Charging a FORD lightning. Conclusion

For Us, It’ll Cost 18K to Power a House With Our Ford F-150 Lightning

One of the biggest perks of owning an EV is waking up each morning with a full charge. Or at least so I’m told. I’ve been daily-driving MotorTrend’s long-term 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning for a few weeks and haven’t yet been able to install a Level 2 home charger, meaning I’ve been relying exclusively on public chargers. But that isn’t for lack of trying. As it turns out, getting an at-home charger installed—especially if you’re interested in using your Lightning’s Ford Charge Station Pro bidirectional capability to enable both charging your truck and powering your home with the truck—isn’t as easy as it seems. Poor communication and an eye-watering 18,000 estimate have cooled us on what promises to be the next frontier in EV technology.

How To Use the F-150 Lightning To Power Your Home

Ford’s offer of a home charging solution is definitely spendy, but it’s still ingenious; while most EVs simply take electricity from your house and store it in the vehicle’s battery for use on the road, Ford’s system—built in conjunction with solar energy giant Sunrun—also allows you to export power from the F-150 Lightning back into your house during an outage. Dubbed the Home Integration System by Sunrun and Intelligent Backup Power by Ford, the system uses the Ford Charge Station Pro Level 2 charger included with our Lightning extended range and an inverter installed by Sunrun to supply power to your home. Although it was initially intended for power outages, Sunrun and Ford have clear intentions to also use Lightning batteries as virtual powerplants to sell energy back to the grid during periods of high demand. Two pilot projects, one in Northern and Central California with PGE and another in Florida with Duke Energy, are actively trialing such a system.

Setting Your Home Up for Intelligent Backup Power

If this all sounds like it has the potential to be hideously expensive or complex, you’d be correct. Early reports from Lightning customers online hinted as much, and soon after our Lightning arrived, I reached out to Sunrun to see how much it would cost to install Ford’s Charge Station Pro and the Home Integration System in my home—a fairly typical 1950s single-family structure with a detached garage.

The process started simple but devolved from there. Our first call with Sunrun went well. A helpful agent confirmed we were Lightning owners and that we received our Charge Station Pro. She then said the base cost for installing just the Charge Station Pro charger was 450,650, while adding in the Home Integration System would up the cost to 9,400. However, she added, neither cost would include any necessary home upgrades, such as an upgraded electrical panel—something I would surely need considering I have a common 100-amp electrical panel and the Lightning’s charger draws up to 80 amps. A home inspection would determine what upgrades I’d need and my true cost.

Two weeks later (and two days after when they said they’d arrive) a Sunrun tech showed up for an inspection. His site survey was quick. He took a look at my electric panel then took photos of each circuit, the spot in my garage where the charger would go, my central A/C unit, and both the overhead lines feeding my house and my detached garage. He said he suspected my home wouldn’t need any upgrades and was good to go, but he added that a Sunrun electrical engineer would be in contact the following week with more info.

After being ghosted for nearly two weeks, I followed up with Sunrun. The new rep I spoke with told me, The project is currently at stage five, and, Once it hits stage seven, you’ll get a call back to schedule the start of installation. You might be wondering what stage five and stage seven are (and what happened to stage six?). I am, too. I still don’t know. I asked the rep, and he waffled back and forth about what the stages could mean before saying someone who knew more would follow up with me by phone the following week with my quote.

They never did, but two weeks later, I checked my email and found three DocuSign contracts from Sunrun. The first was a quote for the installation of just the Charge Station Pro and Home Integration System: 9,400 due upon completion. A clause on the fourth page notes: We may find that your home requires additional work or upgrades to make it suitable for the Equipment (‘Home Upgrades’). For example, your main electrical panel may need to be upgraded to be able to handle the additional power for the Equipment. If your home needs Home Upgrades, we’ll provide you with written notice.

That’s what the second document entailed. For an extra 7,940, Sunrun would upgrade my 100-amp panel to an unspecified amperage (5,500), relocate some circuits (840), and do some Other Work (450,600—yes, really, Other Work is all the detail Sunrun gave). The document also notes, Additional work (which does not fall within the scope of this document) is also required. This work is listed in the Customer Managed Scope of Work document.

