Patents Show Combustion Engine Disguised as Bed Toolbox for Electric Ford F-150

Ford F-150 electric range extender patent 6 photos
Photo: Ford via
Patent for Ford F-150 EV range extenderPatent for Ford F-150 EV range extenderPatent for Ford F-150 EV range extenderPatent for Ford F-150 EV range extenderPatent for Ford F-150 EV range extender
Ford is currently preparing for a very important moment in its history. The company's (and country's) best-selling model, the F-150, is going to get an all-electric version, so nerves must be pretty tense in Dearborn.
Even though talk about the electric pickup truck has only picked up recently, the vehicle has obviously been in development for years. We can't tell for how long exactly, but a patent filing dating April 26, 2018 shows Ford was giving the matter plenty of thought back then too. Like many patent applications, we doubt Ford was ever too serious about this one, not least because it was a pretty crazy one.

The easy way to describe it would be as a range extender for the otherwise battery-powered F-150 pickup truck, but that only tells half the story. The internal combustion engine - together with the fuel tank and the exhaust system - was to be disguised as a toolbox and placed on the truck's bed, making it a removable range extender.

Based on the fact that "some customers desire the ability to add additional electric-only range to their electrified vehicles", Ford came up with this clip-on system it would presumably offer as an option for anyone who might be interested. However, it's impossible to know whether you would fall into that category or not until the company reveals the EV's specs.

Ford claims the internal combustion engine could be "adapted to selectively output power for either charging the battery pack or propelling the drive wheel." The phrasing can be a bit confusing but, no, the gas-burner would not be responsible for turning the wheels directly at any time.

The only variation in what it can do is where it routes its power: either to recharge the battery or to provide the juice needed by the electric motor on the go. One question you might be asking yourself at this time is what kind of engine could Ford use that's small enough to fit inside a make-pretend toolbox, but powerful enough to provide the power needed to keep a big and heavy vehicle like the electric F-150 going. We're not sure whether Ford's plans got that far.

If this patent shows one thing, it's that Ford didn't really trust its ability to develop a capable EV back in 2018. With the two years that have passed since and the promising Mustang Mach E out on the market, let's hope the company feels a lot more confident now. It'd better because any shortcomings would deal a blow to the F-150's overall image, and we'd imagine Ford doesn't want that.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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