All-Electric Ford F-150 Could Have Range to Rival Tesla Cybertruck Thanks To Patented Technology
Earlier this year, I hinted that the pending Ford vs. Tesla showdown in the truck segment would be wonderful and exciting but that the Cybertruck was no threat to the F-150. And I’m not backing down from that statement. Ford has its sights set on the hip, electric car manufacturer. And Tesla is entering the pickup truck arena as the outsider, in an arena that Ford has dominated for decades. It’s the classic David vs. goliath storyline.
Tesla being the outsider, the David, versus one of the biggest stalwarts in the rust belt. This battle with the goliath Ford seems to have gotten more interesting if a patent filed by Ford comes to fruition.
Ford already publicly launched their Pro Power Onboard generator as part of the 14th generation F-150, which debuts on lots later this fall as part of the 2021 model year. The hybrid, or Power Boost, version of the 2021 F-150 is a new and exciting offering from Ford that will shake up the full-size truck segment anyway.
And as I reported recently, the 2021 F-150 will have the highest towing capacity ever offered with 14,000 pounds. PowerBoost full hybrid trucks are rated at a maximum of 12,700 pounds of conventional towing – the most towing ever offered by any full hybrid pickup. Maximum payload increases to 3,325 pounds – more than 1,000 pounds over F-150’s closest full-size light-duty competitor – with gains across most trim levels and configurations. PowerBoost-equipped trucks debut with a maximum payload of 2,120 pounds for the Crew Cab 4x2 model with 6.5-foot box.
The 14,000 pound towing capacity of the Ecoboost F-150 matches what Tesla claims the Cybertruck will have. Of course, the Cybertruck is all electric and doesn’t use gasoline.
Three different variants of the Cybertruck will be produced including a single motor RWD with 250 miles of range, a dual-motor AWD version with 300 miles of range and a tri-motor version which will have 500 miles of range.
Now Ford has not revealed any specs for the 2022 all-electric F-150 including range, but they did promise it’d be the most powerful F-150 ever built. So we can assume that it will tow more than the 14,000 pounds of the Ecoboost F-150.
Heck, if you recall, Ford did a gimmick of the EV F-150 towing a million pounds worth of F-150s on a train. So, rest assured that the all-electric F-150 will likely out tow the Cybertruck. But what about the range?
As I said, we don’t know anything about the potential range, but a patent Ford filed indicates that they may be addressing the so-called range anxiety affiliated with EVs.
All-electric Ford F-150 range extension
In the patent filing, the description reads:
“This disclosure details electrified vehicles that are equipped with removable generators for increasing the electric range of the vehicles. An exemplary electrified vehicle includes a cargo space, such as a truck bed, and a generator removably positioned within the cargo space. The generator is adapted to selectively supply power for either charging a battery pack of the electrified vehicle or for propelling one or more vehicle drive wheels. In some embodiments, the generator is shaped like, and therefore disguised as, a toolbox.”
The part that stuck out to me is the removable generator for increasing the electric range of the vehicles. Is this a modified version of the On Board Generator that would kick in and switch on should the all-electric F-150 lose range on the battery generation? Could this extend the range even further, reducing one of the biggest concerns for a potential truck buyer?
Of course I asked Ford for a response and their comment was as expected, “We submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business but they aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans.”
It’s not quite the stock, “we don’t comment or speculate on future products” that I’ve gotten used to, but it’s pretty much a no comment.
Looking further at this patent it becomes more and more clear that extending the range of the all-electric F-150 is one of the intent and purpose of this portable generator. According to the filing it will look like a toolbox.
The patent states that all of the “generator-related components, from the engine to the fuel to the hookup to the vehicle’s power system, would be contained in a unit that could be fitted and removed from the truck as necessary.”
See this illustration (below) as provided with the patent filing.
And according to the filing: “The electrified vehicle may be operable to travel over a specific distance prior to energy depletion of the battery pack, which may lead to operator range anxiety. Accordingly, the electrified vehicle may additionally be equipped with a generator for increasing the travel range of the electrified vehicle. Like the battery pack, the generator may be operably connected to the electric machine through the inverter over the voltage bus. The generator may also be connected in either parallel or series relative to the battery pack.”
All of this is speculation, but seems quite curious and would really make a lot of sense. Range anxiety and how much the all-electric F-150 can tow without losing range is one of the biggest questions consumers have, and rightfully so. If this becomes a possibility to calm range anxiety it could really rival Tesla’s Cybertruck.
2022 Electric F-150 “No Gimmick”
I wrote that the all-electric F-150 should be taken seriously by truck enthusiasts. In that article, I wrote:
New CEO Jim Farley gave truck purists and F-150 diehards a glimmer of hope and a peep into the future when he talked about the electric F-150.
“While other all electric pickup trucks are competing for lifestyle customers, the all-electric F-150 is designed and engineered for hard-working customers that need a truck to do a job.” Farley said. “This isn’t a truck for never nevers, who never tow, never haul and never go off road. This truck has been tested and tortured to be built Ford tough like you wouldn’t believe.”
Farley mentioned and reiterated that the future of the F-150 includes a hard-working pickup truck that is in the same vein as the best-selling over the last four decades.
“Simply put this is no gimmick,” Farley concluded. “It is a work horse. It’s not a show horse destined to a shiny garage filled with four luxury cars. It’s for serious truck owners.”
Note, everything about this patented generator for the EV F-150 is speculation at this point. Nothing is confirmed. But reading the tea leaves and extrapolating information it appears that Ford has a solution for one of the biggest issues pertaining to EVs – range anxiety.
If Ford can get the 2022 electric F-150 to 500-mile range while offering more than 14,000 pounds or more of towing, well then it will send a message to Elon Musk and Tesla for sure. Will this be the case? I don’t know. But I’m certainly interested. The Cybertruck vs. F-150 has all the makings of a great marketplace dual.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.