A cardboard box found a new lease on life after being recruited by Ford to help develop a new feature known as the Mega Power Frunk. The all-electric 2022 F-150 Lightning pickup’s front trunk, also called a frunk, is the largest in the truck industry – with 14.1 cu.-ft. of cargo space and maximum payload capacity of 400 lbs.
What many don’t know is the space began life as a simple cardboard box with a cutout front door and a liftable hood.
It began back in February 2018 with Team Edison – Ford’s dedicated battery electric vehicles incubator that incorporates close collaboration between different teams to find solutions to customer needs. A small group of young user experience designers set out to California, where they sat down with Ford truck and fleet customers to talk about how they might use such a feature. The prototype, made of cardboard for simplicity and cost and built in about a day using scissors and hot glue, was brought to every meeting to help customers visualize the opportunity.
In the studio, Greg Ardisana, design strategy director, passenger vehicles, and other Team Edison research members worked as consultants alongside engineering and design whenever they had customer use questions, which led to a close-knit collaboration between groups.
The additional permanent storage keeps valuables out of sight, is lockable, and secure. Fleet owners saw their crews using the space to haul bags of concrete and charge their electric tools at construction sites. Customers also wanted lights to see at night, electric outlets, a work surface, and optimized access height to make the space truly usable.
There were challenges. Due to cargo volume numbers provided by vehicle architecture engineers, the first was the size of the frunk. It had to fit two golf bags, but this meant sacrificing a symmetrical frunk design.
The team treated it like a cooler box that needed to be durable and easy to clean, and have a rubberized floor with anti-slide properties. Once the frunk fit the main shell, finding ways to add all of the features on the customer wish list was the next hurdle.
Lighting began as typical trunk lighting. It was functional, but the “wow” factor was missing. So the team pivoted and installed truck bed lamps in the frunk hood. The lamps offered a lighting source on the inner side of the hood, which prevented cargo from blocking lights and did away with unwanted glare and shadowing of the load area.
Four electrical outlets and two USB chargers were added to provide versatility for work and play. 2.4 kilowatts of power are available for everything from laptops to power tools and other devices.
Lastly, access to lift and remove objects from the frunk had to be waist-height, as customers did not want to have to reach over the truck’s bed rails for their equipment. The waterfall grille was integrated into the hood by the engineering and design teams who were able to create an accessibility height similar to the rear cargo area of a Ford Expedition. The Mega Power Frunk has a powered open and close system also with six different ways to open it, including from your phone on the FordPass app as well as through an integrated push button on the grille.
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