The pickup truck segment is about to be disrupted by all-electric vehicles, with veterans like Ford and General Motors and younger companies like Tesla and Rivian preparing their respective entries into what could very well be a lucrative market. Amidst this budding competition, each company seems to be making the necessary preparations to ensure that their vehicle has key advantages over the competition.
Tesla seems to be relying on its pedigree as an experienced electric vehicle manufacturer, with the Cybertruck boasting specs that are nothing short of insane at its price point. This is on top of an ever-growing Supercharger Network that’s capable of charging the steel beast at rapid speeds. Rivian, on the other hand, seems to be leaning heavily on the luxury adventure market, with its vehicles boasting clever features that are designed to delight those who love the outdoors. Ford, for its part, appears to be going on a rather interesting route.
A recent patent from the veteran hints at what could very well be Ford’s strategy to ensure that customers of its all-electric truck would not experience concerns about the vehicle’s range. While Rivian’s patents tease an auxiliary battery that could extend range, and while Tesla will no doubt push the Cybertruck’s range as far as it could go through its battery innovations, Ford appears to have opted for something much simpler: a gas generator.
Ford’s patent shows a concept for a portable generator that could be fitted into an all-electric pickup truck. The generator is actually pretty sleek, with the unit being designed to look like a toolbox. As noted by the veteran carmaker, high-voltage battery packs typically provide only a limited amount of electric-only driving range. Thus, it is pertinent to provide a way for customers to add electric-only driving range to their vehicles. A generator addresses this need.
Ford’s generator will not be just an off-the-shelf unit, either. 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. This generator could then be utilized to charge the vehicle’s battery pack, among other uses. Ford outlines its idea in the section below.
“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,” Ford’s patent noted.
Of course, using a gas-powered generator in an all-electric truck kind of defeats the purpose of a zero-emissions vehicle, but there is no denying that longtime Ford owners will likely be more open to the F-150 Electric if such a feature is available. Ultimately, after all, every Ford F-150 Electric that is sold is one less traditional, gas-guzzling F-150 on the streets. And that, in the grand scheme of things, matters a lot, at least to a certain degree.
Read Ford’s gas generator patent for its electric pickup below.