That brings us to document three. This document lists two items outside Sunrun’s scope of work that I must complete before Sunrun installs the system: a trench to bury the overhead line powering my garage and removal of items around electrical and/or gas equipment, which I suspect refers to the small handful of gardening tools leaning against my garage wall where I’d like the charger installed, though I have no way of knowing. I still haven’t heard from Sunrun. Regardless, that’s an estimate of at least 17,340 to give our 80,889 Lightning the ability to power my home in an emergency.

About 1,000 of the F-150 Lightning’s 13,258 new owners have opted for the Home Integration System thus far (according to a Sunrun spokesperson), but we’re not going to be among them. Should we need a workaround to power our home in an emergency, we’ll do what other Lightning owners have done by using the Pro Power Onboard system and a manual transfer switch, effectively turning the Ford into a fancy mobile generator.

How We’re Charging Our F-150 Lightning

Instead, I’m going to be doing what MotorTrend recommends most people do. I’m going to have an electrician upgrade my panel to 200 amps, install a subpanel and NEMA 14-50 outlet in my garage, and plug in a Level 2 charger such as the Wallbox Pulsar Plus we just reviewed (or Ford’s Mobile Power Cord, which also came with our Lightning) into it. Although that won’t be able to power my home in a power outage or charge as quickly as the Charge Station Pro, a 50-amp charger on a NEMA 14-50 outlet should easily top off an average EV battery overnight. It also has the added benefits of being easily replaceable and portable if I move, and it offers the ability to charge plug-in hybrids. (One of the biggest downsides with the Ford Charge Station Pro is its use of a Level 3-style CCS1 plug, which won’t fit in the standard Level 2 J1772 slot that most PHEVs, such as my wife’s Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, use.)

I’ve sourced a quote for the above work from a local electrician I trust, and it comes in at an expensive but still much more palatable 6,000 before any applicable federal, state, or local incentives. While I get my ducks in a row for our charger install, in the meantime I’ll continue to get by on public chargers—a minor inconvenience, but hopefully not for much longer.

Ford F-150 Lightning aerodynamics

Because I was going on a road trip, I thought I’d be able to go a little faster if I made the vehicle a little more aerodynamic. A pickup without a tonneau cover is about as bad as it gets with vehicle aerodynamics, and I thought I could save valuable time (shorter charger stops, driving much faster) if I added one. Ford obliged me, and Pleasantville Ford had a vinyl one installed over a lunch break. They also had the exact vehicle I was driving center stage in the showroom and apparently were selling quite a few of them. (See photo above.)

The F-150 Lightning is also a huge vehicle. Here it is compared to my Model 3 and my garage. For the record, I’d never buy one of these for road trips or for commuting or anything other than as a work truck. But these are the best-selling vehicles in the US, and I don’t think that many people use them only for work.

Ford F-150 Lightning road trip

I left home fully charged with about 284 miles showing on the F-150 Lightning and about 150 miles to the first charging spot in Bloomsburg PA. I drove at about 65-75mph the whole way and was getting pretty similar if slightly worse range than had been predicted. I got a chance to use Blue Cruise, and it worked really well.

Blue Cruise in the F-150 allows you to take your hands off the wheel in Interstate driving situations, and it felt similar to Chevy’s Supercruise – like you are a passenger in the car – as long as you keep your eyes on the road. There is a slight bouncing from side to side in the lanes that happens sometimes, particularly on roads with poor paint. Overall, it was right up there with GM’s Supercruise in terms of hands-off autopilot experience. Changing podcasts on CarPlay or finding a snack in my bag are super easy while on Blue Cruise.

I’d been to Bloomsburg PA before because there is a Tesla Charger at the Ruby Tuesdays right off the highway. Unfortunately, the EA station was over two miles from the highway on a surface street running parallel to the highway.

Luckily, however, it is located at a Sheetz next to an Arby’s, so dinner was on. I arrived with over a third of a full charge, and I could have probably gone safely another 80 miles. I initially got 167kW charge that went up to almost 180kW.

I only stayed at the station for around 22 minutes, which was enough time to get a sandwich in me and enough charge in the Lightning to the next charging station in Dubois, Pennsylvania.

