December 1, 2022

The Ford F-150 Lightning has just barely arrived on the market, yet I’ve already heard a few stories of the Lightning powering people’s needs in the event of power outages. The first I heard about was up in Michigan, and we’ve got a whole podcast coming on that F-150 Lightning owner’s experience as well as his commentary on owning the Mustang Mach-E, driving with Ford BlueCruise, and more. Incidentally, he and I were on a webinar that was recorded during Hurricane Ian. I was upstairs in our townhouse as strong hurricane winds began to strike us, and I expected the power to go out at any moment. This F-150 Lightning owner, Aaron Smith, who is also a CleanTechnica reader and President of the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA), joked that I could use a Lightning during Hurricane Ian — and believe me, I was thinking the same!! As it turned out, we didn’t lose electricity until about 90% of our county and 100% of our neighboring county had lost electricity within our utility district, and I made it all the way through the hour-and-a-half webinar! (We ended up losing electricity for just ~16 hours starting later in the evening.) As we’ll see below, a Ford F-150 Lightning did help one Florida man and his family ride out the storm. Before we get to that story, though, if you want to watch that aforementioned webinar, here it is:

The F-150 Lightning owner who used his Lightning when his power was out is Westley Aaron Ferguson. He used his electric Ford pickup truck to power his and his family’s refrigerator, lights, fans, TV, electric stove burner, record player, and speakers — and probably more.

As the picture on the bottom right shows, the battery was still at 95% charge and the AC inside the truck was set to 69°F.

The pictures are almost out of an ad for Ford. At first, I wondered if he had used Ford market pictures. Though, it turns out he is a photographer and Associate Creative Director at Elegant Seagulls, with clients ranging from ESPN to Netflix to Airbnb.

Westley also brought us back in time a bit, or at least used technology some of us remember from the 2000s, 1990s, and perhaps even earlier to enjoy some entertainments during the storm without WiFi.

Westley even had some time to call out some counterproductive and misinformed anti-EV fear-mongering during the hurricane.

Also see: “Tesla Model X In ‘Boat Mode’ Escapes Hurricane Ian Floodwaters.”

A Ford exec was happy to join in on the fun as well and offered a little pun in response to Westley’s tweet.

Hehe — clever.

One person asked how long Westley thought he’d be able to run his house on the Lightning, a question many were surely wondering. Naturally, not knowing how long they’d be without power (it could be hours or it could be days or weeks), the most logical thing was to only use the Lightning to power essentials. Also, Westley did not have the vehicle-to-home (V2H) setup Ford is offering in partnership with Sunrun. As you can see below, though, they used ~10% of the truck’s power in one day, so he assumed they could have used the truck like that for 8–9 days if the grid power had stayed out that long.

In the end, he just had to use the truck to power their electric stove, fridge, fans, lights, and entertainment for two days. The truck surely must have felt priceless in those days, though!

Looking at Westley’s Twitter timeline, just a couple of days before Hurricane Ian hit, he was having plenty of fun with the young F-150 Lightning in other ways. He got plenty of double-takes at the airport when loading up the giant Mega Frunk with luggage …

… and he went back to the future against a DeLorean on his way to Universal Studios in Orlando.

What a week! With his luck, and his photography skills, we’ll have to check in with Westley down the road to see what other kinds of adventures he gets into with his Lightning!


 

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