How an F-150 Lightning kept the lights on at a CA dealership after a major earthquake

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
  • EV6
  • 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.”

Ford and Kia’s electric vehicles come equipped with bidirectional charging capabilities or vehicle-to-grid (V2G), allowing you to send energy from the EVs battery to power external devices like home appliances, a campsite, or in Harper Motor’s case, to continue serving customers after a major earthquake.

The Ford F-150 Lightning comes with what it calls Pro Power Onboard, providing up to 9.6 kW of power across 11 outlets, including four 120V outlets in the Frunk and a 240V in the bed. Ford Lightning drivers have used their EVs to provide mobile power during a flood and power home essentials during a 155 mph hurricane. The electric pickup was even used to power up a movie set deep in the woods (powering everything down to the production’s coffee maker).

Meanwhile, the Kia Niro EV top “wave” trim comes with Vehicle-to-load (V2L), allowing for up to 1.8 kW of power from either the front charging port or rear trunk area.

New Kia and Hyundai vehicles like the IONIQ 5 and EV6 based on the E-GMP platform will also come with V2L functions.

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Avatar for Peter Johnson Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is covering the auto industry’s step-by-step transformation to electric vehicles. He is an experienced investor, financial writer, and EV enthusiast. His enthusiasm for electric vehicles, primarily Tesla, is a significant reason he pursued a career in investments. If he isn’t telling you about his latest 10K findings, you can find him enjoying the outdoors or exercising