Ford files patent for second generation EV platform
Interchangeable skateboard platform could unlock much needed savings for Ford
Detroit legacy automaker Ford has filed a patent for an EV platform likely to be the basis for the firm’s highly anticipated upcoming second generation of EVs.
The design, filed with the US Patent Office in early January, incorporates a built-in cavity for a battery cell in a manner resembling the design of Detroit rival GM’s Ultium chassis.
The concept will allow parts to be moved and adapted to enable Ford to offer interchangeable performance packages on the same platform. It appears that assembly will be based on a central subframe with adjustable crossbeams and rails to change the size of the chassis.
Such an adjustable chassis could allow Ford to produce cars based on a process of swapping bodies on top of one central 'skateboard platform'. A Ford source told EV inFocus at the London EV Show in November that anticipated production expansion of the firm's EVs into Europe will make use of the body swapping and skateboard approach.
"Everything in [the EV] can be changed. It is just the skateboard and the body on top. All we change is the ingredients in the battery," the Ford source said.
Variants of the skateboard chassis are already used in Ford's Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning EVs, but a modular platform is an area with great potential to allow Ford to scale its next generation of EVs at much improved margins, after the OEM made a loss of $1.3bn on its EVs in the third quarter of 2023.
According to research publication E-mobility Engineering, this process "allows the designer to put all the motors and battery pack in a chassis that looks like a skateboard, with a relatively simple body to be built on top".
"The size and shape of the chassis and the bodywork can be easily varied to meet different requirements, from a small consumer car to a luxury model, a delivery truck, a pick-up truck or even an off-road construction vehicle. All of these can be implemented using variants of the same skateboard platform at a fraction of the cost of a traditional vehicle design," it continues.
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The patent document also includes technical drawings of a pickup truck, after CEO Jim Farley lauded an upcoming second-generation e-pickup as providing “stunning performance like no truck has ever performed, building unexpected innovation for truck customers far beyond the normal truck attributes, a super flexible cabin that feels like a lounge or a tiny office".