Ford engineer behind Lightning EV tech explains why Pro Power Onboard is an emotional feature

Vyas Shenoy, a Ford engineer behind the advanced Pro Power Onboard technology on the Ford F-150 Lighting electric truck, says the feature means more to him than just having portable energy.

Ford has sent shockwaves across the auto industry with the introduction of its fully electric F-150 Lightning. If you haven’t seen one of these out in the wild yet, just wait. They are something.

The Lightning continues winning customers over, selling a record 2,436 in October to remain the best-selling electric truck across the US despite rising competition. A total of 11,196 Lightning pickups have been sold through October 2022 as Ford ramps production going into next year.

Lightning drivers are finding their electric truck has more capabilities than their gas-powered peers could dream of, which is why Ford calls it the “smartest, most innovative F-150 yet.”

The Ford F-150 Lighting includes an innovative feature called Pro Power Onboard that essentially turns the vehicle into a powerful mobile energy power bank.

With up to 9.6 kW power spread across 11 outlets, drivers can “tap in” whenever and wherever energy is needed. Drivers have found convenient ways to utilize the power, for example:

  • When thousands of customers lost power during Hurricane Nicole, Bob Hathaway used his Ford Lightning to make the most of it by powering the coffee maker and toaster (he even let the neighbors tap in for energy).
  • Remy Oktay, a student from Lafayette high school, needed help getting his electric plane to Pennsylvania, so several Ford F-150 Lightning owners stepped up, charging the plane in hour intervals.
  • A film crew turned to Ford’s electric vehicles to power their movie set (everything down to the coffee maker) placed deep in the woods.

Meanwhile, the brains behind the technology, Vyas Shenoy, a Ford engineer, says the electric truck’s portable power capabilities “is a perfect testimony to life coming full circle” after growing up with electricity being a luxury.

Ford-Engineer-Lightning-1
Vyas Shenoy parents next to a Ford F-150 Lightning Source: Ford LinkedIn

Ford Engineer – F-150 Lightning Pro Power an “emotional feature”

Shenoy grew up in a small village in Southern India where the electricity could be out for several weeks at a time. In a LinkedIn post on Ford’s page, Shenoy explains:

Where I grew up in India, we had mandatory electricity cuts every day. And during a monsoon, we had to live without electricity for weeks because the trees had fallen, and it was flooded. There was no developed infrastructure to support the grid because all the power was going to the big cities.

Even everyday items for many of us, like battery-powered flashlights, were hard to come by. Shenoy says, “those were real commodities,” adding around grade 11, “we started getting 12-volt batteries – a portable charger with a 12-volt battery and two fluorescent tubes that could be used for study.”

Meanwhile, he added, “they were very expensive and a luxury to afford.”

Shenoy was determined for a better life, earning a Bachelor of Engineering and Diploma DME (GL) degree in Mechanical Engineering from Manipal University in India.

He wanted more. Shenoy wished to pursue higher education in the US, but again, it was expensive.

Imagine a person struggling to get a battery for studies now investing in a higher education in America.

To help his son achieve his dreams, Shenoy’s father gave him property rights to the family house. Shenoy hopped on the opportunity, taking a loan against the property and making his way to the US without knowing anyone.

My mission is zero to hero.

Shenoy earned a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from the University of Michigan and then took a job with Ford, where he has helped develop Pro Power Onboard on the F-150 Lightning.

Shenoy’s parents visited him over the summer, and knowing their struggle, he brought Ford’s electric truck to the house to show them what he has been working on. He said, “my parents were on cloud 9.”

Thinking back, Shenoy feels immense pride in what he has accomplished with the Lightning, adding:

I’ve seen what it is to be without electricity growing up, getting my education under that kerosene lamp. And now to be on this aspirational journey working with a fantastic team on a technological breakthrough product at Ford that can provide up to 9.6 kW of power through an electric truck is a perfect testimony to life coming full circle. I’ve seen the other side of life without electricity, and I’m contributing to a future where we don’t have to worry about things like that.

Electrek’s Take

We have followed Ford’s electric journey closely this year as drivers test new ways to use innovative features like Pro Power Onboard in their new Lightning trucks.

Hearing Shenoy’s story gives a new meaning to “coming full circle,” and the automaker’s electric journey is just starting. Ford’s Pro Power Onboard showcases another strength in which electric vehicles can benefit users with portable power.

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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