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Can Millions of New Ford F-150 Trucks Become a Clean-Energy Storage Grid?

Frank McCamant's picture
Principal McCamant Consulting LLC

McCamant Consulting, owned by Frank McCamant, is a business and strategy development partner for organizations involved in energy resource management and smart grid development. Based in Austin...

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  • Jun 1, 2021
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“ And just one week after Joe Biden took his dazzle-camouflaged lap around a Dearborn, Michigan, track, Ford has received 70,000 preorders for its first-ever all-electric F-150 Lightning. To give a sense of how absolutely game-changing that figure is, consider this: If Ford ends up shipping all those preorders, they would equal one-fourth of the total number of all EVs sold last year. So the F-150 Lightning is much more than just an electric version of a very popular car; it’s the first viable electric vehicle for a huge number of Americans. ”

 

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Frank McCamant's picture
Frank McCamant on May 29, 2021

“ And just one week after Joe Biden took his dazzle-camouflaged lap around a Dearborn, Michigan, track, Ford has received 70,000 preorders for its first-ever all-electric F-150 Lightning. To give a sense of how absolutely game-changing that figure is, consider this: If Ford ends up shipping all those preorders, they would equal one-fourth of the total number of all EVs sold last year. So the F-150 Lightning is much more than just an electric version of a very popular car; it’s the first viable electric vehicle for a huge number of Americans. ”

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 1, 2021

It shows the powerful need to tap into cultural/societal pockets-- you have to imagine many of these pre-orders came from people who had no interest in an electric sedan, but seeing the pure benefits to a truck driver of the Lightning had them immediately reconsidering!

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jun 1, 2021

Frank, Thanks for a very timely article. As you know many new electric trucks will be coming out. The Rivian will be the 1st. Alsobthe Tesla Semi and cyber truck. There are also many others. 

   The FORD Lightning will be out in 2022. I have read it will need an external inverter and other equipment to actually provide V2G, Vehicle to GRID.  Have you head the same about it power for your home or small business? 

Frank McCamant's picture
Frank McCamant on Jun 2, 2021

Correct: "Ford has announced a partnership with industry leader Sunrun to provide an inverter — plus the option to install solar panels — allowing energy stored locally to flow back and forth from the car to the home. But the possibilities become broader for the F-150 with the installation of a bidirectional charger that allows energy to flow between the car and the home and also back onto the grid, what’s known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) integration."

Mike Casey's picture
Mike Casey on Jun 2, 2021

V2G and V2H are both very exciting developments. I have a 20 kW battery at home for both load management and backup (I live in an area subject to PSPS). My EV has a 64 kWh battery. If I could integrate this into my residential "minimicrogrid" it would quadruple my backup capacity.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 2, 2021

Do you have any concerns about what V2G/V2H might mean for your vehicle's battery health? Or is the idea that this would be rarer of an occurrence (i.e., during a PSPS) that it would be worth it for when it's needed? 

Mike Casey's picture
Mike Casey on Jun 2, 2021

Definitely a valid concern. I don't believe that my Hyundai is designed for that kind of use. However, if the manufacturer has engineered their battery and charging system for V2G/V2H, and such use is covered by a good warranty, I probably wouldn't be too concerned.

Mike Casey's picture
Mike Casey on Jun 3, 2021

While I'm a strong supporter of EVs, I'm a little concerned about the advent of the EV pickup. There are lots of ICE pickup drivers here in SoCal (seemingly more so since the beginning of the pandemic) who seem to drive as if there's no speed limit, and everybody else is just in their way. The prospect of a bunch of 6500 lb, 563 HP trucks capable of 0-60 in four seconds, coming up behind me at 95 mph is enough to give me second thoughts about even entering the freeway.

Dudley McFadden's picture
Dudley McFadden on Jun 8, 2021

Indeed, such behavior is very much part of the truck culture, which is fine.  That's a lifestyle choice, freely made.  Not just a mere majority, but nearly every purchaser of a four-door F-150 uses it for urban driving.  Most small construction business owners need cargo space, not the back seat.  Anyway, again, this is fine for our country but for the fact that these vehicles consume vastly more energy than a sedan does to go the same distance.  I have no animosity toward anyone, but clearly these Americans prioritize other aspects of our culture over energy conservation and green living.  Let's just be clear on that point.  So, given that, why would such good folks elect to arise on a winter's morning ready to start the day, facing a battery-depleted truck which is not ready to start?  I wish there was an Energy Central contributor able to address why someone would prefer to deplete their EV battery at night rather than recharge it?

Peter Farley's picture
Peter Farley on Jun 9, 2021

There are a number of issues here,

Firstly you will set limits on how much the vehicle battery can be used. For example if you park it and it is only 30-40% full you could allow little or no battery use. Even if it is recharged and you have a big day planned for the next day you can limit the discharge to zero or 20-30% so no-one needs to wake up to an empty battery.

Second the V2G capacity will not be used every night and for many customers only a few times a year, just like peaking gas plants now which average less than 4% utilisation so the effect on battery life will be minimal

Third. battery degradation is partially related to the rate of charge/discharge, so full charging can be 150-330kW, full acceleration 500kW. Most V2G applications will be be between 2 and 20kW so there is no danger of thermal stress on the battery

Fourth, while a battery can be cycled too often, they can also be cycled too little. Cycling the battery slowly from 80% down to 50% and back up to 80% over 8 hours can in lightly used vehicles actually prolong battery life  

 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 9, 2021

Second the V2G capacity will not be used every night and for many customers only a few times a year, just like peaking gas plants now which average less than 4% utilisation so the effect on battery life will be minimal

I think this is the key point. When there are peaker plants used so seldomly, that amounts to a great cost per MWh of actual generation used. It can be much more affordable and resource efficient to tap into energy storage out across the grid like in EVs. And for any concerns of battery life degradation, that's where the economic incentive for these EV owners will have to be set just right to justify it for them-- otherwise all drivers will naturally opt out (which all will of course have the option to do 100% of the time, so anyone worried about the issues mentioned will be able to avoid completely)

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