Ford has designed a removable range-extender that can drop into an electric pickup’s bed, which could possibly become an option for the upcoming F150 electric.
Range-extenders, which are basically generators, haven’t become popular with electric vehicles buyers.
It’s basically the same concept as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with the main difference being that a PHEV generally has a short battery-electric range and mainly relies on its gas tank for longer distances.
On the other hand, an EV with a range extender generally relies on the battery and the generator only provides some additional range.
But both can recharge their battery independently from burning gas — unlike a hybrid.
The best example is the BMW i3 which was offered with a range extender option.
Now Ford has applied for a patent on an interesting solution for a range-extender that can be dropped into an electric pickup’s bed.
In the patent application, Ford says that the generator is shaped like a toolbox:
“An electrified vehicle according to an exemplary aspect of the present disclosure includes, among other things, a drive wheel, a battery pack, a cargo space, and a generator removably positioned within the cargo space and adapted to selectively output power for either charging the battery pack or propelling the drive wheel. The generator is shaped like a toolbox.”
Ford mentions that the system could have a capacity of 5, 10, or even 15 gallons depending on the configuration.
Here are some of the drawings from the patent application on the new range extender design:
While companies often patent technologies that don’t always make it to market, this patent is particularly interesting in the context of Ford working on its very first electric pickup truck the F150 Electric.
Ford is expected to bring the Ford F150 Electric pickup to market in 2022.
Here’s Ford’s new patent application in full:
I’m generally not a fan of range extenders, but I think this is an interesting solution.
My biggest complaint about them is efficiency. Carrying a generator and gas tank affects the efficiency of your electric powertrain and vice versa.
However, if it’s removable, that’s another thing.
You could use your electric pickup truck as a pure BEV most of the time and when you need longer range or to carry or tow bigger loads, you could add the range extender.
I think that’s an interesting solution and could help ease more pickup owners to make the switch to electric.
Of course, it depends on how easy it is to mount and dismount that generator, but I think it’s something worth exploring at least.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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