By on January 27, 2019

Ford is currently on the road to electrification. Right now, the manufacturer is working on an electric crossover based on the Mustang and a new hybrid powertrain. But it hasn’t been particularly forthcoming when it comes to sharing its industry secrets with the public.

Fortunately, an application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office could give us a glimpse into what Ford’s cooking up. While technically filed in July of 2018, the document was officially published just last week and quickly located by the patent-sniffing dogs from our sister site, AutoGuide, showcasing a “twin motor drive system” for hybrid vehicles. The accompanying diagram clearly shows the system mated to a V8, but the filing seems to suggest that the setup could operate with any engine that’s mounted longitudinally. 

Unfortunately, the document is rather vague. The abstract indicates that (in one version of the system) the internal combustion engine would be responsible for driving the rear axle while an electric motor would be responsible for the front. But doesn’t go in to much detail beyond that.

From the USPTO:

Methods and systems are provided for a hybrid electric vehicle including a front-wheel drive system and a rear-wheel drive system. In one example, the rear-wheel drive system includes an internal combustion engine configured to drive rear wheels of the vehicle, and the front wheel drive system includes a first electric motor and a second electric motor mounted directly to opposing sides of the engine. The first electric motor is coupled to a first reduction gearbox to drive a first front wheel of the vehicle, and the second electric motor is coupled to a second reduction gearbox to drive a second front wheel of the vehicle.

That said, there’s no guarantee that this is the system Ford will be running with. And, even if it was, we don’t know where it will be going. While the company has confirmed an electrified F-Series, which could use a hybridized V8, there’s been no such claim made for the Mustang — just a lot of speculation and subtle hints from the automaker. However, with Fiat Chrysler continuing to drop knowledge that the Challenger and Charger will probably offer hybridized power for their next generation, it would make sense that The Blue Oval would try the same thing with the Mustang or perhaps the upcoming crossover it has inspired.

Every automaker seems to be thinking about how to better incorporate electricity and all-wheel drive into its product line these days. As a result, it isn’t a stretch to imagine this patent eventually materializing at Ford’s factories. Though, we would advise you not to get overly hung up on the number of cylinders until the manufacturer says otherwise.

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34 Comments on “Ford Patents Hybridized V8, Could Offer Glimpse Into Future Product...”


  • avatar
    multicam

    “You bought a hybrid? Ugh…”

    “Yeah, but it’s a V8.”

    This is a good idea, Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      Ya mean “I could’ve had a V8”!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      You may recall that GM tried something along these lines at one time where the electric motor was part of the transmission.

      It bombed!

      Discerning buyers tend to choose the most value for their money, even if they don’t care about the price of fuel.

      And MOST Americans do not care about the price of fuel. Oh, they may b!tch, p!ss, moan and complain when they fill up but they’ll buy it no matter what the cost.

      Like me, they are addicted to, and prefer, driving over walking, riding a bike, or taking public transportation.

      The additional cost of this hybridization does not merit it as a better value over the ICE-only V8. GM found that out.

      Whatever happened to those rare few GM sold? I don’t see them on Barrett-Jackson as collector’s items.

      The buyer ends up paying the penalty either way, in extra cost for this hybridization or in the cost of gasoline.

      Not a bargain.

      If Ford and GM want to sell hybridized pick’m ups on a large scale, they need to price them BELOW than of the ICE-only trucks.

      And that’s not financially do-able.

      Make these hybridized trucks $7500 cheaper than the ICE-only trucks, and by golly gee whillickers, I’ll buy one!!!

      • 0 avatar
        gomez

        Per the description in the article (and the sketch), the motors are not in the transmission. The are mounted on either side or the engine to drive the fromt wheels. Basically, each of the front wheels has its own motor and reduction gear while the rear wheels are powered directly my the engine. Very different from the GM 2-mode hybrid transmission. Since most hybrids outside of Toyota and Ford have the electric motors either in the transmission (or between the transmission and engine) and are selling just fine, the concept has not “bombed”.

