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Discussion Starter #1
The new F-150 is getting a hybrid option (700 mile range on a single tank) with some insane power generation options. Interestingly at least some other "gasoline-powered trucks" will get the generator too, but per the graphic below it looks like only 2kW with gas engines like ecoboost.

For the beefy 7.2kW generator (up to 36 hours runtime/tank) with the killer 4x120v + 1x220v/30A outlets, you must have the new hybrid PowerBoost drivetrain. But I bet that drivetrain has great low-end torque, just like most electric engines.

If this all arrives in the 2021 Transit I'll be really bummed I didn't wait. Heck, I'd wait until 2022 for this. Anyone want to buy a brand new well equipped 2020 AWD 148 HR Transit about to be built in 2 weeks? Lol. Seriously, I might consider selling at cost.

Here's what we know so far:

The new generator will come standard on a new hybrid model of the [F-150] vehicle. It also will be offered on other gasoline-powered trucks.

The generator works by taking energy from an onboard lithium-ion battery.


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I have a 1000 watt pure sine inverter powered by the Transit 12 volt system. Use it with engine running. It is my backup method of charging if solar does not work due to weather conditions. Also can use it to heat shower water or to power a 750 watt electric heater. Works like the 2000 watt system on new F150 but less wattage.

 

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I am in the group who is already looking at the 2022 Transit EV. Really do not know the details on it yet but getting most of the information from the European version that is now getting setup. We just had a discussion about the charging stations for the EV models and how it may be wise to start planning for them now so when these vehicles are available in 2022 the charging stations will be ready to go. We know that Amazon will be in the forefront for going with the EV van whether it is made by Rivian or in conjunction with Ford so knowing about the charging stations may be a important factor whether it may be practical to purchase one in the early stages.
 

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Nice to see that Ford understands that a built in power inverter with generous capacity is very popular.
When they see that it is an option everyone wants and has a high profit margin, since other pricey components get heavied up as well, it seems likely to be rolled out to Transit sooner rather than later.
Seems Ford has gotten very perceptive lately. They just need to increase the plant capacity a bit to keep their customers happy.
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Road&Track claims the base ProPower system which is available with optional non-hybrid gasoline engines uses two alternators, but are segregated with one being 24V to power the 2,000-Watt inverter. If this is accurate, it opens a lot of future possibilities. I have to admit I’m a little disappointed in it being 24V instead of 48V.

“On the standard engines, Pro Power uses a second alternator on the engine to provide up to 2.0 kilowatts of power through dual 120-volt outlets in the bed. That'll allow you to power things like circular saws, jackhammers, loudspeakers, or an air compressor off of your truck. A full tank can provide that power for 85 hours. You can also use Pro Power Onboard while driving to charge up tools and equipment. And since it's run off a 24-volt system entirely separate from the truck's 12-volt main battery, you don't have to worry about it affecting the rest of the truck.”

 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am in the group who is already looking at the 2022 Transit EV.
Nice, glad you got some inside info on that. I definitely don't want a true EV yet for an adventure van, but a hybrid with the new drivetrain and a 7.2kW generator would absolutely be a purchase I'd make. I'm strongly considering waiting for that, and would love to have hands-free feature as well. I just did a 6 hour drive in a car with active LKA and it did almost all of the driving for me. I love that feature.

Wanna sell my forthcoming 148 Transit HR AWD on the lot for profit, Ed? Lol. I'm seriously considering it. It has that nice December 2019 rebate on the AWD too.
 

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I think it would of been better for them to build a state of the art auxiliary genset system with its own dedicated small motor with a lifepo4 bank and charging system.
The only thing they would have to solve is the noise issue , a auxiliary genset would be more fuel efficient and easier to do maintenance , it would also prevent from overcomplicating a already complicated underhood system.
The auxiliary system could be in a modular insulated box completely isolated from the vans systems .
How is the Ford system better then a modern APU big rig semi generator system that is mounted to the side of a big rig but yet isolated from the truck engine system?
I really like the function of there Ford generator system but all of the xtra gear tied to the vans system makes me uneasy.