Had I stayed another 10-15 minutes, I could have easily made it to a further 150kW Walmart in Clarion, Pennsylvania, and could have made it to Akron, Ohio, easily from there. I think ABRP had me go to the earlier station because it was a 350kW. But really 150kW station would have given me 90% of the speed I was seeing at both of the 350kW stations. Lesson learned.

I saw a slightly faster speed at the DuBois Walmart (which was also a few miles off the highway), topping out in the 180-190kW range. I stayed there almost a half hour.

I then had to stop at the Sheetz EA in Youngstown to top off. From there, I only needed about 10 minutes of charge to get to my destination in Akron where a Level 2 overnight charge was waiting for me.

Here I had the only EA fault of the trip. (See below.) I actually didn’t have to move the F-150, just grab a plug from a neighboring charge port and bring it over. Back in business.

Generally speaking, EA stations were pretty consistent, and I would see about 170-180kW to start, about 133kW at 50% state of charge, and down to about 115kW at 70% state of charge. I didn’t really ever have to stay anywhere longer than 30 minutes.

Interestingly, the hotel where I stayed had another F-150 Lightning charging where mine was. It was a rare Pro trim and the first Ive seen in the wild.

For the record, we took my mom’s Chevy Bolt to Downtown Cleveland to watch the game (Cleveland won with a walk-off – woo) because I didn’t want to have to park the F-150, though I probably could have.

The next day, I left Akron with a full charge and headed 140 miles toward Detroit. I could have easily made it the whole way but wanted to have some charge for towing the next morning, so I filled up again outside of Toledo.

charging, ford, lightning

Electrek’s take

Yes, you absolutely can take an F-150 Lightning on a road trip.

Is the Lightning the best vehicle for a trip cross country? No. If I was driving a Kia EV6 or a Model 3, the charging stops would have been half as long. It would have required half the energy.

But it was a good experience and will get better as EA and other charger ventures fill those gaps and make picking a charging stop the same as picking a gas station.

As for the chargers, EA with Plug and Charge is as easy as a Tesla and, in many cases, just as fast. I would have liked Chargers closer to the highway, but we’ll get there.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.

A Comparison Table on Charging Cost of Ford Lightning at Home and With A Public Charger in different US states

In this table, we will compare public charging and charging at home in various states of the US. Note that every state’s public station has a different measurement, charging some cost by the hour and some by kWh.

Ford has been out with more than 3 EVs with different battery sizes (of course!), as its size plays a major role in EV charging cost and range. Let’s compare and discuss price differences between various battery sizes.

(Note that 16.93 per kWh average electric cost (per kWh electric cost of new jersey) was kept for measuring, but the figure may vary by each state )

.13 per kWh

450,323.00 Virginia 450 per 40 miles 450,228.92 Washington 4 per hour 450,228.92 Arizona 5000.40 per hour 450,242.64

What Factor Causes the Bill for Ford Lighting F-150 to Rising?

The following factors increase the charging cost of FORD lighting

Size of Battery

Ford’s Extended Range F-150 Lightning has a vast 131 kWh battery pack. The Standard Range models will carry a ‘mere’ 98 kWh battery. Bigger batteries require more energy to charge fully. A Lightning has a 110 kWh battery or 131 kWh in Extended Range. The average electric passenger car has about 88 kWh. Bigger batteries are like giant gas tanks. It costs more money to fill them up.


The efficiency of the Standard-Range models is at 76 MPGe city and 61 MPGe highway, whereas the F-150 Lightning Extended-Range for up to 78 MPGe city and 63 MPGe highway; as we can see, the standard range models are slightly less efficient.

The “MPGe” is miles per gallon. It is a good measuring tool for comparing EVs with IC. It works on how much power is in a gallon of gasoline.

Highway MPGe is an average of how much a car will drive on an open stretch of road without stopping, and City MPGe is a car driving in city conditions, i.e., stopping and slowing.

EPA can figure out the efficiencies of EVs by the MPGe. Ford lightning has terrible fuel economy, even though it’s a bit better in its extended version.

The F-150 Lightning ER has an efficiency of 2.1 miles per kWh, so it needs a larger battery to enable its 320-mile range and a halfway-decent range while towing.

