Imagine having extra lockable storage space in your electric vehicle (EV) that doesn‘t take up any interior room. Enter the frunk – essentially a front trunk that sits where a gas engine normally would. As EVs continue to grow in popularity, frunks are becoming a standard feature that provide that additional flexibility.
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll give you a full overview of what a frunk is, the unique benefits they offer, and which EVs you can find them on. We‘ll take a detailed look at the top frunks available today – from the ultra-spacious front trunk on the Ford F-150 Lightning to compact yet handy frunks on sedans like the Lucid Air.
What is a Frunk and What Are The Benefits?
A frunk is a front trunk or storage area that occupies the space where an internal combustion engine and components would traditionally be located in a gas-powered vehicle. Since fully electric vehicles lack a large engine compartment, manufacturers can utilize the space to create a lockable front trunk.
So what are the unique advantages of a frunk over just having a rear cargo area?
- Extra cargo space – Frunks provide additional storage beyond the main trunk, giving you more room for groceries, golf clubs, camping gear and other large items.
- Security – Valuables stored in the front trunk are hidden from view and less prone to theft compared to the main trunk area. You can lock belongings safely out of sight.
- Weather protection – Items in the frunk are shielded from the elements unlike a truck bed. Some frunks are even fully watertight.
- Flexibility – Frunks add versatility allowing you to separate dirty or wet items from the clean interior. You can haul messy cargo up front.
- Weight distribution – The extra weight up front from a loaded frunk can improve handling and traction.
Of course, frunks have some limitations compared to a main trunk:
- Smaller capacity – Most frunks max out at around 5-10 cubic feet, far less than a typical trunk.
- Reduced crash safety – There‘s less frontal crumple zone without a large engine compartment.
- Access – Getting into a frunk may require popping the hood versus easier liftgate or trunk access.
But overall, a frunk is a very useful bonus storage area exclusive to EVs. Next let‘s look at some of the EVs offering the biggest and most versatile frunks.
EVs With the Largest and Most Functional Frunks
While early EVs had tiny frunks only big enough for a laptop bag or two, capacities and functionality have greatly improved. Several models now offer frunks of 10 cubic feet or more.
Here are seven EVs with the most impressive frunks available based on maximum capacity and utility:
|EV Model||Frunk Capacity||Highlights|
|Ford F-150 Lightning||14.1 cu.ft.||Fits 2 golf bags or 2 carry-ons with room to spare; provides 4 power outlets|
|Rivian R1T||11.0 cu.ft.||Nearly as large as some trunks; supplemented by 11.7 cu.ft. gear tunnel|
|Lucid Air||10.6 cu.ft||Full-length shelf optimizes space; largest frunk on a sedan|
|Tesla Model S||5.0 cu.ft.||Roomy for a sedan; fits about 2 carry-ons or several grocery bags|
|VW ID.4||3.9 cu.ft.||Quite large for a compact SUV; great cargo flexibility|
|Hyundai Ioniq 5||3.0 cu.ft.||Impressive size despite front motor; combines with rear for good utility|
|Tesla Model Y||2.9 cu.ft.||Decent capacity supplementing big rear cargo area; easy access|
Let‘s look at the design and functionality of some of these frunks in more detail:
Ford F-150 Lightning Frunk
The new Ford F-150 Lightning pickup features the largest front trunk of any production vehicle, offering a cavernous 14.1 cubic feet of cargo space. To give you an idea of just how big it is, Ford claims the watertight frunk can fit two sets of golf clubs or two large suitcases/carry-ons with ample room to spare.
The Ford F-150 Lightning boasts the largest frunk on the market. [Source: Mike Mareen/Shutterstock.com]
The frunk‘s 400 pound weight capacity means you can load it up with heavier items like lumber, cement bags, or toolboxes no problem. To add even more versatility, Ford built in four 120V power outlets along the sides – super handy for powering tools, pumps, small appliances, or charging devices on a job site or camping trip.
With the extended range 131 kWh battery, the Lightning is capable of 320 miles of range. It can tow up to 10,000 pounds which is right in line with gas F-150 models. With abundant frunk space supplemented by the rear bed, this truck is built for both work and play.
Rivian R1T Frunk
The Rivian R1T pickup may not match the raw size of the Ford above, but still packs an enormously useful frunk space at 11 cubic feet – one of the largest among non-truck EVs. Rivian takes advantage of the whole volume under the hood to provide a deep storage bin that can readily fit several suitcases or duffle bags.
The Rivian R1T‘s frunk is large enough to hold multiple pieces of luggage. [Source: Tada Images/Shutterstock.com]
Rivian engineered it to be watertight so you can fill it with ice and beverages for tailgating. The R1T supplements its front trunk capacity with a unique 11.7 cubic foot gear tunnel that runs between the cab and bed. This space is perfect for storing muddy boots, fishing poles, or other long narrow items.
The R1T also touts class-leading charging speed, up to 400 miles of range, and a towing capacity up to 11,000 pounds when properly equipped. Prices start at $73,000 before federal EV credits.
