The electric pickup truck playing field may be effectively empty for the moment, but it’s poised to be jammed full of competitors in just two years. With competition poised to be fierce, every truckmaker will need their own special features to stand out of the crowd. Rivian has its camping kitchen; Bollinger has its full-length pass-thru; Tesla has, well, ostensibly indestructible sheetmetal and windows. Now, patent filings have given us a glimpse of what the killer app of Ford’s electric F-150 may be: a frunk that’s far more versatile than any other car on the market.
Patent filings excavated by Car and Driver reveal that Ford has laid claim to a style of front trunk — a.k.a. “frunk” — that can be accessed in two different ways: either by raising the lid, as with a usual frunk or hood, or by opening the “grille,” which, obviously, exists only for design purposes on an electric car that doesn’t need as much cooling.
While frunks have been around as long as there have been mid-engined and rear-engined cars, the forthcoming rush of electric cars is primed to bring them into the mainstream; electric cars, after all, use compact, low-mounted electric motors in lieu of internal combustion engines, so the area where those giant hunks of metal, plastic and rubber would sit in an ICE vehicle lies open to hold cargo.
While frunks are generally handy wherever they’re found, they’re doubly so for pickup trucks, which usually lack for enclosed lockable cargo space that’s not in the cabin. Ford’s tweak for the electric F-150’s version seems like a quality improvement on the concept — especially for shorter folks, who might have difficulty reaching into a high-riding cargo bay through the top.
Will it make it to production? We’re guessing yes, but we’ll have to wait until 2021 to be sure.