Ford's forthcoming electric F-150 will incorporate batteries within its frame for lower cost, weight.
New details have come to light regarding the Blue Oval's forthcoming electric Ford F-150, thanks to a recent patent application from the automaker. The patent app, titled "Body-on-Frame Electric Vehicle With Battery Pack Integral to Frame," is very clearly referring to the battery-electric F-150, although it's entirely possible the same platform could be repurposed for other EV model lines, like Expedition.
The key detail exposed by the patent app is right in the title: the words "battery pack integral to frame." Ford's filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a vehicle frame in which the metal carrier for the battery pack spans between the left and right frame rails, contributing its own strength and rigidity to the frame itself.
This, the automaker says, could allow the electric Ford F-150's frame to be lighter in weight and more inexpensive to construct relative to a comparable frame where the battery pack is not so integrated.
"The added shear strength and structural stiffness provided by the bottom plate and center cross members can also permit the gauge or wall thickness of the left and right frame rails to be reduced from that of a typical body-on-frame vehicle," one passage reads. Less material equals less weight and cost.
This patent application was dug up by MachEClub.com forum user St00k, who notes that, according to Ford, the unique electric vehicle frame described might even contribute to lower noise transmission through the chassis.
The upcoming electric Ford F-150 pickup was confirmed at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, and a video released in July showed a prototype built on the current F-150 towing one million pounds' worth of train cars. Electric powertrains are especially well-suited to towing and hauling as they tend to produce lots of torque from down low in the RPM range.
Furthermore, the same forum user claimed to have finished perusing over the patent filing after initially discovering it, and discovered quite a few interesting features. These include the incorporation of additional cross-members and a bottom plate to house the batteries in a compact setup, which will also allow the batteries to be placed in physically separate parts of the frame. And while the diagram shows two electric motors, St00k points out that this setup can utilize as many as four electric motors. This could also point to Rivian involvement of some sort, as the EV startup features a quartet of motors in both the upcoming R1T and R1S electric pickup truck and electric SUV. To recall, Ford Motor Company announced a $500 million investment deal with Rivian in April of 2019.
The electric Ford F-150 is expected to reach the market in late-2021.