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Some Electrons Between Friends: Ford Vehicle-to-Vehicle Charging

Ford Vehicle-to-Vehicle ChargingFord F-150 Lightning charging a Mach-E with its Pro Power Onboard system; (photo/Ford)
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Ford is the first to market with a vehicle-to-vehicle charging solution. But Ford’s Pro Power Onboard system doesn’t stop there.

The 138kWh battery pack in the new Ford F-150 Lightning does more than run the pickup for up to 300 miles. Like the gas-powered F-150 Lightning, the battery-electric vehicle comes with the built-in Pro Power Onboard system. This allows the truck to serve as a mobile generator.

That means the truck — among other things — can provide power to a home, work, or campsite. And the Pro Power system can also function as a mobile charger for other hybrids and battery-electric vehicles.

“There are hundreds of benefits to Ford Pro Power Onboard — and we’ve added one more,” said Patrick Soderborg, Ford e-powertrain systems engineer.

“Taking power on the road or having extra energy at home brings a lot of convenience and security, and using the F-150 Lightning or F-150 hybrid to top off a friend’s electric vehicle or help them during an outage is one of the many new benefits our customers gain from our Built Ford Tough electrified trucks.”

The then-new F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid quite literally generated plenty of buzz last winter when owners were able to use the feature to provide power to their homes during a freak Texas ice storm.

The system can pump out both 120V and 240V currents. And users have a choice of 7.2kW or 9.6kW levels of power. That’s enough to run a large refrigerator and other home appliances and lighting during a blackout.

And, during a demo the automaker staged last spring, it showed how the F-150 Lighting could deliver enough current to keep a truckload of tools operating in the field.

Ford Vehicle-to-Vehicle Charging

Ford mobile power cord

Now, Ford is expanding the capabilities of the Pro Power system by offering the new Mobile Power Cord charger. It can provide Level 2 240V current to another battery-electric vehicle, such as a Ford Mustang Mach-E, that might have drained its battery pack. The system can transfer anywhere from 10 to 20 miles of range per hour. Factors in the variance include the vehicle being charged.

The Lightning can be programmed to stop working as a generator when its own battery drops below a predetermined level. That way, you won’t do someone a favor while draining your truck’s battery. With the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid’s gas-electric drivetrain, an owner could keep generating current as long as there’s gas in the tank.

The Mobile Power Cord uses an SAE J1772 charge power — an industry-standard connector found on virtually all of today’s plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles for 240V Level 2 charging. So the F-150 models can provide a helping hand to most of the electrified vehicles on the road.

Ford Vehicle-to-Vehicle Charging

Power Everything With Your Vehicle

It’s becoming increasingly common for BEVs to offer “vehicle-to-load,” or V2L, capabilities, providing power for appliances, lights, or tools. That’s one of the features Hyundai is promoting for its new Ioniq 5 all-electric SUV.

But Ford’s battery-electric truck is the first that can charge up another electrified vehicle. That said, several other manufacturers are hinting they will add similar capabilities to their new battery-electric vehicles in the near future.

All told, the number of BEVs on the market is expected to quadruple over the next 12 months. That includes the F-150 Lightning, which currently is scheduled to begin production by around June. Initial interest in the truck has been so strong that Ford has doubled production capacity while also temporarily halting reservations.

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