Some of the power of EVs lies in those massive batteries – something Ford has already pitched as a whole house backup generator in emergencies. Ford’s FordPass app already allows F-150 Lightning owners to manage how much of their battery is made available during outages and notifies them when a switchover occurs.
But why stop there? Most of us commute with a predictable daily battery usage – we could allow the remaining charge to work part-time as a home power source. The batteries could charge overnight when electricity rates are lowest, then discharge during periods of peak demand reducing demand on the grid during snow storms or heat waves, all while offering homeowners a lower monthly bill.
As we shift to EVs we’re moving to a world where many US households have giant batteries that could enable many untapped opportunities for them to become crucial resilience assets when we need them most. As we build out a modern renewable energy grid mixing batteries, solar power, and other sources, our cars can play a key role – an opportunity that utilities could leverage by helping EV homeowners install two-way chargers.
In a year where states like Texas face winter and summer rolling blackouts, which are becoming more common with climate change, we should explore ways our homes can better support demand response when the grid is maxed out. For example, the average US home uses about 33 kWh of electricity per day—so a Ford F-150 Lightning with a standard 98 kWh usable capacity (the long-range trucks have 131 kWh in usable capacity) could hypothetically power a home like normal for over 3 days. A Tesla Model 3 with a usable capacity of 57.5 kWh would last around 1.5 days. Add in solar panels, additional batteries, or a household with two EVs and it’s easy to imagine homes resilient enough to weather prolonged outages, and I would much rather be the house at the end with AC and the lights on.