The Ford F-150 is about to become the first entrant into what's soon to be a brand-new but very heated segment of the automotive marketplace: electric pickup trucks. Companies stretching from veteran names like Tesla and General Motors to upstarts like Lordstown and Rivian are set to launch EV pickups in the next couple of years alongside the all-electric version of the new F-150. But there's one little issue few people are talking about: it's not clear whether these electron-powered trucks will be able to find many buyers.
After all, range anxiety is still very much an issue with EVs, and the sort of tasks that trucks are made for — hauling cargo, towing trailers, plowing through sand and mud and dirt — are exactly the sorts of things that drain batteries even quicker. It seems Ford may have found a way to make ever those worry-worts okay with an EV F-150: add a range-extending internal combustion engine. But if this patent is to believed, they've discovered a very clever way to go about it.
According to a patent filed with the United States Trademark and Patent Office and discovered by The Drive, Ford is working on a range-extending generator that would be disguised as a truck's toolbox – the cross-bed type seen snuggled up against the cabin in many a rig. The boxy unit — a self-contained module that holds engine, fuel tank and exhaust system — would snap into the bed behind the passenger compartment, and when needed, send electricity to the truck's battery pack via a conventional high-speed electric car charger port.
Of course, as with many a patent, there's no guarantee this little invention will ever see production. But considering what a clever simple idea it is that seems ideal to reduce many a pickup truck buyer's concerns about going electric, we'd be shocked (pun intended) if it didn't make its way to the F-150 before long.