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Ford patent hints at electric F-150 platform architecture

The battery module is tucked between the frame rails in the center of the truck.

Ford has submitted a patent application for an electric body-on-frame platform, pointing to a likely configuration for the F-150 EV currently under development.

Spotted by a Mach-E Club forum member, the application drawings show a ladder-frame chassis with a battery module centrally mounted between the two primary longitudinal frame members. The technology essentially merges the increasingly popular 'skateboard' architecture and traditional truck frame.

"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," the filing says. "The structural stiffness added by the bottom plate and center cross-members also provide reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)."

Photos of Ford's electric F-150 prototype show a structure added to the bottom of the chassis below the truck frame, presumably housing the battery. The patent suggests the production truck battery will be better integrated to avoid sacrificing ground clearance or breakover angle.

The design appears to be similar to Rivian's skateboard architecture, but appears to integrate more later bracing to form more than a dozen compartments that each hold a separate battery unit. Adding or removing battery units provides a way to offer multiple range variants without any visible change from the outside. The description also adds the possibility of using supercapacitors rather than batteries, suggesting Ford is pursuing alternative power storage technologies.

The frame chassis is shown with two electric motors, one for the front and another for the rear, and leaves open the possibility for a quad-motor configuration that directly powers each wheel without differentials.

Ford is expected to bring the electric F-150 to market by 2021. The launch will be particularly important for the Blue Oval, as the F-150 has long been the top-selling nameplate in the US market and accounts for a huge portion of the automaker's revenue.

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