Nov 14, 2023
The Rise of the EV Frunk: A Game-Changer in Automotive Design.
The world of electric vehicles (EVs) is constantly evolving, with new technologies and features being introduced to improve performance, efficiency, and convenience. One such innovation that has gained popularity among EV enthusiasts is the "frunk."
In this article, we will take a look at what a frunk is, how it works, and which EV models offer this unique feature.
An Overview of the Frunk: What is it and How Does it Work?
A frunk, short for "front trunk," is a storage compartment located in the front of an electric vehicle. It is designed to provide additional cargo space, similar to the trunk found in traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Many electric cars offer more space than their ICE-equipped counterparts. After all, they do not have a conventional engine and gearbox, which would normally take a considerable amount of space ahead of the driver. EVs rely on a super-sized battery for energy production, which is typically laid out like a skateboard at the chassis level. This means that designers have a lot of leeway, and many have decided to incorporate a large storage area under the front bonnet.
The concept is not new, though. Porsche has incorporated a storage space into the front of its 911 models for decades, as these models have the engine in the rear. However, electric vehicle manufacturers have taken a mixed approach. While some have fully embraced the concept by adding a super-sized storage space or recommending some cool uses, others have opted not to bother at all.
Benefits of Having a Frunk in Electric Vehicles
The introduction of the frunk has brought significant changes to the design and functionality of electric vehicles. Traditionally, the absence of an engine in the front gave EV designers greater flexibility in developing unique designs. However, it often resulted in limited storage space compared to their ICE counterparts. The frunk effectively addresses this limitation and allows EVs to offer comparable storage capacity.
One of the key advantages of having a frunk is the convenience it offers to EV owners. With a frunk, you no longer have to worry about fitting all your belongings in the limited trunk space at the rear of the vehicle. The frunk expands the range of items that can be transported easily, such as groceries, luggage, sports equipment, and even camping gear. Whether you're heading to the beach for a weekend getaway or simply doing your weekly grocery shopping, the frunk makes it easier to carry everything you need.
Furthermore, the frunk opens up new possibilities for customisation and personalisation. Some EV manufacturers have started offering frunk accessories, such as organisers, dividers, and even built-in coolers. These accessories not only help you keep your belongings organised but also add a touch of convenience and luxury to your EV ownership experience.
Another advantage of the frunk is its potential for improving safety. In the event of a collision, the frunk acts as a buffer zone between the passengers and the impact, providing an extra layer of protection. This additional crumple zone can help absorb some of the impact energy and reduce the risk of injury to the occupants.
Major Players in the EV Market Offering Frunks
Here are some notable examples of EV cars with frunks:
a.) Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is an electric crossover, and it’s due to arrive on Australian shores in late 2023. It may not have a particularly large EV frunk at 4.7 ft.³ (or 133 L), but Ford recommends filling the space with ice and taking your favourite beverages on your next trip. The plastic liner has a drain plug, so you can simply allow the ice to melt when you’re done. Interestingly, the frunk capacity represents only about one-sixth of the total cargo capacity (which is 30 ft.³ or 849 L).
b.) Ford F150 Lightning Electric Ute
Still, Ford is not as stingy with its EV frunk space when it comes to other models. The Ford F150 Lightning electric pickup (ute) could be heading for Australian showrooms, and it features what the company calls a “mega power frunk.” It has 14 ft.³ (396 L) of space, which is much larger than the space of a typical sedan’s boot. The F150 has independent power outlets in the front area and is designed to be watertight, making it one of the most innovative EV frunks on the market.
What about Tesla, the EV market leader? For the Model 3, Tesla recommends never loading more than 50 kg into the front trunk, which measures 3.1 ft.³ (or 88 L). The Model Y is slightly larger at 4.1 ft.³ or 117 L and once again designed for up to 50 kg of storage. The Model S has a much larger frunk capacity, designed for up to 136 kg of weight, at 5.3 ft.³ or 150 L.
d.) Frunkless Models
Some companies opt to forego the EV frunk altogether. For example, Volkswagen has put its air conditioning components under the bonnet instead in its ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5 models. In doing so, designers have moved this equipment forward to increase the size of the passenger cabin instead.
Other companies forego the EV frunk as well, including BMW and Mercedes. The number one automaker in the world doesn’t seem convinced either, as Toyota’s new BZ4X, an electric vehicle designed from the ground up and the first of its kind for the Japanese company, will be frunk-free. Some observers have criticised the company for this design, as the rear storage space is less than that of other electric crossovers. Like Volkswagen, Toyota has instead put the HVAC system and the 12-volt service battery up front.
As you can see, manufacturers take a very diverse view when it comes to EV cars with frunks. Some go to town and give you plenty of space, while others ignore the concept. Many companies provide a relatively small frunk, and it should be worth checking out this database compiled by the Auto Knowledge website for more insight. For example, it shows that the 2022 Volvo C40 electric model only has 0.74 ft.³ of space (just 20 L).
Comparing the Frunk Options - Things to Consider.
● When comparing the frunk options of different EV models, there are various factors to consider. These include the size and shape of the frunk, ease of access, and overall storage capacity. Additionally, features such as frunk lighting, power outlets, or dedicated compartments for specific items also vary between models.
● While the frunk is a desirable feature in electric vehicles, it is important to consider the cost implications. The inclusion of a frunk in an EV adds to the manufacturing and assembly process, potentially increasing the overall cost of the vehicle.
While the added upfront cost may be a consideration, many EV owners find the benefits and convenience outweigh the price difference.
It is essential for potential EV owners to research and test-drive different models to determine which frunk option best suits their needs. The dimensions and design of the frunk may make a difference when it comes to transporting specific items, so it's crucial to consider these aspects before making a purchase.
In conclusion, the frunk is a valuable addition to electric vehicles, providing practical storage solutions and enhanced convenience for EV owners. As EV manufacturers continue to innovate, the frunk will likely become a more common feature across various EV models. With the benefits it offers, the frunk further strengthens the case for transitioning to electric vehicles.