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Ford patent application details mobile, towing charging stations

What if an EV could hook onto another vehicle to charge it while on the move?

Ford tow-charging patent
Ford/USPTO

Patent applications are fun, if only to see where automaker engineers' heads are at from time to time -- and this recently published application from Ford shows it's thinking about new ways to charge electric vehicles. And it revolves around towing them.

The Drive first spotted this patent application for "Battery charging by towed regenerative braking," filed by Ford Global Technologies on Dec. 23, 2020 but published July 1, which imagines EV drivers hooking up to a larger transport vehicle to flat-tow the EV and charge it. There are two ways the documents detail this operation. The first is to charge the EV all the time while a semi, RV or other large vehicle motors along. In this scenario, the vehicle charging the EV adjusts to the road and slows the charge when the engine comes under more load.

The second option is to charge the EV under braking or when the lead vehicle is going downhill. These are prime instances for regenerative braking to dump electrons back into a battery pack, anyway. Option one seems a little funky, to be honest; it sounds like EV drivers would use semis and other large vehicles as rolling generators. As charging infrastructure remains sparse in many areas, though, I suppose it's not a bad idea.

Like we always say with patent applications, automakers file them all the time for simple and wild ideas. The existence of a patent never guarantees a system or widget will come from it. So, we'll have to wait and see if Ford decides to make tow-charging a thing.