I would think the 7.2 KW genset would come with about 700 ah lifepo4 ?????
If my thinking is right in worse case scenario your 700 ah battery bank is at 0% soc you could get it to 100% soc in about 2.5 hours .
Wowzer.
 

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I think it would of been better for them to build a state of the art auxiliary genset system with its own dedicated small motor with a lifepo4 bank and charging system.
The only thing they would have to solve is the noise issue , a auxiliary genset would be more fuel efficient and easier to do maintenance , it would also prevent from overcomplicating a already complicated underhood system.
The auxiliary system could be in a modular insulated box completely isolated from the vans systems .
How is the Ford system better then a modern APU big rig semi generator system that is mounted to the side of a big rig but yet isolated from the truck engine system?
I really like the function of there Ford generator system but all of the xtra gear tied to the vans system makes me uneasy.

I would think the 7.2 KW genset would come with about 700 ah lifepo4 ?????
If my thinking is right in worse case scenario your 700 ah battery bank is at 0% soc you could get it to 100% soc in about 2.5 hours .
Wowzer.
The first thing I’d suggest is to get away from using “Amp-hours” as a measure of battery capacity. Amp-hours isn’t a measure of energy unless the voltage is specified, and in the past we got away with it because everyone assumed the system was 12V nominal. That’s no longer the case.

In case of the two higher-capacity ProPower systems (2.4 and 7.2 kW), the systems are a small part (add on) of a hybrid system. Hybrids usually have low-capacity batteries with very high charging and discharging rates. The Ford battery is only 1.5 kWh (equivalent to 125 Amp-hours if at 12V, which it is not), yet can power a large drive motor that far exceeds the power of any inverter we’d need for camping.

Your 700 Amp-hour suggestion (even if at 12V equivalent) would be 8.4 kWh which would be more in range of a plug-in hybrid.

These Transit are primarily a hybrid with an inverter added. Only the base 2.0 kW system on non-hybrid Transits appears to be designed from ground up as a “generator”. And it’s reported to be based on 24V to keep current lower. Additionally, I have seen no information at all on type of battery or their capacity. Still a lot of unknowns.
 

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I think it would of been better for them to build a state of the art auxiliary genset system with its own dedicated small motor with a lifepo4 bank and charging system.
The only thing they would have to solve is the noise issue , a auxiliary genset would be more fuel efficient and easier to do maintenance , it would also prevent from overcomplicating a already complicated underhood system.
The auxiliary system could be in a modular insulated box completely isolated from the vans systems .
How is the Ford system better then a modern APU big rig semi generator system that is mounted to the side of a big rig but yet isolated from the truck engine system?
I really like the function of there Ford generator system but all of the xtra gear tied to the vans system makes me uneasy.

I would think the 7.2 KW genset would come with about 700 ah lifepo4 ?????
If my thinking is right in worse case scenario your 700 ah battery bank is at 0% soc you could get it to 100% soc in about 2.5 hours .
Wowzer.

I am speculating on why they approached the offering this way, but here is my logic:

Genset
  • If you run a genset, the rpm has to be a multiple of 50 or 60 Hz. A common example are 1800 and 3600 rpm generators, which have to operate at a tight rpm frequency to work well.
  • To some extent, a small engine has a lifetime that is related to "number of strokes", so at high rpms, this wears away faster
  • Similarly, the fuel consumption tends to be related to the "number of strokes", so it limits what you can do for fuel efficiency under high vs low loads.
  • The EPA / CA would have made them add on a complete emissions package onto this aux engine as well.
Inverter / generator approach that seems to be what is coming (similar to a honda / yamaha)
  • The power generation is essentially DC - like an alternator. Not exactly but very similar.
  • The engine rpm can be adjusted automatically to keep up with the load - from very low rpm up to ~ 2000 on some systems. Ford already has this built into at least their dual alternator Transit, so likely other vehicles as well.
  • The battery pack can be relatively modest as it is only "buffering". For example most inverter / generators don't have any battery pack at all.
24 vs 48 volt
  • A 300 amp x 24 volt alternator is something that many alternator companies can easily build. Most have never built a 48 volt alternator and that is a bit more complex (and expensive) to pull off
  • One of the larger loads on a conventional vehicle are the headlamps, but most companies didn't want to design 24 volt headlamps. With HID and LED, the input voltage range tends to be wider (as they use an electronic driver / controller anyway) so 12 vs 24 isn't as big of deal.
  • I have spent years trying to get people comfortable with using 24 and 48 volt auxiliary electrical systems and it is still challenging to get past the fear. Maybe the right person finally went out on a boat and it hit them that 24 volts is a no brainer
  • From a cost viewpoint, 12 and 24 volt components are very similar - often the same part. 48 volt components are nearly always different parts.
I went through the same things when I started building 48 and then later 24 volt aux power systems.

It is a good path and will cover a lot of ground.
 

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The hybrid ProPower systems are not using a regular alternator; they appear to be using the hybrid’s generator built into the transmission. It should be able to charge the battery in minutes, not hours.

I read somewhere that when the inverter is making more power, the EcoBoost remains on. However, at light loads the EB engine shuts off and inverter runs off battery. Then when battery gets low, engine starts and charges battery — which shouldn’t take long.

The base ProPower on non-hybrid vans is very different by comparison.
 

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I'm still in the PHEV camp, because it's my only vehicle and I take 1000+ mile trips a few times a year.

However, even with the paltry 350 mile safe range of the gas engine, I haven't run out of gas yet. If there was a 300-400 mile range EV, I guess I could cope. 80% charges would be about an hour or less, so more time at the truckstop to look at weird t-shirts and other things with wolves and skulls on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
This picture may help.
This got me thinking, will it be compatible with 4x4 trucks or AWD vans? Then I found an article (see below) with more info and a prototype pictured that has the Sport 4x4 emblem.
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All of this got me thinking: Right now if you upgrade your transit to have a good 2nd alternator and a really large lithium bank (say 56V alternator and 20kW bank), the bank gets fully charged on a 3-4 hour roadtrip to your camp site. You fill up near the last turn, and once you're at the camp site you now have 2-3 days of battery power w/nightly a/c usage and a few appliances here and there as needed. And you'd still have a full tank of gas.

With the Ford system, you'd use up that full tank in 2-3 days powering the same load, but now you're out of gas. However, presumably you can also use the ProPower system to charge your own addon lithium bank while driving (it says you can be in generator mode while driving). That would definitely beat an existing gas engine with a beefy 2nd alternator and a big lithium bank, but then you're left asking: how much would all of that cost? At some point the expense gets so high that you might as well use the existing gas + big battery bank system, and in the future upgrade to the 2nd or 3rd generation of the hybid/generator system. Let someone else be the fist model year guinea pig to solve all the problems.

Even so, I'm starting to rethink my plan to build the adventure van this year. By 2022 will be over covid (hopefully) and I can avoid the hassle of doing my own electrical system install during a pandemic with supply shortages. Plus, it would be a warranty-covered OEM power system aside from the addon lithium. And above all, that graphic Chance posted suggests the hybrid ecboost engine will be specifically designed to efficiently idle for long periods. That alone is a big winner. I'm definitely worried about ruining my ecoboost with too much high-idling.

Here are some other cool facts from that article with more detailed ProPower functionality:

3. You Can Run It All Night
Say you want to park somewhere remote and use the truck to power that camper. The hybrid 2.4-kW system will run for 85 hours on a full tank of gas at maximum load of 2,400 watts. The 7.2-kW system will go for 32 hours under the same max load conditions. If you’re not using all of those 7,200 watts, the system will continue for much longer, the company said. Normally, any Ford truck left idling and undisturbed will turn itself off after 30 minutes, according to Ford, via the built-in automatic idle shutdown function. But the generator mode disables this function, allowing it to go much longer, provided there’s at least a 400-watt draw on the system. So as long as the system detects that it’s powering something, the truck will continue to run.

