On May 19, 2021, Ford Motor Company unveiled the new, all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck for model year 2022.
The gas-powered F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the last 30 years, and the best-selling truck in the USA for the last 44 years.
For comparison, here are the four top-selling vehicles in the United States in 2020:
1. Ford F-150 pickup: 787,422 units sold
2. Chevy Silverado pickup: 586,675 units sold
3. Dodge Ram pickup: 563,676 units sold
4. Toyota RAV4 SUV: 430,387 units sold
The fact that Ford has taken its best-selling model and created a fully electric version of it is a huge indicator that Ford Motor is 100% invested in the future of electric transportation — and solar power customers will reap the rewards.
What Makes the F-150 Stand Out From Other Electric Vehicles?
Unlike other car manufacturers that make a new, differentiated model — like the Nissan Leaf — the all-electric Ford F-150 has similar styling and appeal to the gas-powered model.
This means the electric truck will appeal to current F-150 drivers — even drivers who might not traditionally have an interest in green technology or electric vehicles.
The F-150 Lightning has different battery options, ranging from a 230-mile range battery package for $39,000 to a 300-mile range battery for $49,000. This means that the new Lightning is priced at the same level as the gas-powered F-150.
The pricing is significant because in the past, electric or hybrid versions of existing models have been priced as much as $10,000 more, representing a barrier to entry for budget-conscious car and truck buyers.
For instance, a new plug-in Chevy Volt costs $34,000, while a new gas-powered Chevy Cobalt of a similar size is $22,000.
The all-electric Ford Lightning also has the capability of feeding power from the truck back to the charging location, so your electric F-150 can provide backup power for your home when the power grid goes down.
Since Tampa Bay Solar installs battery back-up solutions tied to solar, the team loves the flexibility of the new F-150 Lightning. The team has been watching solar and electric vehicle technology converge since 2010, and the F-150 Lightning is the first of many electric vehicles that will feed power back to the grid.
Why Solar Power and Ford F-150s Are a Powerful Combo
As battery technology continues to improve, it makes sense to use electric vehicles as a mobile energy storage source as well. The F-150 Lightning will be able to charge up from the grid and solar, and will also be able to discharge energy back to the grid as needed ( for example during a long-term power outage).
Battery backup solutions work hand-in-hand with solar during long-term blackouts, caused by hurricanes, for example. The solar array will recharge the battery every morning, as the sun rises.
Expect to see more homes equipped with some form of autonomous energy production from solar by 2030, in addition to the grid. These homes will also have a battery backup in house, married to the energy storage in their electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles can help mitigate excess energy storage challenges, too: We might see cars plugged into the grid at a workplace during the day, then discharging back to the grid at home each night.
Plus, with millions of electric cars plugged into the power grid — in addition to rooftop solar on millions of homes — it’s possible to end blackouts and brownouts. With solar charging the grid during the daytime, and electric cars powering the grid if there is a blackout at night, customers can retain around-the-clock energy.
As global electric vehicle production ramps up, the cost of batteries will go down, and the next generation of solid-state batteries will further decrease the current cost of lithium ion technology.
The new electric F-150 moves the needle closer to a fully electric transportation infrastructure, and just as the gas-powered F-150 has been a best seller for 44 years, it’s likely we could see the F-150 Lightning become one of the top-selling electric vehicles here in the United States.
What Makes Tampa Bay Solar the Ideal Partner
Tampa Bay Solar has 11 years of experience building off-grid solar combined with battery storage solutions. The founder, Steve Rutherford, has lived in a home that is totally off grid, with zero utility connection, since 2018. Prior to founding Tampa Bay Solar, Steve built off-grid solar and battery systems on several military bases in Afghanistan while serving in the Navy.
One way that Tampa Bay Solar is different from larger national installers is that its local team is very comfortable doing custom work. From ground-based solar arrays, solar tracking systems, solar pergolas, solar carports, unique roof types and battery systems, Tampa Bay Solar has experience with them all. And, you get the additional benefit of speaking to the actual folks who did the install, for years to come.
Most of Tampa Bay Solar’s current clients have a grid-tied solar array that is connected to the local electric company, via net metering. These systems are the most cost effective, and storage solutions can be added to any grid-tied solar array when battery prices decrease.
Most employees at Tampa Bay Solar drive electric vehicles and have solar panels installed on their roofs. They use solar panels on their roofs to fuel their vehicles, mainly because it saves hundreds of dollars per month in energy costs. The solar on their rooftops has also increased the value of their home — and as more homeowners purchase electric vehicles, they are far more likely to buy their next home if it already has solar panels installed.
Tampa Bay Solar is currently building a new headquarters in east Tampa that will be totally off grid and autonomous; solar panels on the roof, a large battery bank and charging stations for electric vehicles, etc. When the new facility is completed, it will give potential clients a chance to see this technology in use in real life, within a corporate structure.
If you want to learn more about your solar options and your specific energy needs, contact the Tampa Bay Solar team. The installers are highly trained and well versed on all sustainability options, and in ten minutes, they can give you some preliminary information that will point you in the right direction.