A new patent application from Ford reveals the automaker's idea for a vehicle's front-mounted trunk (or frunk). This solution could be a handy item for the automaker's upcoming electric F-150, but it's rarely clear exactly how a company intends to use a patented idea. Car and Driver first discovered the listing.
Gallery: Ford Front Trunk Patent
Ford's patent application describes a front-mounted storage area with an opening grille that would provide easy access to the space. Inside, there would be movable bins to separate the owner's cargo. Banks of lights illuminate the interior of this area. The automaker notes that this layout would be especially applicable for an electric vehicle because multiple drivetrain configurations could work while retaining the same front structure.
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The accompanying patent images provide a good idea of what Ford is thinking with this idea. According to the company, the front end would outwardly look like a traditional, combustion vehicle. However, it would actually be a closed structure because the area needs to be water-tight, and there's no need for airflow into the space. The grille would somehow move out of the way to provide access inside the slot.
The moving bins have handles, and a person can pull them so that they extend out of the front of the vehicle. These cubbies would also be able to pivot so that a person could push over one in front and reach in to get a bin in the back. The lights inside the frunk would illuminate when opening the grille, in addition to a button on the keyfob and a switch in the vehicle's interior.
For security, the system may use a proximity sensor that's looking for the keyfob or owner's smartphone so that if someone reaches into one of the bins without one of these items, then an alarm goes off.
Ford filed for this patent on October 29, 2018, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office didn't publish it until December 17, 2019.