Transportation Systems by Rob Bodnar:

Battery Electric Truck (BET), Hybrid Electric Truck (HET), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Truck (PHET), Fuel Cell Electric Truck (FCET), and Rechargeable Energy Storage Systems (RESS) for Pickup Trucks.

There are numerous energy configurations for electric powered vehicles and this particular design study will concentrate solely on pickup trucks. The traditional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) truck will be changing due to the forthcoming world wide vehicle electrification era ~2021 on. Here are some of my designs.

What problems are we solving with an electric pickup truck? Trucks are considered utilitarian workhorses, used for towing, construction and hauling of cargo. Batteries would be easily depleted when towing a large load. A Battery Electric Truck (BET) will most likely have a Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) onboard including the possibility of “battery swaps” as standard equipment, and should be combined with hybrid fuel cells. A Hybrid fuel cell can re-generate the on-board / auxiliary batteries, allowing the truck extended range, increased towing capacity, auxiliary power for tools, electricity for recreational activities. Torque performance is increased by electric motors compared to ICE’s, the rear end differential will be simplified as well, as the entire platform is a blank slate.

All wheel drive and 4×4 performance is regulated with software torque curves and electronic slippage from the electric motors are outstanding. An electric truck can be configured in many different ways compared to traditional internal combustion engines (ICE’s). The simple design of electric motors allows form to follow function. Since there is no longer a traditional engine, the large hoods of yesteryear are not required and will allow more room for cargo. Let’s take a look at some existing designs and re-arrange some of the elements before the design process and have some fun!

Battery Electric Truck (BET) Design Studies

The “Bullnoze” truck design is the result of moving the cabin higher and forward, increasing the bed length to an estimated 7′-9′ instead of the traditional 5′-8′. There is no need for a large oversized front trunk (Frunk) which could be cumbersome for smaller stature users to get cargo in and out of. A small front storage compartment will meet most people’s needs. A set of double-side entry doors in the truck bed gives the user access to the pickup bed to safely load, store and secure cargo.

The Bullnoze design takes elements of simplification and minimalism to electrified trucks. Familiarity of design shapes in people’s memory will help new BET users adjust to the new technology. When BETs hit the streets, people will be able to see the differentiation between an ICE and a BET with a Bullnoze. Striking or shocking futuristic truck designs could be disruptive to the general public and possibly cause distractions on the public roadways leading to an increase in accidents. This would set back the evolution of EVs in general. Therefore, design continuity and automotive history and heritage is important.

Safety is a top concern and while futuristic wild styling is exciting, legacy pickup truck owners will find cyber stuff a detractor. Embracing the styling of “tradition” and “heritage” to pickup truck electrification technology can be nicely blended together. Shocking designs will put most people off and regular folks will desire design continuity of styling through this first generation of BETs. Here are some proportional design studies.

Bulldog. Stubby. Fun.

Bulldog Dark Night Crew Cab: The main crew cabin has been raised and moved forward, and slightly angled, the box bed becomes significantly longer. The crew cabin is larger and taller than the previous design due to the battery pack. Extra large tires with 4 wheel steering. Driver vision is improved with larger side windows by being closer to the nose of the truck. Camera and sensor assistance around the vehicle. Image:BET_1101

Utilitarian = Useful not Glamorous.

Bullnoze First Responder Crew Cab: Extra long bed length for emergency gear and cargo. Integrated storage shelves for medical and rescue gear. Image: BET_1501.

Coronado Beach Edition Bullnoze Pickup Truck.

Coronado Bullnoze Single Cab: Beach adventure awaits with this hi-cab forward design with added double door access to the longer truck bed, a dampened flip-down utility side step is included for on-boarding. The front grill contains the battery cooling/warming unit, with a flip-down storage compartment. Seating is three person’s across. Image: BET_1001.

Practical + Useful.

Bullnoze Adventure Crew Cab: Side door access to for camping gear cargo without having to climb in through the tailgate. Image: BET_1201

Bulldog Weekender.

Bulldog Dark Night Weekender with single bed door access. Image:BET_1301

A longer truck bed.

Sketches and design exploration will be coming soon.

Cargo Loading made easier.

Transporting of cargo is important for pickup truck owners. Cargo has always been difficult to load and unload into pickup track beds. Climbing in and out of the tailgate and lifting cargo can be difficult. There are a plethora of gizmos and gadgets to assist persons getting in and out of the truck bed. This presents a safety concern, and could damage the cargo. What if the truck bed lowered to the ground automatically? Here is an automated motorized lift in the pickup bed, the truck bed is much closer to the ground for easy loading.

Bullnoze Dark Night Street Edition Crew Cab with optional Boxlift: The extended truck bed easily fits a 7′-3″ long motorcycle. One person can load and secure cargo without the need for cumbersome ramps. Usually transporting a motorcycle, a trailer is used. This design eliminates the need to tow a trailer. Image:BET_1400

Cargo bed length 7′-9′

There are various ways to achieve the boxlift in a BET through simple off the shelf components, we can make this work.

eStickShift with Haptic Feedback

Legacy sports car enthusiasts love manual stick shift vehicles. Most sports car “purists” believe that manual transmissions represent true sports cars. There are thousands of sports car clubs, racing events and classic car collectors number in the millions. The experience of utilizing hands and feet is engaging to the driver, and makes them feel that the car and the driver are one. The driver experiences thrill and exhilaration when they have full control of the vehicle. Racing fans get world wide attention for NASCAR, Grand Prix, Daytona 500, Le Mans, and Indy 500.

Tomorrow’s EV’s eliminate the need for a manual stick shifter, however millions of people will disagree. Sports car manufacturers are eliminating manual function due to a technical revolution that “shifts faster than a human being” which is a dual clutch automatic transmissions. What if we could have a EV manual stick shift and foot operated clutch as an option? We can do this with a few smart devices coupled with software controlling the engine and “regenerative downshifting” with a fully automatic dual clutch transmission or EV.

I envision a competitive sport group community involved in racing competitively utilizing modified EV eStick Shifters.

The eStick device would be a new invention, software programming will play a key role for success and safety.

Next up: Skateboards, Batteries, Roof Racks, and Crash Prevention.