The front trunk is the most divisive feature in electric cars

The front trunk is the most divisive feature in electric cars

The “motor” that comes standard with most electric cars proves to be the best kind of drive in marketing: a motor that runs on its own.

nothing The “future of transportation” screams like an 80 mph sushi bar.

At least that’s the way stronghold It markets a front box the size of a refrigerator, which comes standard in two of them electric car, complete with drain. Seafood isn’t your favorite thing? Ford suggests loading it up with 1,000 chicken wings.

It’s still early days in the race for electric supremacy, and while engineers have been quick to improve driving ranges and charging speeds, they remain split over the front trunk. Roughly a third of the 30 or so EV models on sale in we It has replaced the feature in recognition of its novelty and utility—after all, “frunk” is one of the few things EVs offer that a gas-powered car can’t. However, another third of the models skip frunk altogether, freeing up cabin space on a bet that customers who used to live homeless won’t order one when they go electric.

Franks are not new to the auto industry. Motor models in the back of SentencesLike the defunct Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvair, it has always offered a front box rather than a rear box. But for the first time, electric vehicles are allowing drivers to get the best of both – and automakers are reacting accordingly. Ford’s plug-in electric F-150 Lightning pickup has the most storage space on offer, but even some of the smaller, sportier electric vehicles are designed to haul larger cargo where the engine was supposed to be. The Lucid Air has a 7.1-cubic-foot recess in the front, roughly the size of a freezer box, while Tesla’s Model Y Bar extends to 4.1 cubic feet, a reasonably sized wine fridge.

As such, frunk has become the defining calling card for a new type of vehicle that doesn’t explicitly display its novelty. Nobody can see the huge battery or electric motors under the hood of the electric car, but the cavernous frunk is hard to miss. with a constant current of Social media Content, feature proves to be the best kind of marketing engine: an engine that works on its own.

There is the standard frunk flex: ice and beer. Then more daring: durian fruit, for example, or pumpkin. Seasonal: Heaps of candy behind giant teeth. And the bewilderment: it seems that the owners of the frank are obliged to lock themselves in the cabin at least once, like little children in a sandbox. There’s even a #frunkpuppy Instagram direction, which is exactly what you might expect.

However, cargo-free electric vehicles are also popular. None of BMW’s new electric skates – the iX SUV and i4 sedan – have a storage box. Nor is Mercedes’ EQS sedan, which won’t even let customers hood out on their electric cars without a deep YouTube search and some ill-advised repairs. Mercedes engineers have gone so far as to design a side panel for drivers to replenish windshield wiper fluid.

“From our point of view, the trunk is too large,” said spokeswoman Kathleen Decker. “The feedback we receive is very positive.”

The Nissan Leaf, one of the oldest and best-selling electric cars to date, did not have any luxury car, because it was built using a traditional gas-powered car as its base. But Nissan’s Ariya SUV, which will begin shipping to dealers later this year, doesn’t have one either. Not even Toyota’s bZ4X, an electric car built from scratch.

The rationale for car-free automakers is that filling the front of a car with gear and gadgets makes the cockpit more spacious. Mercedes, for example, has an air purification system where there may be a trunk. Toyota’s bZ4X has an HVAC system and a 12-volt battery up front, creating a cabin as spacious as the Rav4, a much larger car.

“All of these components have to be put somewhere,” said Tom Kretschman, a senior technologist at Toyota. education Scheme. “And by putting it in front, you’re not really changing the outlook for this SUV.”

Bozy Tatarevich, a racing car mechanic and auto journalist, prefers the electric car without a car. “I am a tall person and you have more legroom and feet,” he said. “And as a mechanic, I much prefer opening the hood and having easier access to whatever I have for service.”

Meanwhile, Denver-based Erin Persaud is recalling the Kia EV6, which is around 12-packs, which is disappointing. “Honestly, we didn’t use it,” she said. “My kids plan to put snacks in there.”

Not all electric car enthusiasts are diplomats. Both BMW And the mercedes They were criticized for not fully embracing the thing. John Rettinger, host of the eponymous YouTube channel reviewing cars and other technologies, ordered a Mercedes EQS a few months ago. When the deal went wrong due to the dealer’s high selling price, he bought a Rivian truck, in part because of the freight space it offered up front. “If I’m looking at an electric car that doesn’t have a front box, it might have been a mistake, I think there’s an engineering problem,” Rettinger said. “Or it’s built on a platform that wasn’t designed to be all-electric.” The argument that most consumers don’t want or don’t They need someone to whom you feel condescending – “like a pat on the head.”

Jason Vinsky, World Health Organization produces the Youtube Engineering Series Explained, the lack of a storage bin is the most frustrating thing about the BMW i4, mainly because there is a hollow under the hood large enough to hold a rolling suitcase.

In fact, the Internet full of DIY pirates Explain how food tastes informally. For example, Hyundai’s Kia Niro and Kona EVs were born rimless, but some diligent buyers have cracked together a solution using 3D-printed mounts and a rubber boot. In the electric vehicle ecosystem, nature finds a way.

So what is the future of the Franks? Laycee Schmidtke, an industry consultant who also reviews vehicles on YouTube’s Miss GoElectric platform, believes that car-free electric vehicles will fade away within a few years as auto managers start sourcing smaller components.

“Legacy automakers often have existing supply agreements or economies of scale that can be strong incentives for them to squeeze less than optimal hardware into their electric vehicle platforms,” ​​she said. “As more automakers develop platforms that are exclusive to electric vehicles, I can see a future in which franks are standard fare.”

For now, the safest space in the front debate seems to be the middle. About a third of electric vehicles in the US market today offer a relatively small mattress—about 2 cubic feet or less. That’s big enough to check the “frunk” box among potential buyers, but just barely.

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