Lucid Air Frunk
The new Lucid Air sedan offers the largest front trunk of any EV outside of pickups, providing a very generous 10.6 cubic feet of storage space. In fact, it‘s not far off from the trunk capacity in the rear. According to Lucid, the space is large enough to comfortably fit two small suitcases or three medium-size roller bags.
The Lucid Air‘s expansive frunk is unusually large for a luxury EV sedan. [Source: Lucid]
The Air‘s frunk stands out for its flat load floor that extends the full length between the wheel wells, maximizing usable space. Lucid even engineered in a full-width structural shelf that supports up to 200 pounds – perfect for sliding in heavy items.
In top trim levels, Lucid says this premium EV can achieve up to 520 miles of driving range on a single charge, one of the highest among EVs. The frunk offers great added utility to match the vehicle‘s performance.
Frunk Size Comparisons By Vehicle Class
To give you a better idea of how frunk capacities compare, here is a breakdown looking at average frunk size across different vehicle classes:
|Vehicle Class||Average Frunk Size||Example Models|
|Full-size pickup||10 – 15 cu.ft.||Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T|
|Mid-size SUV||5 – 8 cu.ft.||Tesla Model X|
|Mid-size sedan||3 – 5 cu.ft.||Lucid Air, Tesla Model S|
|Compact SUV||2 – 4 cu.ft.||VW ID.4, Tesla Model Y|
|Compact sedan||1 – 2 cu.ft.||Polestar 2|
As you can see, full-size pickups offer the most massive frunk spaces, reaching 14+ cubic feet in the case of the Ford Lightning. SUVs and sedans follow behind but with decent capacities in the 3-8 cubic foot range. Lastly, smaller compact models often have smaller frunks in the 1-4 cubic foot range.
However, there are exceptions in both directions:
- The Rivian R1T pickup squeezes sedan-like capacity into its frunk despite being a truck.
- The Hyundai Ioniq 5 manages 3 cubic feet in its frunk even as a compact SUV.
So the class averages are good guidelines, but design, packaging, and drivetrain layout also impact the size regardless of vehicle type. If a big frunk is a priority, large pickups and SUVs are your best options right now.
Key Features To Look For In An EV Frunk
If you’re shopping for an EV and want to make the most of the frunk, here are some key features and capabilities to look for:
- Cubic feet capacity – Consider your needs and measure larger items (golf bags, etc.) to choose adequate room. Every cubic foot matters when space is limited.
- Drain plug – Allows you to fill the frunk with ice, beverages or wet items. Convenient for tailgating or camping.
- Access method – Hood release lever or push-button are convenient. Avoid latches deep inside the cabin.
- Load floor – A nice flat floor makes sliding heavy items in and out easier. Protruding battery packs reduce space.
- Tie-downs – Built-in tie-down hooks help secure loose cargo during driving. Prevents items from shifting.
- Power outlets – 120V outlets let you plug in power tools, fans, compressors, or charge devices. Very handy feature.
- Cargo nets – Nets help contain loose, smaller items in place during transport. Prevents items from tipping over.
- Lighting – Illuminates the compartment at night for safe loading/unloading in dark conditions.
Considering your priorities across these features will help you identify the frunk that offers the best blend of space, versatility, and functionality to match your needs.
How Frunks Are Likely To Evolve in the Future
Frunk technology is still relatively new and automakers continue working to optimize capacities and functionality in EVs. Here are some ways frunks are likely to evolve in coming years:
- More spacious – Advances in battery packaging will allow expanded capacity, with some frunks eventually rivaling rear trunks.
- Smarter access – Expect more use of linear actuators to pop frunks open instantly with the press of a button or key fob click.
Enhanced features – Coming upgrades likely to include:
- Integrated weighing sensors to detect cargo weight
- Telescoping flood lights to illuminate inside
- Configurable storage dividers and rails
- Greater customization – Frunks will offer more tailored options between storage, cooler/freezer space, or other utility needs.
- Self-opening operation – Look for autonomous self-opening frunks to activate as you approach with hands full of groceries.
- More prevalent – Improved battery density will help reduce current packaging constraints and allow more models to offer decent frunks.
In summary, frunks are likely to grow significantly more advanced – both in terms of size and "smart" functionality. This will further elevate their utility as a fully flexible and integrated storage space, rather than just a novelty.
Key Takeaways on EV Frunks
Below are some of my key frunk recommendations and advice based on all the research compiled here:
- For maximum utility, choose a pickup truck frunk – the Ford Lightning and Rivian R1T offer the most size and versatility.
- Among sedans, the Lucid Air‘s 10+ cubic foot capacity leads the pack if you need spacious frunk.
- Measure larger items like golf bags beforehand to ensure the frunk will fit what you need to store.
- Look for user-friendly access methods like a hood release or open button when possible.
- Built-in power outlets, nets, dividers, and lighting add lots of functionality for work or play. Consider them a big plus.
- While still limited compared to rear cargo, frunks provide very useful supplemental storage space.
I hope this overview gives you a better understanding of what to look for when it comes to EV frunks. Let me know if you have any other frunk questions!