Ford and Kia EVs keep lights on after California earthquake

Ford and Kia EVs keep lights on after California earthquake

A Ford F150 Lightning and a Kia Niro EV powered a Northern California car dealership after a recent earthquake.

Electric vehicles with on-board technology were brought to local dealerships to replenish power after a major earthquake in Northern California damaged and damaged infrastructure earlier this week. Harper Motors, a dealership based in Eureka, California, announced on their Facebook page that the 2 EVs will allow them to stay in business and serve customers, AutoEvolution reports.

The 6.4-magnitude quake that struck Humboldt County was a devastating force that has so far killed two people and injured countless others, according to CNN. However, thanks to electric vehicles with on-board technology, companies and emergency services don’t have to go completely offline after the event.

Ford and Hyundai/Kia have led the charge on vehicle-to-load technology in recent years, adding it to countless vehicles, including the Genesis G80 EV, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Ford F150 Lightning, to name a few. Ford has taken its technology even further, allowing customers to use their F150 Lightings as home backup generators, and more legacy brands are following with their offerings in the near future.

This is far from the first time electric and electrified vehicles have been used to aid people after environmental disasters. Last year, Ford sent a group of Ford F150s with vehicle-to-load equipment to Western Kentucky after a massive tornado hit the state. And more recently, as a cold weather front has advanced across the United States, numerous people are counting on their EVs to keep their houses powered and warm during this holiday season.

During emergencies like the one seen in Northern California this week, the strengths of electric vehicles are on full display. And in turn, customers and automakers alike are seeing just how powerful a tool vehicle-to-load and vehicle-to-grid technology can be.

Hopefully, helpful features like V2L can help customers move toward electric vehicles in the coming years and can, in turn, lead to a cleaner and more sustainable transportation system for everyone. And with even more EVs coming to market in the new year, car buyers will have more choices than ever.

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Many Americans scoff at electric vehicles, but they sometimes could prove live saviors. This is because, besides being vehicles powered by batteries, they are essentially giant power banks on wheels. Thanks to a feature called “vehicle-to-load” (V2L), many electric vehicles selling today can power external devices, charge other cars or act as an energy source for homes and businesses.

The feature is offered on the Ford F-150 Lightning and other popular EVs like Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Kia Niro, and Volkswagen ID.4, but not on any Tesla model selling today. Tesla thinks protecting its Powerwall business is more important than offering V2L capabilities on its vehicles. Tesla also argues that using the car as a house battery will accelerate wear, reducing its life. True as it might be, there are now electric vehicles that are even cheaper than house battery packs, one example being the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

The V2L feature was put to good use by a car dealership in North Eureka after an earthquake that struck North California left the community without power. The dealership sells new and used Ford and Kia vehicles and saved the day by plugging in an F-150 Lightning and a Kia Niro to provide backup power and continue serving the community. There’s no better advertising for the electric vehicles it was selling than sharing the experience on social media.

This is a little more than a PR stunt like those pulled off by Ford whenever it wants to advertise F-150 Lightning’s bidirectional charging. This move has grown so long in the tooth that people are already making jokes. It’s a sure thing, wherever and whenever Ford holds a presentation about the F-150 Lightning, power will go out to allow the electric truck to prove its capabilities.

Stunt or not, the fact that you can help continue working when the power is out is incredibly useful. Three months ago, a surgeon successfully performed a vasectomy while powering his medical equipment from his Rivian R1T truck. The surgery was performed after the power was cut, and the patient insisted that the doctor go ahead despite the odds.

There are countless situations when an EV battery is a godsend, and that’s why some of them are built with house plugs. This is the case with the Ford F-150 Lightning, which can provide up to 9.6 kW of power across 11 outlets thanks to the Pro Power Onboard feature. Ford PR was so effective in this case that people regularly use the F-150 Lightning as backup power, including in emergencies.

A Ford F-150 Lightning and a Kia Niro put their vehicle-to-load feature to work.
Earlier this week, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook Northern California and left about 70 percent of the homes and businesses without electricity. But one dealership managed to keep the lights on with help from a couple of EVs.

Harper Motors, which has operated in Humboldt County since 1912 and sells both new and used cars, including EVs, posted two photos on its Facebook page showing how it managed to stay open for business during the blackout.

Using the vehicle-to-load (V2L) feature of a Ford F-150 Lightning and Kia Niro EV, the North Eureka dealership had plenty of power for their showroom and parts department. “Powered by a Niro EV and F150 Lightning, we are open for sales, and parts if you need us,” wrote the business on its Facebook page.

The Ford F-150 Lightning’s V2L function is called Pro Power Onboard and it can provide up to 9.6 kW of power from a total of 11 outlets, including four 120V outlets in the front trunk and a 240V outlet in the bed of the truck.

The Kia Niro offers up to 1.8 kW of power from its front charging port or rear trunk, but only if the car is specced in its top “wave” trim level.
After a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Northern California, thousands were left without power. One dealership in North Eureka found a unique solution by plugging in two of its electric vehicles – a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Kia Niro – to stay open.

Electric vehicles keep CA dealership open after earthquake
Residents in Northern California’s Eureka area woke up early Tuesday morning after a severe earthquake shook the region, damaging homes and leaving tens of thousands of residents without electricity.

Humbolt County sheriff’s office posted on Twitter, saying, “Magnitude 6.4 #earthquake 14 miles from Fortuna. Power is out across the county,” as most homes and businesses were without electricity.

One local dealership in North Eureka, Harper Motors, had just the solution. The dealership stocks new (and used) Ford and Kia vehicles, including popular electric vehicles like the:

F-150 Lightning pickup truck
Mustang Mach-E
E-Transit van
Niro EV
Harper utilized the powerful EV batteries as a backup energy source to keep the business running after the earthquake. The dealership posted on their Facebook a photo of Harper “tapping into” a Ford F-150 Lightning and Kia Niro EV for power, saying, “we are open for sales and parts if you need us.”

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