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Ford planning range extender for F-150 EV

Ford planning range extender for F-150 EV

Ask any prospective electric vehicle what their number two concern is after cost and they will likely say range. Some automakers have included a gas engine to help charge the batteries. Ford is going a different way with a modular range extender.

The upcoming electric F-150 has a lot of work to do. Not only to convince people that electric is the way forward but also to convince those who use trucks for work that an electric vehicle can haul and tow just as well as their gas-fed cousins.

We have seen the power figures. Now Ford is turning its attention to range.

Range anxiety

Range anxiety is one of the most significant challenges faced by the EV movement. To convince people that their electric vehicle can complete a journey without running out of charge.

In the case of a truck like the F-150, it also has to haul a load or tow a trailer at the same time without running out of charge.

Ford think they have an answer. A recent patent filing shows an application for a version of “electric vehicles with removable and interchangeable range extending generators.”

In a typical hybrid or PHEV, a gas engine is there to charge the batteries when they run down or drive the vehicle once it runs out of charge. The engine is connected to the transmission in the same way a standard gas engine is.

Range extension

In the case of a typical range extender, an engine or generator is connected to the batteries instead. There is no link to the transmission or wheels at all.

The upside is that a range extender can also pull double duty as an onboard generator for power tools or to run an off-grid work site. The downside is that it takes up space in the back.

Ford’s idea is a little of both. A removable range extender that could optionally be connected to the wheels.

The application mentioned a ‘toolbox’ shaped generator that could be added and removed as required. Specifically “removably positioned within the cargo space and adapted to selectively output power for either charging the battery pack or propelling the (electrically motorized) drive wheels.”

It’s an interesting direction to take and one that has extra benefits for those who use their truck for work. Just how well it will work and how it will be implemented remains to be seen.

This is just a patent application right now with no data on how far along development it is or when we might see one in action. With the electric F-150 due sometime in 2022, there is a while yet before Ford needs the finished article to be ready.

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