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EV frunks are overrated


When VW ID.4 At launch, many people complained about it not having a front trunk, aka “frunk”, as we called this additional storage space. That was understandable, at the time. Many people have been expecting them since Electric CarThank you in no small part Tesla. At moment later, Ford will boast its spacious frunk in horrifying ways (more on that in a bit). However, I understood well, frunks have low practical value and there are better ways to pack a tram when designers realized this, instead of falling for frunk hype.

Of course, Frunks is nothing new and isn’t exclusive to electrical equipment. We’ve been familiar with them for ages in mid- and rear-engine sports car. When you have only two seats and no trunk or cargo area in the back, you have to do with the little space you have. That usually means designers put some cargo space under the hood. As modern electric vehicles begin to gain ground (thanks again, Tesla!) The lack of a large internal combustion engine at the front of the vehicle means more space could be used for storage, especially in while the cars are still designed and packaged similarly to the ICE sedans and hatchbacks we’ve used.

But then there is no frunkless ID.4 came out and it was mocked for not using the front space in the same way, especially when an EV like Ford Mustang Mach-E boasts such a huge and versatile storage space under the hood, complete with a drain plug. Finally, you can serve spicy shrimp or chicken wings from under the hood at your next party. Food poisoning has never been so fun.

This party sucks.

However, frunks are largely inconvenient. First of all, you usually have to open them from inside the car. Some smart vehicles allow you to open it with key fob – or with Porsche TaycanIts “Comfort Access” feature, with a simple swipe gesture. With the aforementioned Mach-E, you have to bend over to the driver’s footrest, pull the hood lever twice, then step out and lift the hood, the same way you would oil in. Mustang 5.0. Another downside, frunks don’t enjoy the same climate-controlled environment as your rear cargo area. Can you imagine what leftover shrimp would smell like after a long drive home from the stadium on a hot day?

I almost never use a car’s frunk if I can avoid it. And, in general I can avoid it. Most EVs have a familiar body style, with a traditional sedan or rear cargo area accessible via raised hatches in hatchbacks or SUVs. They are much larger and easier to use, so I just use them.

I did not find a frunk completely useless, however. When you have an electric pickup like Ford F-150 Lightning, for example, with a large user interface and little or no memory attached, a frunk is really functional. Even a small pile of trash is a good place to store items you hope to rarely use, which you can throw in and forget about until you really need them. It’s ideal for a portable charging cable because you’re more likely to use a wall case and/or public charger for most of your charging sessions. Putting that cell phone cord in means you don’t have to dig it out if it’s buried under luggage or the extra deck in the back. It’s also a good place to put your trusty rope (everyone has some rope that they keep in their car in case of any emergency that requires a rope, right?). Those items don’t take up much space at all, though, so I wouldn’t waste any extra mass.

And there’s a much better way to use that teen space.

When I first sat inside Hyundai Ioniq 5, I was completely dazzled by the sheer cabin space. The front is open and airy, with plenty of room under the dash for legroom or even a bag or lunch box. It really feels like a lounge and the sliding center console makes the front seats feel more comfortable and welcoming. Hyundai can even provide legroom on the driver’s side so you can lean back and relax in the car while sitting at a public charger or waiting for a passenger you missed while running errands. Lots of internal components can get into the passenger space hidden under the hood, where the engine – or a large engine – would go. There’s still a few cubic feet of storage space under the Ioniq 5’s hood, which is perfect for your portable charger and car cord, but the rest of that volume is left to the occupants of the vehicle. The BMW iX one part is completely missing – you don’t even have to open the hood to fill the washer with liquid, as it’s done underneath the swivel that flips up over the nose – and it similarly has a nice, uncluttered front row of seats. Open and engaging. And, of course, you get comfortable, easily accessible cargo space in the back of each of these vehicles.

So unless you’re driving something like Porsche 911 or Chevy Corvette, let’s get rid of the notion that we need a sizable frunk, especially one that’s hard to access. In my experience, they are largely wasted space. There are better things to put under the hood – things we rarely need to see or touch… not shrimp.

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