The electric vehicle (EV) market is driven by automakers’ desire to promote EV adoption and consumers’ concerns about range limitations. Ford has recently filed a patent application for a unique solution. It’s a backup battery pack that can be mounted on the vehicle’s roof. This patent aims to alleviate range anxiety and charging issues associated with EVs, particularly during long trips. The patent suggests that these battery packs could be rented or leased before off-roading adventures, among other possibilities.
While Ford’s patent is intriguing, several questions arise. Firstly, how does Ford plan to reinforce the roof to support the weight of the battery pack? Merely using a roof rack may not be sufficient. Additionally, how will the battery pack be mounted and removed? EV battery packs can weigh thousands of pounds, so it is crucial to ensure a safe and practical method for installation and removal. The patent suggests the battery is removable, indicating that this roof-mounted pack may not have the same capacity as the large packs used in standard EVs. Therefore, it may weigh a couple of hundred pounds, meaning lifting a battery pack onto the roof will likely require assistance.
Potential Impact and Considerations
If the assumption is accurate, this external battery pack patent hints at a product similar to a reserve tank in a gas-powered vehicle. However, the additional weight and negative impact on aerodynamics could potentially reduce the EV’s range, especially at high speeds. Yet, in low-speed scenarios like off-road environments, the roof-mounted battery pack could provide the extra power needed to return to the trailhead. Adding solar panels to the pack could further enhance its functionality by allowing slow self-replenishment. This invention is not likely to become a reality shortly. Instead, it appears to be a placeholder for a time when Ford develops the appropriate electric off-road vehicle to utilize it effectively.