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back to article Yee-hah! Ford demos electric pick-up truck

Grab your shotgun, a six-pack and smell-hound because a 400+ bhp electric version of Ford's F-150 pick-up has been unveiled at the 2008 Speciality Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. The project is a collaboration between Ford and British company PML-Flightlink and is powered by PML's Hi-Pa Drive system, which …

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Stick a generator on the back

long range as well! :-)

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Flame

Yeehaw

aslong as you fit your sisters in the front, it can do burnouts and it comes in faded red then i think it`ll have a market in america for sure =D

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Happy

Excellent

This is the right direction for electric to be going in, getting equivalent power first, then working on storage and longevity. Starting at the other end like the godawful g-whizz-a-likes is just turning the majority of consumers off.

This Ford, however, maybe take it a bit far (though i know it's just a 'look what we can do' model). How about 200bhp, in a smaller car, with greater range. Then you're hitting the right market.

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Bronze badge

40KW battery pack and 4 x 100BHp

Precisely how does a 40KW battery pack drive 4 x 100Bhp motors? I make the latter 300KW. That's unless the battery pack is 40KWh in which case it will allow flat-out power for about 10 minutes (whihc is just about believable, albeit at staggering draw-rate).

Also I fail to see how putting 4 x 30Kg motors and a hugely heavy battery pack into a tank-like vehicle can be considered "green". All that electric power has to be generated somewhere, and we aren't xactly in the situation where there are huge surplusses of cheap electric power.

I think the author of this particular rose (or green) -tinted spectacled article deserves the same cowboy by-ine chosen for the headline of this article as it exhibits a somewhat reckless attitude to either basic units or the viability of what is quoted here. That's not to mention the point that if being green means anything, it is about being efficient - which is not what this monster appears to be.

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Coat

Much as I'm not a fan

of pick-ups, big American trucks or the chances of "demo" vehicles being made commercially,

THIS FREAKING ROCKS! I can honestly say that I'm very impressed.

Now that yanks have to make a version that'll take corners...

It's the checked one with the gun rack on it with a gun rack on it.

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Coat

Ford is as usually full of it

Electric in-wheel motors have been a standard feature on mining supertrucks like the 80ton+ BelAz or Cat for decades. A 320 ton mining monster does not look as small or underpowered and the financial results of Cat are definitely better than what Ford has been showing...

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Unhappy

40kWh battery

Mmm, 400bhp is 300kW, approx. (1hp = 746 watts) I reckon that on full power, that 40kWh battery will last about 8 minutes. It must go bloody fast if it covers 150 miles in that time.

Perhaps someone smarter than me can point out where I put the decimal point in the wrong place, because I'm sure Ford marketing wouldn't exagerate.

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40Kw = 400bhp

Yes, clearly something not quite right with those numbers. We will seek clarification on the precise size and capacity of the F150's battery pack and update the story asap.

This is what comes of filing stories after having been up all night watching the US election results come in!

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Silly people,

How far does your car go on a tankful if you drive flat out all the time?

NOT VERY FAR!

The same applies for all vehicles, not just internal combustion engined ones.

At a constant 70Mph a pickup like that is probably using about 15Kw.

A more aerodynamic shape could drop that considerably.

Electric motors are more efficient than Internal Combustion as Electric produces peak torque at zero Rpm, exactly where ya want it.

Once they get the storage and generation issues licked (it's coming folks) you will be able to see IC cars in museums and at classic car rallies.

As for the YeeHaw factor, the only reason so many Yanks (and their Confederate allies) drive Pick'em Up Trucks is that they are taxed as a commercial vehicle which makes them cheaper than a car or SUV.

They are also built cheap and nasty.

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Coat

Suggestion

Make it a diesel-electric (like a locomotive, or the above-mentioned mining trucks), using the battery as a buffer, and retain the ability to plug it in. Drop the HP to around 250 so the battery lasts longer. (the instant-on torque of the electric motors will more than make up for the reduction in HP, especially when towing) Add some aerodynamics (like Dodge did with the new RAM), and I think we have a winner.

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Handling and ride

Small problem - adding 30Kg to the unsprung weight of each wheel.

Unsprung weight is always bad news. It generally has bad effects on both ride and handling, which is why an important part of car design has concentrated on reducing unsprung weight for the last several decades and why racing cars often have inboard brakes.

Now, if each wheel had its own, inboard motor and drive shaft.....

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Boffin

Details details

Looks like people are thirsting for the actual facts here.

The in wheel motors can provide 400+ bhp. This is mostly used for braking. You would need super capacitors to provide this for acceleration and will probably be needed to store the power generated from braking.