        And these hybrids don’t need to be priced for less than conventional ICE models (as you stated, not financially do-able). They just have to offer a performance improvement. If this tech were added to a truck and it raised the torque to levels similar to diesels, they would find plenty of buyers.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          My point was that this has been tried before by GM and it didn’t sell. It was intended as a reply to multicam’s “This is a good idea, Ford.”

          Some of the best ideas on the planet didn’t sell after they were implemented.

          Like the GM-2 mode, the Volt, and the Bolt, or even the EV-1. All great ideas that didn’t find plenty of buyers.

          Another exercise in futility.

          • 0 avatar
            gomez

            Great ideas, but GM makes stupid decisions when it comes to EV and hybrid technology. First, they put it in the wrong vehicles. If they had put the Volt powertrain in the Equinox, it would have sold better. Instead, they put it in a rebodied Cruze with a compromised interior . The Bolt powertrain is great but it is in a weird-looking commuter car. If GM had put it in the Trax or Encore, it would have sold better.

            The other problem is awareness. Few of the dealers in my area have the Volt or Bolt on their lots and when the 2-mode hybrids were available, they were special order only. And GM doesn’t advertise their electrified models at all. That works fine for a trendy brand like Tesla, but GM is no Tesla. Honestly, I’ve seen more ads for the Cruze diesel than for the Volt. If the general public doesn’t know the models exist and can’t test drive them, then of course they aren’t going to sell well.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            GM purposely limited the number of their Hybrid trucks as the system was extremely expensive and they had to put them only in top end models to not loose a ton of money.

            However this is not the system that will debut in the 2020 F-150, I expect it to be similar to that which will be debuting in the Explorer this summer. I think both will sell very well if the system works as well as or better than their previous Hybrids.

            I wouldn’t expect to see anything that just received a patent on the market for several years.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            GM didn’t ask me for my opinion but if I were to built a BEV I would use a platform that uses 4 Hall-effect-driven motors (one in each wheel) and use the battery as the floor pan, with a watercooled 4-cyl twin-fuel engine (Gasoline&LPGas) under the hood spinning at a constant 1800 rpm, powering a 12KW AC generator with a 50-amp 230v outlet and 4-20 amp 110v outlets for household use in case of power failures.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            GM fundamentally misunderstood the green car market when they designed the Tahoe Hybrid and Silverado Hybrid.

            The technology was fine. It’s just they failed to target it properly. Turns out green car buyers care about the MPG sticker as much as sports car guys care about 0-60 numbers. The Tahoe/Silverado hybrid did not deliver a proper MPG sticker.

            Instead, GM plastered the vehicles with enormous “HYBRID” stickers on the side. They understood that green car people wanted to make a statement, they just failed to appreciate that green car people are able to tell that 50MPG > 20MPG.

            The vehicle’s traditional buyers don’t seem to be all that enamoured with new technology, or with efficiency. If they were, they wouldn’t have bought a Silverado or a Tahoe in the first place. Those have neber been those vehicle’s strengths.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …GM fundamentally misunderstood the green car market when they designed the Tahoe Hybrid and Silverado Hybrid.

            The technology was fine. It’s just they failed to target it properly. Turns out green car buyers care about the MPG sticker as much as sports car guys care about 0-60 numbers. The Tahoe/Silverado hybrid did not deliver a proper MPG sticker…

            Luke, the hybrid trucks were a big boost in mileage. IIRC, the truck went from 15 to 20 MPG which is, percentage wise, a giant improvement. But as HDC points out, many buyers talk mileage but don’t buy mileage. This is especially true of the big truck market. They are not interested in economy of operation or they would likely be looking elsewhere. Had fuel economy regs been set on a level playing field this type of tech would likely be in most big people movers.

          • 0 avatar
            NECarGuy

            GM’s 2-mode hybrids didn’t sell for several reasons. First there was marginal gain in fuel efficiency and the higher price-point couldn’t justify the difference. Additionally, dealers rarely would “deal” on these vehicles and often would try to charge over window sticker initially.

