Trucks & SUVs

A New Ford Patent Revealed a Key Detail of the Electric F-150

Over the last year, Ford has been teasing auto fans with details about its electric Ford F-150. Back in July, Ford released a video of its prototype in action. This gave viewers a chance to see what the body and interior look like, although changes are to be expected.

Drivers question the power of an electric F-150

Ford F-150 XLT | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ford made the video to prove to the public that the electric F-150 is no weakling. The F-150 first towed a long line of freight cars that were said to weigh one million pounds. Then, to really drill home the point of its power, the electric F-150 went for another ride. This time, the freight cars were loaded with 42 conventional F-150 models, which, according to Ford executive Linda Zhang, represented “42 years of America’s best selling truck.”

No one can deny that an electric F-150 pulling a fleet of conventional F-150 models is a powerful marketing scheme. However, critics on YouTube were quick to point out that the freight cars were being pulled while still on rails, making the feat a lot easier to pull off. 

An electric pickup was a logical next step for Ford. The market is soon to be filled with electric trucks produced by Tesla, Bollinger, and Rivian. However, there’s something distinctly different about the F-150.

A Ford patent revealed a key detail about the electric F-150

Motor Trend got a hold of a patent filed by Ford that shows how each truck’s batteries will be integrated into a body-on-frame platform. Ford’s design is a departure from many electric vehicles, where a single battery sits in between the axles. The patent shows crossmembers between the left and right frame rails, which can hold multiple batteries. Why is Ford opting to do things differently than other EV automakers?

This approach to battery housing has several benefits. Having multiple battery packs spreads out the weight and reduces the stress that a single, heavy battery would place on the F-150’s structure. Ford is likely hoping to give drivers a better experience by reducing the electric F-150’s NVH. For skeptical drivers, a smooth ride could be a powerful selling point.

Why did Ford invest in EV start-up Rivian?

Earlier this year, Ford invested $500 million in the EV automaker Rivian. Other investors in the start-up included Amazon. The public knows little about the Rivian/Ford collaboration so far, including why Ford is investing in an EV start-up when it is currently rolling out its own electric vehicles. Ford clearly envisions a marketplace large enough for itself and Rivian and is banking on some creative collaboration between the two companies. 

We do know that Ford is using Rivian’s skateboard platform on the new electric Lincoln SUV.  It’s a bit of a mystery, though, why Ford is using divided crossmember construction on the electric F-150, but not on its Lincoln SUV.  

What else do we know about Ford’s electric F-150? 

So far, Ford executives are being vague about when an electric F-150 could come to market. In an interview with Trucks, Zhang only said that the new F-150 “will be here in a few years.” 

One thing we do know is that Ford has made it clear that the electric F-150 isn’t meant to replace any other trucks in the F series. Instead, Zhang explains that Ford is broadening its offerings to keep up with customer demands. The Ford’s F-Series will eventually offer gas, diesel, hybrid, and fully electric vehicles. It sounds like the F-150 is poised to remain a bestseller for many years to come.