The generator is not part of the battery pack but is part of the in wheel motors which are pretty fancy bits of kit if you check the details: http://www.hipadrive.com/oursystem.html . For the Volvo Recharge traditional breaks were also used but PML Flightlink describe them as unnecessary.

I'd like a magnifying glass for detail but the scientist will have to do!!!

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Bronze badge

@big boomer

No way a tank like that uses just 15KW to do 70MPH. If that was the case, and the press release referred to 40KWh (and how much credence do you give a company that can't get basics like getting the units correct) then, according to your estimate, it would be able to drive at 70MPH for two and two-thirds hours giving a range of almost 190 miles. They are claiming only 100 miles, so congratulations on almost doubling the range just like that. Perhaps you were thinking of the streamlined version.

In reality, whoever heard of companies of this sort underestimating range? I suspect 15KW might be closer to the truth at 35MPH, which does at least roughly correlate with 100 miles. however, throw in a few hills, some stop-start and accelerating this huge chunk of metal with the aerodynamics of a barn door and you might be hunting out your nearest recharging point a lot faster.

Also, if the aim is to have 300bhp on tap, then you will presumably be using a significant amount of it at times. A 40KWh battery pack in this would be rather like putting a 4 gallon fuel tank in the petrol/gasoline powered version. Let's see how far that will take you along the freeway at 70MPH

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Alert

Battery

That should have read 40kWh rather than 40kw. Apologies for any confusion.

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Thumb Up

The range is pathetic...

... so they need an engine-powering-a-generator, but other than that, this vehicle rocks! I love the independant wheel drive, and the efficiancy of illiminating the drive train. This illiminates a ton of complexity from the automobile, which should drive the cost down (if not for that stupid battery pack), and TCO as well! I often wondered why Toyota made the Prius "battery assist" to the conventional drive train, effectively making the whole drive train *more* complex, especially with the regenerative breaking.

Anyway, it seems like this is the way forward for all automobiles. Batteries are a crappy storage mechanism, but the advantage to this electric-drive concept is that you should be able to drop in a generator, or fuel cell, or nuclear battery if you wanted, and leave the rest of the car completely intact!

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder....

if Chevy will do this with the Hummer?

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I'll be waiting

For these to hit the road in the nothern US where they have been using calcium chloride on the roads in recent years in addition to the usual sodium chloride. Give them a year or two for the rust and decay to set in and see where all that leccy stuff fits up. Er, mate, your motors are all rusted up and the regenerative circuits are all rotted out and you best just buy a new truck.

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Canyonero!

Twelve yards long, two lanes wide

Sixty-five tons of American pride

Canyonero!

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redneck argot

I recommend 'hound dog' or 'bird dog'. I've lived in Texas most of my life (owning multiple pickups) but I don't recall hearing the phrase 'smell-hound'.

And now the obligatory "Howdy, y'all!"

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Flame

Set the wayback machine to the 1970s/80s.

And set the location to be Birmingham (Sparkhill, Evelyn Road iirc).

Lucas Electric Vehicles (later Lucas Chloride) took a small quantity of production Bedford CF vans and made them electric. Same with a few Leyland Sherpa vans. Pre-Internerd so writeups are hard to find, but there are a few.

A little while after that, Ford and GE used the Lucas battery and drivetrain technology in a modified Mercury LN7. Nice to see Ford getting back round to it again shortly before they go bust.

Sadly, twenty years on from the LN7, UK plc mostly don't do that kind of engineering/tech thing now. We're second in command of the world's financial services business, don'tcha know, and courtesy of these masters of the universe, engineering in general and Lucas in particular no longer exists in this country.

Thanks Gordon and George, we love you too. May you burn in Hell forever.

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Go

Yes, at full power a 400bhp vehicle does go fast

I'm not sure why some of you folk think the full power of a vehicle has to be used for a quick jaunt to the corner store. Highway speeds in a car use about 5 to 75 horsepower depending on the weight of the vehicle and the incline of the road. The ability to get to that speed in a reasonable time with some cargo is why vehicles use more. Don't expect to get the rated range and efficiency of any vehicle if you put it on a drag strip and race it flat-out all the time.

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Peter

Lots of people showing their poor eductation levels in the sciences.

When was the last time you had your foot flat on the floor for more than 20 seconds. You would be well over the speed limit in most cars by ten.