5. Safety Is Built-In
Of course, all kinds of questions pop up when you’re thinking about leaving your truck running all night next to your camper, even if you are well out in the woods. Is it safe? Can someone just open the door and make off with the truck (with me in the trailer)? What happens if there’s a short or a fault? Ford’s secure idle and utility idle functions come into play here, meaning the truck can be left to idle and be locked. So no worries about plugging it into the camper and going to bed — the truck isn’t going anywhere. If the system detects a ground fault, it immediately shuts off, giving the user the option to reset the system via the interior console touchscreen or the FordPass app. If it detects a critical fault somewhere in the system, it will disable itself and require a trip to a dealer for diagnosis, also notifying the owner via warnings on the screen and phone app.

 

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This (different) Road and Track article mentions hybrid 1.5 kWh battery pack being 48-Volts, which I like if true because it may make it more expandable for RV use. However, to get 35 kW out of a motor at 48 Volts is some serious current. My first thought was that it’s got to be a mistake.

Then I thought of electric cars with over 10 times as much power yet not much more than 10 times the voltage, and realize it’s possible. Maybe unlikely, but not impossible.

I would really like more technical information on that entire system.




 

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It obviously puts out some serious power , the only possible downside that I can think of would be that it may make your fuel bill go up since it requires running the vehicle at least part of the time the generator is in use., contractors probably don't care about a little higher fuel costs considering having a abundance of electric out in the middle of nowhere is a must have.

I would like to see a video of the Ford genset in action and showing how much in fuel it would cost , maybe Ford has it figured out to where it doesn't add much to fuel cost at all.
 

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For the expected continuing decline of civilization in the USA, having a mobile generator/power pack seems like a pretty good thing. I think this may be a wildly popular type of vehicle.

Someone asked me if I have a generator in case the power gets cut off (wildfires; PG&E is using that as an excuse to punish/motivate it's customers), and I said I have an inverter in my van that will run the fridge or anything else in the house as long as it's not everything at once. Since the pandemic started, there's been a huge interest in urban prepping. Solar installations, Tesla powerwalls, generators, vegetable gardens and chickens, etc.
 
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It obviously puts out some serious power , the only possible downside that I can think of would be that it may make your fuel bill go up since it requires running the vehicle at least part of the time the generator is in use., contractors probably don't care about a little higher fuel costs considering having a abundance of electric out in the middle of nowhere is a must have.

I would like to see a video of the Ford genset in action and showing how much in fuel it would cost , maybe Ford has it figured out to where it doesn't add much to fuel cost at all.
Ford states the 2.4 kW unit will run 85 hours on a full tank, so 0.36 gallons per hour.

The 7.2 kW unit is said to run 32 hours on full tank, so 0.96 gallons per hour.

The larger unit is a bit more efficient but not by much. Both are in same range of fuel economy versus running a portable generator. The convenience of not having to haul around a generator and fuel cans/tanks should be worth it to contractors and others alike. Frees up the pickup’s bed too.
 

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This (different) Road and Track article mentions hybrid 1.5 kWh battery pack being 48-Volts, which I like if true because it may make it more expandable for RV use. However, to get 35 kW out of a motor at 48 Volts is some serious current. My first thought was that it’s got to be a mistake.

Then I thought of electric cars with over 10 times as much power yet not much more than 10 times the voltage, and realize it’s possible. Maybe unlikely, but not impossible.

I would really like more technical information on that entire system.




I am lazy so I rounded to 50 volts.

35 000 watts / 50 volts ~ 700 amps.

I build and sell 48 volt conversion van electrical products and even by my somewhat over extended logic this seems - like a lot.
 
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