Ford Wants EVs To Have Fridges Instead Of Frunks

Patents and Trademarks / 11 Comments

Would this make EVs... cool?

In a patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, CarBuzz has discovered that Ford wants to turn the frunks (front trunks) of future electric vehicles into refrigerated compartments.

Imagine taking your Ford Mustang Mach-E to the beach and being able to crack open a cold soda or tackling the terrain of Moab in your F-150 Lightning and cooling off with some ice cream.

Those EVs already have plastic frunk liners that can be loaded with ice, but ice eventually melts, so Ford is toying with the idea of refrigerating the area. It's not quite as innovative as Rivian's Gear Tunnel and Camp Kitchen, but it's still a practical addition for those who live the outdoor lifestyle.

The Blue Oval notes that several EVs have modes that compromise range for increased performance, so it believes buyers would be willing to make a small range sacrifice for the novelty of a large mobile fridge.


The premise of the invention is very simple. Ford envisions a heat exchanger that has its cold plate on the bottom of the frunk. With temperature sensors, the car would be able to detect when the melting ice that you throw in is starting to turn into warming water and increase the flow of coolant to the heat exchanger, and vice versa. This would maximize the amount of time that your ice (dry or otherwise) will last - great for long road trips. When the ice eventually melts, drain plugs allow you to clean the frunk out.

And if you don't need the entire frunk to be used as a cooler box, baffles could be installed to separate sections of the frunk.

The novelty of a refrigerator of some sort in a car is not new, but Ford doesn't specifically call this a refrigerator. In fact, the practical applications mentioned have nothing to do with food or drink.


Ford says that this idea could be used to "provide enhanced cabin cooling during longer trips to reduce climate system demands of the electronic air conditioning compressor" or in "high-demand use scenarios." Specifically, Ford refers to high-performance driving, towing a trailer, excessive ambient temperatures, and mountain terrain.

In electric vehicles, temperatures can have a drastic effect on performance. If you're drifting a specially-modified Mustang Mach-E, crawling up Hell's Gate, towing a boat, or cruising through the Mojave, your EV's motors will get very warm, and so will your battery pack. But if you can lower the temperatures of these components at the touch of a button, you can go further and do more for longer. Naturally, this additional cooling for powertrain components need not be activated in cold weather.

It seems like a decent idea, and if it can be introduced affordably, we don't see any reason not to embrace the gimmick.


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