These motors can recover 85% of the energy used in acceleration, so when stopping or going down hill, with fast charge batteries most of it is recovered,

Weight makes little difference, its rolling resistance and air drag that affects range. Note an IC vehicle can throws up to 30% of the energy away as heat in the brakes. On a well to wheel energy usage, electric drive uses half the energy for the same performance. This would reduce the US oil requirement to 40% of todays levels.

Note accelerating a vehicle to say 60mph in 5 seconds or 5 minutes takes the same amount of energy only the peek power requirement changes.

PML makes several sizes of inwheel motors, the best being 120Kw and 700+nm of torque. So I think this truck is closer to +700hp this peek power is needed as there is no gear box to act as a torque amplfier, as on an IC car.

These inwheel motors/generatos/brakes are within 2kg of a normal wheel setup as there are no drive shafts, brake calipers, brake rotors and most of the wheel is motor, as the tyre fits on a rim around the outside. Think no brake seals, pads/brake rotors to wear out or liquids to top up or burn in a crash.

Active cruise, traction control, inteligent 4 wheel drive are just software.

This is a paradyme shift in road car design and makes all other road vehicles old fashioned and many of the coming new ones, especialy the Toyota joke 6 miles on battery.

If you really want to see what can be done with these inwheel motors see PML Flightlinks web site and their BMW electric Mini O-60mph 5 seconds 150mph top

400 miles on battery 900 miles with the small range extender 20kw, under boot floor generator 80mpg when runnig. Even makes BMWs own electric attempt look poor. Weight 200 kg up on standard mini, but still carries 4 people and luggage.

The future is here, just will take a little time for people to realise it.

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@Peter

1: "Lots of people showing their poor eductation levels in the sciences."

It's a common problem, sadly, sometimes even among those who think they have a clue, and even in folks who may be experts in their usual field of competence.

2: "These motors can recover 85% of the energy used in acceleration,"

Highly unlikely. Lots of energy is lost unrecoverably, to drag, rolling resistance of tyres, friction, air resistance, etc (add your favourite). Otherwise once a vehicle got to (say) 30mph on a level road it would stay there for ages and need no more energy input. Real life's not like that. And that's before we look at the (in)efficiency of each energy conversion in the trip from energy going into the battery all the way to kinetic energy of the vehicle.

3: "when stopping or going down hill, with fast charge batteries most of it is recovered"

Some of the available kinetic energy can be turned back into electrical energy, then into chemical energy in the battery, then into electricity again for accelerating again (each conversion being somewhat lossy). The available kinetic energy when braking will generally be lots less than the total electrical energy put into accelerating the vehicle. Downhill slopes are an apparent exception, but in general downhill slopes are accompanied with an equal and opposite uphill slope which needs *more* energy to ascend than can be recovered in the descent. That's thermodynamics for you.

There's another important thing about hills (and multi storey car parks), and that's how you get up them (especially from a 0mph start!). The speed at which you can climb slopes is limited by the available power at the wheels - for a given power, the steeper the slope, the slower the climb. Power at your wheels in turn is limited by the available energy sources - battery and engine. On a non-trivial climb the continuous (as distinct from burst) power ratings of every element in the supply chain will also hit limits which they don't in a 0-60 dash on the level. Ever been stuck behind an electric milkfloat going (very slowly) up a hill, even though on the flat it would happily do 25mph?

4: "an IC vehicle can throws >up to< 30% of the energy away as heat in the brakes. "

Note "up to". 1% can be "up to". Anyway, in short bursts, maybe it comes towards 30%. Not on a sustained basis and/or when driven sensibly. Actually, when stopping a traditional vehicle, pretty much 100% of the kinetic energy before the brakes are applied has (by definition) to end up as heat in the brakes, so picking 30% is a bit weird. Sadly, by the time the brakes go on, a lot of energy has already been lost irrecoverably (see [3]).

5: "Note accelerating a vehicle to say 60mph in 5 seconds or 5 minutes takes the same amount of energy only the peek power requirement changes."

More peak power gets you to 60mph quicker, but the "total energy input is the same" is only true if you again can ignore the unrecoverable losses mentioned in [3].

6: "no drive shafts, brake calipers, brake rotors <...>"

How does the "parking brake" work? Does "unsprung weight" mean anything in your world? Surely the extra mass in the wheels (vs ordinary wheels) needs more substantial (heavier) structures to connect it (and keep it connected) to the chassis/body.

The concept is indeed lovely, but at least in places where there may be techies reading, please stick to facts and leave out most of the hype.

Sample fact: as various folks including yourself have said, traditional vehicle engines have to be sized to provide the peak power demand needed for reasonable acceleration whereas a battery plus regenerative-electric-motor plus diesel/petrol hybrid combo potentially has different rules (as the Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine were pointing out back in the late 1970s, though no one was listening).