Size of the EV

It’s a truck, so it uses more electricity than a car because of bearing a larger battery; thus, it needs more electricity to charge. Though powerful electric motors can be a drain on an EV’s efficiency, the main issue at play here is size. Because the Ford F-150 Lightning is a full-size pickup truck, the automaker has equipped it with powerful motors and large batteries. Both are necessary because the extra power allows the F-150 Lightning to tow 10,000 pounds, and its massive 131.0-kWh Extended Range battery pack gives the truck up to 320 miles of range.

It’s Not an Aerodynamic Design

Ford lightning lacks an efficient aerodynamic shape. For details, Ford decided to make an EV truck that looks just like a gasoline truck with the aerodynamics of a “brick.” They chose not to try a more efficient model with a newer and more aerodynamic design. But the new Ford EV Truck still has better efficiency than its fuel counterpart due to its EV design. For reference, the side view mirrors on my Ford F-250 take as much energy to push through the air as an entire Aptera EV.

So The energy required to move a tall, 3-ton vehicle, with the aerodynamics of a brick 100 miles is the same whether it has an electric motor or an engine, and it’s a lot less than the energy required to move a low, 1.5-ton, a sleek car with good aerodynamic 100 miles instead.

How to Optimize Charging Cost (5 Ways)

Even though the cost of Ford F-150 charging is expensive but is not a worry that can not be handled. Here are a few tips you can save some money from charging costs:

charging, ford, lightning

Tire Pressure

Plays an essential road in an EV. An underinflated tire will increase rolling resistance and consume more energy than a correctly inflated one. Be sure to check the recommended pressure required for your tires. To avoid losing energy, keep your tire at recommended tire pressure by FORD. Ford recommends 35psi for everyday driving. What gives you a comfortable ride around 35 psi is enough.

Plan Your Trips

Scheduling your trips can save you energy. You can use more charge when you take off in your truck with a cold motor. So if you run your errands in one voyage out, your motor will be warm and save you time and money.

Remove Heavy Cargo in Your Trunk

Using your truck to store your last ski trip equipment and other non-essential items? The extra weight will reduce your MPG. Remove unnecessary items and save money from your

Use Cruise Control

FORD has the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) series. You set a standard cruising speed and distance from the vehicle ahead of you. Driving at a steady speed on highways will help save charge, so Lock your speed through ACC. Keep in mind that charge mileage usually declines when driving over 50 MPH.

Switch to Solar,

And lastly, they always recommended one switch to solar power. Solar power is free of cost and an investment, especially on vehicles where the main issue is extra charge consumption. Investing in solar panels for your EV charging is very recommended and saving for a long time.

ChargePoint Home Flex – Level 2 EV Charging Station (16-50 Amp)

Let’s look at the first Ford F150 Home EV Charger which is the ChargePoint Home Flex. If the Ford F150 is the best-selling pick-up truck in the world, then its match would the this charger.

The ChargePoint can output up to 50 Amps of electrical current and 12 kW of power. You can plug it into a NEMA 14-50 or a NEMA 6-50 outlet. Now it is important to know that the standard range F-150 has an 11.3 kWh on-board charger which means that it will max out at this value, so if you drive the standard-range battery version there is no point in getting a faster charger than this one. The extended-range battery F-150 is has a 19.2 kWh on-board charger which means that it can take larger amounts of power.

Either way, let’s assume you’ll be using the ChargePoint, how long will it take to charge the thing? The standard F-150 lightning electric comes with a 98 kWh battery pack. Now it would take this particular charger running at 48 Amps about 10 hours to fully charge it from 1% to 100% which means if you plug in when you go to sleep, by the time you go to work you’ll have it fully charged.

But what about the extended-range? That one has a 131kW battery pack and should take about 13 hours to charge. So if you plug it in when you get home at about 8 in the evening, by the time you leave for work you’ll have it fully charged. Regardless which version of the Ford Lightning you drive, this charger will do the job and get it fully prepped for you the next day.

This charger is fully compatible with the F-150’s charge port because it uses a 23 ft long charging cable with a J1772 connector to charge the Ford F-150.

This is a Smart Wi-Fi-enabled EV charger, so you can connect to it using the ChargePoint app on your smartphone and remote control it, start it or stop it whenever you want and even communicate to it by using your voice. You can ask it more complex questions like “How much have I spent on charging my EV this month?”. Not only that but you can detailed reports of all the times you charged your F-150 and how much you spent and the time it took.

