Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) and Ford Motor Company are working together to figure out how the new Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck can provide backup power to customers’ homes in the California utility’s service area.
Earlier this week, PG&E said it would work with General Motors to conduct a similar pilot test of bi-directional charging capabilities to transfer power from the grid to an electric vehicle battery and back in the event of a failure. Last year, the utility had to turn off power to hundreds and thousands of homes and businesses to protect power lines from wildfires during high-risk seasons, so it is working with automakers to find ways to avoid grid congestion.
“Today we see opportunities for success at the intersection of the energy and transportation industries,” said PG&E CEO Patty Pope. “As new electric vehicles and new charging technologies emerge, it is important that we better understand how electric vehicles can interact with the grid and how we can best support our customers.”
Ford announced plans for a Lightning with bi-directional charging capability in May 2021. PG&E says Pickup’s 9.6kW smart standby power, the onboard generator debuted in Lightning, can power homes for up to 10 days during a power outage, depending on home usage. Ford has previously said that it can provide up to three days of full housework on a single full charge.
Ford’s Intelligent Power Backup, which automatically starts powering your home if your Lightning is plugged in during a shutdown and then charges again after a shutdown, was first installed in the spring of 2022. They will be backed by a solar, battery and energy supplier that Sunrun has partnered with Ford to install an 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and a home integration system.
Through an initial deployment in the homes of a small number of customers, PG&E aims to study Ford’s technology and how it connects to the grid and keeps customers resilient during power outages. In addition, both companies plan to explore additional use cases for bi-directional charging technology.