"PML are designers and manufacturers of electic motors, joysticks and drive systems."

"Reliabile controllers offering precise, smooth control"

Speeling mistakes and tryping errors in your post here are one thing, but on your corporate website they don't look good (what are spell checkers and proof readers for?).

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Bronze badge

Educational shortcomings...

Lots of people showing their poor eductation levels in the sciences.

Well my BSc is in Physics from Imperial College in London - let's see what I can remember...

"When was the last time you had your foot flat on the floor for more than 20 seconds. You would be well over the speed limit in most cars by ten."

Fair enough, but violent acceleration wastes energy as do very high current draws in batteries due to internal resistance (due to the I-squared x R dissipation). Highly powered vehicles waste more this way...

"These motors can recover 85% of the energy used in acceleration, so when stopping or going down hill, with fast charge batteries most of it is recovered"

So ft a vehicle is accelerated straight up to 90MPH and back down to zero (we'll leave the energy loss in keeping it going until later) then we get 85% back through regenerative braking? That's a staggering level of thermodynamic efficiency for the extraction of power from the battery, losses in the drive train, losses in the regenerative braking, charging circuits and unavoidable losses in the batteries themselves. 85% sounds like fantasy land - in any case, that's not where most power goes...

"Weight makes little difference, its rolling resistance and air drag that affects range. Note an IC vehicle can throws up to 30% of the energy away as heat in the brakes. On a well to wheel energy usage, electric drive uses half the energy for the same performance. This would reduce the US oil requirement to 40% of todays levels."

Weight directly affects rolling resistance - pretty well linearly, although this at least recognises air drag as an unrecoverable loss. The suggestion that using oil to generate electricity to charge batteries to drive vehicles as being 2.5 times as efficient as using it direct in vehicles is highly dubious. Power stations are more thermodynamically efficient than engines in cars, but not by that factor. Also electric generators on cars are more thermodynamically efficient than driving wheels direct, but it adds weight. Then there's the energy costs of all those batteries (which wear out too so that's an ongoing cost)..

I know what would save half of US oil consumption in vehicles - that's to get the average efficiency up to what EU legislation is mandating for standard powered vehicles in 20012...

"Note accelerating a vehicle to say 60mph in 5 seconds or 5 minutes takes the same amount of energy only the peek power requirement changes."

That's untrue - as the acceleration is directly proportional to the current draw off of the batteries, and energy loss through resistive loads (including the internal resistance of the battery) is I-squared R then accelerating harder does waste proportionately more heat - of course the current draw for a given acceleration also goes up with weight too. You could put in heavier conductors, but that adds weight and so on. Incidentally, higher current draw and non-linear energy loss also affects dragging heavier weights up hills too..

"PML makes several sizes of inwheel motors, the best being 120Kw and 700+nm of torque. So I think this truck is closer to +700hp this peek power is needed as there is no gear box to act as a torque amplfier, as on an IC car."

This must be an odd electric motor,as they usually produce peak torque at zero revs. You don't need gearboxes on electric motors to act as "torque amplifiers" - a new term to me. I though that was just called gearing down. Electric motors in bogey sets have been used in trains for decades.

"These inwheel motors/generatos/brakes are within 2kg of a normal wheel setup as there are no drive shafts, brake calipers, brake rotors and most of the wheel is motor, as the tyre fits on a rim around the outside. Think no brake seals, pads/brake rotors to wear out or liquids to top up or burn in a crash."

30KG equivalent to a normal wheel set up? What on earth do Ford make them of - depleted uranium? You might be on stronger ground if you took into account the weight of the engine and gearbox, but the wheel assembly - be serious. The suspension setup is going to be at least as heavy given those motors. You'll save on drive shafts, although I'd hope the motors aren't unsprung weight or this thing is going to need truck-sized dampers. As for the implied absence of brake calipers - well I just hope you don't rely on the regenerative braking for an emergency stop or it will get very messy.

"Active cruise, traction control, inteligent 4 wheel drive are just software."

I'm sure - we'll save you a few Kg that way.

"This is a paradyme shift in road car design and makes all other road vehicles old fashioned and many of the coming new ones, especialy the Toyota joke 6 miles on battery."

Who is decrying dual-mode usage. Just not dinosaurs like this one with 300 wasteful bhp.

"If you really want to see what can be done with these inwheel motors see PML Flightlinks web site and their BMW electric Mini O-60mph 5 seconds 150mph top

400 miles on battery 900 miles with the small range extender 20kw, under boot floor generator 80mpg when runnig. Even makes BMWs own electric attempt look poor. Weight 200 kg up on standard mini, but still carries 4 people and luggage."