The Chargepoint app is also the same one that you can use to access their public charging network with an estimated 170,000 public charge stations.

The ChargePoint is only NEMA 3R rated so it is fair to say it doesn’t match the f-150 lightning’s toughness and this is why this charger is better suited for indoor installation. It does come with a 3-Year warranty which is also backed up by 24/7 customer support.

Wallbox Pulsar Plus – Level 2 EV Charging Station (48 Amp, 11 kW)

The next Ford F-150 Lightning Home Charger we’ll be looking at is the Wallbox Pulsar Plus. This particular home charging station comes in 2 versions, a 40-Amp and a 48-Amp but we’ll be focusing on the 48-Amp here because it can match the Ford’s on-board charging power.

It can output 48 Amps of electrical current and up to 11.5 kW. It doesn’t come with a NEMA wall connector, instead you can only hardwire it, which makes perfect sense since on a 14-50 outlet it can only reach 40 Amps because of the 20% rule. So in order to take advantage of its full power, it is best you hook it to a 60-Amp circuit breaker.

The charging times for this model are virtually the same as the ChargePoint because they can output an almost identical amount of power, so regardless of which one you decide to buy, you can be sure that both will get your electric pickup truck charged overnight.

The Wallbox has 2 special features, the first one being the ability to do power sharing which means if you have 2 of these hooked to the same circuit, then they’ll communicate with each other and split the available power amongst them so they don’t overload it. The other feature works if you have solar panels mounted on your roof because you can tell it to only charge your electric F-150 when there is excess power being produced by them or set a ratio of grid-to-solar energy that fits your preference.

There’s also the Wallbox smartphone app which is similar to the one you get on the ChargePoint with the same kind of functionality, real-time data and past charging logs to show you how much you’re spending on your electric car plus voice control.

Now the Wallbox is much better suited for outdoor installation than the ChargePoint because it is IP54-rated, meaning that it is waterproof. It too comes with a 3-Year warranty. The charge cord is 25 ft long and it uses a J1772 connector.

Grizzl-E Classic Charger – Level 2 EV Charging Station (16-40 Amp)

The Grizzl-E is the next Ford F-150 EV Home charger which we’ll be looking at and if there is one charger that can best represent the F-150’s toughness, resilience and ease of use it is this one.

This is a no fuss, no Smart features charger which focuses on a key aspect: toughness and durability. This device is IP67 rated meaning it is waterproof to the extent that you can immerse it in water and it will still continue to work perfectly after that. So if you have to install your charger outside in the freezing winter or rainy march then this is your charger.

It is a 40-Amp charger which will output up to 9.6 kW and can be plugged into a NEMA 14-50 or 6-50 outlet or just hardwired directly to the circuit. This means it’s not as powerful as the other ones, however it will charge the standard version in about 11.5 hours and the extended-range in about 15 hours. So you just need to plug in when you get home and in the morning you will have more than enough miles of range to get where you want to go.

There are multiple versions of this FORD F-150 lightning charging station. The one we presented here is the Classic edition which has no Smart features. There’s also the Grizzl-E Duo which is perfectly suited for when you want to charge two of these electric trucks since it comes with two charging cables attached to it.

Then there is the Grizzl-E Smart which does have Smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity. On one hand it comes with a really poorly designed smartphone app which needs to be updated but on the other hand it is OCPP-compliant which other chargers are not. This means you can basically use it with any app that uses this specific protocol. This is highly encouraged since it can lead to a better user experience overall. All of these editions come with a 3-Year warranty.

Mustart – Level 2 Portable EV Charger (40 Amp)

The final F-150 charger we’ll be looking at is the Mustart Level 2 Portable. The reason we chose this is because while the previous charging stations have to be installed, you only need to plug this one into a 240V 14-50 or 6-50 outlet and you’re done. You can take it wherever you need to go with you, it only weighs 6.3kg.

It can deliver 40 Amps of current and 9.60 kW of power, so you will essentially get the same charging speed as with the Grizzl-E. And just like it, there are no Smart features, just an LCD showing you the charging status and some basic info together with a button to cycle through the Amps and one to set a charging timer delay.

The control box is IP65 rated, the cable is about 25 feet long and it comes with a 2-Year warranty.

Leave a Comment