Ford Tests All-Electric Prototype Ford F-150 In Snow
On this, the first day of winter, Ford released a short video of the EV F-150, coming as part of the 2022 model year, going through some winter testing including snow-covered trails. The video shows it going down a snow-covered hillside, blazing straightaway on snow-covered trails and doing donuts in the snow – all while being under control.
Who hasn’t taken their truck out into the winter wonderland on the first snowfall for some donuts? So it was wise for Ford to show off their all-electric F-150 prototype in the snow.
Whenever I write about the brand-new PowerBoost F-150, which is part of the redesigned 14th-generation F-150 or the upcoming EV F-150, I get comments about what does the cold do to the range. And those are valid, good questions.
It’s no secret that cold deteriorates battery life and performance. So while the video from Ford Trucks, and retweeted by Ford PR guru Mike Levine was only 24 seconds long, it would be great to see more and hear more about range after this.
When I asked Levine for more information he said that was all they had.
Here’s the 24-second video posted on Ford Truck's Facebook page (and Tweeted out).
What Is The Range of the all-electric 2022 Ford F-150?
We don’t know this answer. I’ve asked, and received no answer. And honestly, Ford is probably not done testing it. Heck, we just recently learned the EPA rating for Ford’s new PowerBoost hybrid powertrain in the 2021 F-150.
Some comments on the 25 mpg range showed disappointment. It seems, and I can’t disagree with this sentiment, that they were hoping for range closer to 30 mpg.
Now, back to the EV F-150. If Ford intends to compete with the Tesla Cybertruck, they will need range better than that which is found on the Mustang Mach-E (270 miles for AWD and 300 miles for 2WD). The Tesla Cybertruck has three different variants that produce differing ranges.
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.
Assuming Ford follows Tesla’s lead (and they’d be wise to do so), the EV F-150 will need range much closer to that 500 miles of range than that 300 mile range. And obviously, the potential consumers will want to know two very important things:
What is the range in the cold? And what is the range while towing? Those questions remain unanswered but rest assured Ford will have answers.
Releasing that video at least shows the EV F-150 can handle itself in snowy conditions and at least gives us a hint of what Ford engineers are doing to test the truck.
Also, as I reported on earlier, a patent that Ford filed shows that a generator can extend the range of the EV F-150 even further.
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.”
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.
Recently Ford’s CEO Jim Farley reiterated the idea that the future all-electric F-150 is not going to be some gimmick and will fit well within the Built Ford Tough banner of trucks.
“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.”
So here on the first day of winter, we see the EV F-150 doing what trucks are supposed to do. Does this give you hope or excitement about the future electrified pickup truck? Leave me your comments below.
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.