Again this might make some sense - but we'll see. At least it's potentially vaguely efficient and not a piece of heavyweight iron willy-waving like this pickup, although I have my doubts about the actual numbers here. I know of no practical electric car that gets anywhere near 400 miles range on batteries alone.

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Wannabe BSc Wankers

Any of you ever picked up a conventional F150 axle/brake end ASM? Especially front 4WD? We won't mention a real truck like an F350/F450/F550...

Braking would not be just regenerative (how quaint!) but active, i.e., running the wheel torque in reverse. Yes, it uses more energy but avoids that messy part at the end just like old fashioned centuries old carbon spewing waste heat brake systems.

Sure, a Mini would get more humans from A to B more efficiently (I want the metallic flake copper coloured AWD version!) but that pikey doesn't hunt if you need to haul anything significant, or need an American Chick Magnet.

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Anonymous Coward

About time we had a real looking "green" motor. Normally they look and are wimpy.

It's about time someone made a real proper looking "green" car that doesn't look like a wimpy tree huggy boring jelly mould of "holier than thou" nonsense :) I've seen very few planet saver cars that actually have genuine sex appeal and desirability. If companies want to genuinely make and sell such cars, they still need to appeal to more than the overly conscientous types. They need to appeal to most folks. That means beautiful, macho/aggressiver or sublimely feminine and sensual etc. The rules of appealing to people don't change just because of "green" concerns. They merely add a little selling benefit to the end of the list. Well done Ford :). Btw if you dispute the point about how ugly the majority of said zero emission cars are, go check out what's out there. The vast majority look terrible. Boring, fugly, "aren't I a good boy buying this wimpy cutesy looking cube car", etc. Tesla is another exception of course and I'm praying that the other motor companies are poised to unleash a hot wave of highly electrifying planet saving sex mobiles upon the world :). After fully recycling older cars so that resources are saved of course.

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Coat

Eletric Bike?

"The aerodynamics of a barn door". Priceless, I spewed my coffee on that one; can´t compare to Tesla roadster...

"Weight makes little difference(...)" It DOES make difference, in the real world, where you have losses of all kinds, as others beautifully commented. Weight won´t make a difference only on the Maglev, mind you. Wait, it DOES, it presumably must spend more energy to make it float, er, hover, er, whatever you name it. More weight means more juice to push it around, period. Inertia sucks (juice).

On another hand, why not eletric motorcycles? Surely, the batteries can be shaped in the monocoque, while the room left for a 1000cc IC engine would fit a 'leccy kit, and more room for batteries, heh? 150bhp wouldn´t be strange on a bike, but I don´t know how much it would weight. If the kit is a bit bigger, a 2000cc Harley Davidson would fit it better then?

Just don´t let Sony make the batteries, or your car/bike might melt and burn or blow up.

Mine is the one with the 13,8kV / 1200A battery charger and a 22400Ah submarine battery strapped in the back.

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Black Helicopters

@Wannabe BSc Winkers

"Braking would not be just regenerative (how quaint!) but active, i.e., running the wheel torque in reverse. " <etc>

Wtf r u on abt? U seen 2 mch Clarkson?

Basic school physics (sounds like you failed either physics or english): you can in principle convert the car's kinetic energy back into chemical energy in the battery but in real life there will be losses along the way, same as there were when the energy was converted from chemical energy to kinetic energy. Therefore whatever energy goes back into the battery from braking WILL be less (typically a lot less) than came out of it for acceleration. If this wasn't the case, perpetual motion would have put the oil companies out of business long ago (oh yeah, I remember, they're suppressing it, like they're suppressing the water-powered cars).

Get a clue, or STFU.

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Paris Hilton

@ac - sony batteries

Just don´t let Sony make the batteries, or your car/bike might melt and burn or blow up.

Yeah, then your crotch rocket will turn into a firecrotch.

Paris, because....

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Coat

Unspring weight

Granted on the unsprung weight.... and the emergency braking. I already assumed this thing had conventional brakes as well, as sometimes stopping might need to be carried out a little more quickly than regenerative braking would allow.

In regards to unsprung weight, how about putting the motors on the frame right next to the wheels, then attach them with conventional CV joints? That is a little more complexity and a little more weight, but still less than in a conventional auto.

Finally, it is pushing it, but I could see a wheel assembly on a truck like this weighing 30kg. Maybe not on your typical Mini, but on a Ford F-250? Yeah, I could see that.

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