Ford Motor will collaborate with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in California to evaluate the bidirectional charging capabilities of the electric F-150 Lightning to power homes and return energy to the power grid.
Ford CEO Jim Farley and PG&E CEO Patti Poppe announced the plans Thursday night at the CERAWeek energy conference in Texas.
Bidirectional charging involves an EV’s ability to return energy to a home or the power grid, a reverse of the home and grid charging the vehicle. The EVs can charge at night when rates are low and potentially provide energy back to the grid during peak hours. That would allow customers to save money on their electricity bill and create less strain on the grid.
Ford’s announcement differs from GM’s because it is “the first-to-market enablement of a Ford F-150 Lightning EV and bidirectional charging system,” a company spokeswoman said.
The F-150 Lightning — due out this spring — already has the capability to power a home in the event of a power outage, according to the company. Ford calls it “Intelligent Backup Power.”
Through the early adopter program, PG&E will explore how Ford’s technology interconnects with the electric grid and customer’s homes, the company said.
The first use of F-150 Lightning’s backup power is expected to begin in spring, supported by Sunrun Inc. as the automaker’s preferred installation partner.