            The big fly in the ointment came in terms of equipment. When you purchased one of GM’s big SUV’s with the 2-mode hybrid system you paid more and gave a up a ton of features for a small improvement in fuel economy. The SUV’s lacked a spare tire, roof rails, hatch-glass that opened, and fog lights. With the reduction in weight from all the removed parts and the change to aerodynamic for the “hybrid” full size SUVs, I’m betting they could have applied these changes to the regular versions and had a similar return in fuel economy. The lost features would have lowered the build price, not increased it like the hybrid versions. They could have just marketed them as “eco-editions”.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The mistake you’re making is thinking this would be a supplemental engine. In reality something like this will be the V8 *replacement*.

        So you either buy a hybrid or you get less cylinders (probably 4 less).

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ajla wrote, “In reality something like this will be the V8 *replacement*.”

          That’s what I was thinking also. V8 powers rear wheels, electric motors power front wheels (when called upon by decision-logic CPU-controller, like when rear wheels lose traction or throttle-position sensor is advanced beyond 50% to provide extra power/torque).

          What has changed this go’round that would make this attempt more palatable for buyers?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “What has changed this go’round”

            This.
            obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/28/obama-administration-finalizes-historic-545-mpg-fuel-efficiency-standard

            If you want a V8 in the future then you either get the hybrid or you get the used car lot.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Hopefully uncle Trump will overturn that futuristic standard as well.

            Trump has a pen and a phone too. He should use them.

            Time is running out. Only 22 months until the next election.

            I’ve never been a fan of the used car lot because of my past financially-catastrophic experiences with buying other people’s problems, even from reputable dealerships.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            Y’all mean ones are acting like there aren’t two other companies to drag through the mud over early large vehicle hybrid systems not taking the market by storm.

            Never forget you can slander BMW and Chrysler over a Tahoe.

          • 0 avatar
            Maxb49

            “Trump has a pen and a phone too. He should use them.”

            It’s not that simple. Administrative law. The repeal of any regulation is itself a regulatory action subject to judicial review. It is foreseeable that an attempt to rescind a prior fuel economy regulation would be stricken under the arbitrary and capricious standard of review. Even if the rollback ultimately withstood appellate review, it would likely not be until after this presidential administration ends and by that time there might (and probably will) be an entire policy reversal.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Those hybrids were on the market over a decade ago. Electrification has moved forward significantly since then. Stupid example to choose.

        And the urban influx counters your suggestion that most Americans like to drive. Americans are leaving rural and suburban areas in droves.

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          That’s the whole point, Accordy.

          Every company that used the research for that particular 2-mode abandoned the technology.

          Chrysler’s got their own V8 hybrid and now GM has as well— I don’t keep up with BMW’s product line, but hows their V8 hybrid business going? They seem to have gone full electric instead?

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            There are a lot of reasons why that system might not have caught on in the market… biggie being it launched in the middle of a recession where car sales were down ~30-40% across the board.

            Today conventional trucks/SUVs get the mileage those hybrids did, so I think there was market interest in such vehicles- just not with the significant price premiums of hybrid systems at the time. Again, battery & algorithm tech has moved forward a lot so I imagine this system will be a good bit more effective.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        It may have bombed, but I still see some 2-Mode Hybrid Tahoes, Suburbans, and even Escalades on the road (usually well-preserved examples), so they have survived.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “An electric crossover based on the Mustang”???

    I invite you all to go re-watch Back to the Future Part III. Look at the desert DeLorean. Now you have some idea of what’s coming from Ford.

