Electric F-150 skateboard chassis differs from typical EV chassis

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Ford has applied to patent a "Body-on-frame electric vehicle with [a] battery pack integral to [the] frame." The diagrams included in the patent application change show a divergence from the typical skateboard EV chassis we've seen in the past, instead retaining a key component of traditional pickup truck ladder-frame chassis.

The new EV paradigm is to place a single, consolidated battery pack between a vehicle's frame rails and the front and rear axles. Rivian uses this method for its R1T pickup and R1S SUV. In the Ford patent, the EV chassis retains a pickup's cross-members and divides a monolithic battery pack into a series of battery modules. As worded in the patent, "The plurality of power storage modules are disposed within a plurality of the compartments" created by the cross-members. The battery packs would be supported by a plate underneath that's welded or bolted to the frame rails.

One of the drawings shows as many as five cross-members housing four "power storage units" between the rails, and that doesn't include other cross-members used to support additional components. The ladder chassis in the current F-150, for instance, counts eight cross-members.

According to the application, this build process pays off in several ways. The huge weight of a single, large battery pack increases shear stress on a frame, alleviated by designing a heavier, stronger frame that can cope. Ford's patent request says the "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." While that would mean a lighter, less expensive set of rails, it appears to us that the metal saved in the rails is simply being moved to the metal used for the supporting plate.

The automaker says NVH could improve with this setup, since it does away with the large container - the independent, rectangular structure housing the battery and ancillaries - slotted in between frame rails. The patent app claims "The connections between the battery assembly and the separate vehicle frame can provide pathways for noise, vibration, and harshness" with a monolithic battery, whereas with discrete modules, "the stiffness added by the bottom plate and center cross-members... provide reduced noise, vibration, and harshness."

Without doubt, having more freedom with battery placement thanks to smaller packs would provide more manipulation of balance, and individual packs could make it easier to address battery issues.

The drawings show two electric motors placed ahead of the front cross-member and behind the rear cross-member. The text describes the ability to switch from two-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive in the two-motor setup, as well as the ability to use four e-motors.

The patent application was filed 15 months before Ford invested in Rivian. It doesn't mention the battery-electric F-150, so we can't know if this is the kind of chassis to expect when the EV pickup shows in a few years, but it wouldn't be surprising if so, seeing as how it provides a transitional step in manufacturing and design from the techniques Ford's employed for decades.

Source: Autoblog

ford-electric-f150-pickup-skateboard-chassis-patent-application.jpg
 

star reno

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Since the number of cross members containing batteries is defined by the length of the frame rails, it means longer trucks will potentially have more power and range. I wonder if Ford is already thinking of applying this to its heavy duty trucks and what this could mean for the next F-150.
 

Peter P

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Given the timing of this patent and what we know now about Ford's investment in Rivian, one has to wonder if they scrapped this idea and decided to collaborate with Rivian on a skateboard chassis for the electric F150.

Or is it possible the ICE/hybrid versions of the 14th gen will ride on something different than the Electric model due out a year later?
 

Fiver-O

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Ford likely licensed the skateboard chassis from Rivian since the latter said they were going to license it to other manufacturers and Ford announced that $500M investment into Rivian.

There were prototypes spied of the F-150 riding on an electric skateboard chassis and independent rear suspension. At the time some thought it was a Rivian prototype using a F-150 body to hide it but I think it was the other way around.

Seems even more likely when you consider that Rivian R1T has similar dimensions (especially width) to a current F-150.
  • Width (overall): 79.3 in
  • Length (overall): 215.5 in
  • Track width: 67.3 in
  • Wheelbase: 135.8 in
Ford F-150 crew cab short bed:
  • Width (overall): 79.9 in (no side mirrors)
  • Length (overall): 231.9 in
  • Track width: 67.6 in
  • Wheelbase: 145 in
 

CHP

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Ford likely licensed the skateboard chassis from Rivian since the latter said they were going to license it to other manufacturers and Ford announced that $500M investment into Rivian.

There were prototypes spied of the F-150 riding on an electric skateboard chassis and independent rear suspension. At the time some thought it was a Rivian prototype using a F-150 body to hide it but I think it was the other way around.

Seems even more likely when you consider that Rivian R1T has similar dimensions (especially width) to a current F-150.
  • Width (overall): 79.3 in
  • Length (overall): 215.5 in
  • Track width: 67.3 in
  • Wheelbase: 135.8 in
Ford F-150 crew cab short bed:
  • Width (overall): 79.9 in (no side mirrors)
  • Length (overall): 231.9 in
  • Track width: 67.6 in
  • Wheelbase: 145 in
Hrm does that mean the F-150 will be built on the same platform as the Lincoln EV that Rivian and Ford have announced as the first vehicle they worked on together?
 

Peter P

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Hrm does that mean the F-150 will be built on the same platform as the Lincoln EV that Rivian and Ford have announced as the first vehicle they worked on together?
It could be that the Lincoln will be built on the Rivian skateboard platform while the F-150 is built using Ford's own platform? Afterall, Ford will have its own EV platform(s), like for the Mach-E.
 

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It could be that the Lincoln will be built on the Rivian skateboard platform while the F-150 is built using Ford's own platform? Afterall, Ford will have its own EV platform(s), like for the Mach-E.
From what I've read that's how it's going to be. What's interesting to me is that Ford will be doing direct battle with Rivian over the electric pickup space, even though they're now partners.
 
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