Ford’s new electric F-150 pickup truck doubles as a power source for your work site, campsite or home in an emergency

Camilia Domonoske at

Eleven built-in outlets allow drivers to run multiple power tools at a work site or kitchen appliances at a campsite. (The new hybrid F-150 offers a similar feature.)

And when it’s plugged in at home and the power goes out, the Lightning can automatically send electricity back into your home, keeping the lights on for days, Ford says. That potential selling point may be particularly appealing just months after devastating storms in Texas caused prolonged blackouts, which [Ford CEO Jim] Farley explicitly referenced during the unveiling.

This kind of bidirectional flow of power has always been a hypothetical advantage of electric vehicles — when they aren’t actively driving, they’re giant, charged-up batteries. But for most current electric vehicle owners, it’s not easy to access that energy.

Ford isn’t the only automaker that wants to change that. Hyundai and Kia are also marketing bidirectional charging as a feature of their new electric vehicles.