    They *could* make it a Urus competitor for half the price. But they won’t.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Maybe someone can explain the rational behind this idea. To me, hybrids can provide additional boost or improve mileage; rarely can they offer both. Has anyone here felt that the Ford V-8s are wimpy? Anyone think that a hybrid with a V-8 will get better mileage that with a 6 or a 4? Most of the Ford V-8 products don’t have room to accommodate an Oreo cookie under that hood, no less all the hybrid gadgetry needed, two electric motors and the drive system for the front wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @gasser: I haven’t looked at the Ford system, but the Koenigsegg Regera PHEV has a V8 hybrid system that eliminates the gearbox and its weight. Koenigsegg Direct Drive. It’s an interesting system and if I try to explain it, I’ll screw it up. Here’s a link that can explain it better than I ever could:

      youtube.com/watch?v=glf_k4qGBAA
      youtube.com/watch?v=4jhB9Yx0hyY&t=1898s

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      It seems to me that it is similar to the “through the road” hybrid AWD systems used by Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Volvo. In those systems, The engine drives the front wheels while the electic motors power up the rear wheels as needed or to drive the vehicle in EV mode. The proposed Ford system has the engine driving the rear wheels and the electric motors driving the front wheels. If Ford can make the system occupy the same space as the front differential, it might still fit under the hoods of V8 trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        All FWD, transverse-engine CUVs should have these systems – no driveshaft, no rear diff…just electric motors powering the rears on demand. Minimal ICE powertrain difference between FWD and AWD versions of the vehicles. Save weight…and with the weight coming off within the wheelbase, and the weight of the motors going on the rear wheels only, weight distribution in these front-heavy vehicles would improve.

        Plus much easier to regulate power allocations to the rear wheels – as part of stability control, etc – overdrive outside rear to remedy an understeer condition in a turn, for example.

        And of course you’re doing regenerative brakes on the rears…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It is weird, but I think they can do it in a way that makes sense. The Coyote V8 is big, expensive, and thirsty. A simpler, smaller, cheaper V8 would still give the same sound, but cost less and use less fuel.

      The latest iteration of Toyota’s hybrid system in the Lexus LS/LC simulates gearshifts, making the driving experience that much more similar to a normal car. And they are equipped with electric motors that can power the cars without help from the ICE, and generators that can capture energy in a big way.

      So if Ford implemented such a system they’d retain V8 grunt and traditional sound (i.e. no weird CVT drone) while adding hybrid thrust and efficiency. They could cut the V8 down a lot… maybe even go back to an OHV design. My interest is piqued

  • avatar
    Michael Reese

    Sounds good. now don’t let the bean counters cut corners.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Sounds good. now don’t let the bean counters cut corners.”

      you’re a funny man.

      Prepare for the C-Max-based Mustang II, coming to dealerships near you.

  • avatar
    nvinen

    This is an idea I had some years ago. I should have patented it. Just like I should have patented the idea I had for an electrically boosted turbo about 15 years ago…

    The biggest problem with this idea is weight distribution. Ideally if you’re adding batteries to a car with a big engine up front you want to put them at the back. But if it’s RWD and you’re adding motors up front, that means the power has to travel from back to front. Not an insurmountable problem though.

    And you’re also adding electric motors up front, which is already heavy. But you’re also getting 4wd which a powerful car like the Mustang badly needs. And more power and efficiency. So overall not a bad idea I think.

    In some ways though it’s easier to use electric motors to a car with a heavy engine that’s FWD.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Ford already has the 319hp 3.3L conventional hybrid and a 450hp 3.0T PHEV setups going into their new CUVs. It would not surprise me to see either (or both) of those finding their way into the Mustang and/or F-Series in the next three years.

    A V8 hyrbid like this would likely replace the 5.0L across the board.
    On the plus side, this might mean more V8 vehicles options from Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah I expect that the F-150 Hybrid will be sporting that Explorer 3.3 hybrid power train, though possibly with a slightly different calibration and total HP/torque numbers. The 3.0T might come later but I suspect they will start with 3.3 and see how it goes.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Patents: congratulation, you now have another one that you can cross license with your competitor.

    Just because you patent it doesn’t mean you have to build it or it is going to be cost effective.

    I had a patent too, and by the time the patent lawyer finished working on it, I couldn’t recognize what I did. It is meant to be as ambiguous as possible so it cover as much scope as possible, and can be used to sue as many people as possible.

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