for the solar panels, etc., etc.)

- How much of this is SunRun proprietary, and how much is really existing equipment that they've rigged for an alternate purpose? (In other words, if SunRun goes out of business, what can you do with it?)
 
Last edited:

pinaz

New member
Jan 4, 2022
6
3
Texas
just running an extension cord off of the truck. No other car company was offering an option like that.

Just for completeness and accuracy, the Hyundai Ionic 5 and Kia EV6 do this too. I think there may be Ionic 5 vehicles on the road in the USA before there are the 7-15K 2022 F150 Lightnings. I saw something on the VW ID Buzz (available in November in Europe) having this capability too (since VW will sell a cargo version as there are already several EV cargo vans in Europe).
 
Top