Performance electric vehicles are already quarter-mile monsters, but Ford’s working on a way to make them launch even harder. CarBuzz recently found a filing with the United States Patent And Trademark Office that could grant Ford a patent on a burnout mode for EVs. That sounds like a great way to heat up the tires without resorting to the sort of antics you see in the photo above. If you thought that battery pack weight and instant torque is hard on tires, it seems like we’re barely seeing the start of it.
So how does this patented system work? According to the filing, “A sequential maneuver that spins tires of the first axle followed by tires of the second axle may be performed by specified manipulation of the brake pedal and accelerator pedal.”
Basically, this burnout mode would let the driver light up both the front and rear tires and get them properly gooey for ferocious all-wheel-drive traction. A flowchart included in the filing suggests that burnout mode could officially be called “Heat Tires” and reside in a track apps function like the conceptually-similar line lock does on a Mustang coupe.
The flowchart also gives us some interesting things to note. Using this burnout mode, tires on each axle can be spun for up to five seconds, considerably shorter than the 15-second line lock window offered on the combustion-powered Mustang coupe.
In all-wheel-drive applications, the function heats the rear tires before heating the fronts, and there’s a provision to kill burnout mode should the car want to push through the locked tires. Ford’s patent application also claims that this technology can be applied to single-motor rear-wheel-drive EVs, dual-motor all-wheel-drive EVs, and quad-motor all-wheel-drive EVs, which should cover all the bases.
So what could this system be going into? Well, Ford used illustrations of a Mustang Mach-E in the patent drawings, so it’s highly plausible that burnout mode could come to current variants of the electric crossover. Alternatively, Ford could be planning some sort of eventual halo high-performance variant that burnout mode is more suited to, or this function could go into another EV entirely.
This is all well and good, but it begs a question: With Ford patenting this EV burnout mode, will Stellantis include a burnout mode of sorts in its upcoming electric muscle cars? While a sequence like this would be tough to implement if Ford’s patent application is approved, variance in control methods could allow Stellantis to implement a similar system without stepping on Ford’s toes. Control of axle braking may be by steering wheel switch, for example. It’s an interesting problem that Stellantis will likely need to solve to keep quarter-mile fans happy in the electric age.
Ford’s EV burnout mode represents part of a new frontier in electric car development. EVs are already ruthlessly quick and feature reasonably long ranges, now they just need to be fun. The Ford Mustang Mach-E already exhibits some classic Mustang character by throwing its ass out on corner exit and the Porsche Taycan is a chassis tuning masterpiece, but most performance EVs are more capable than they are emotional.
With toys like burnout mode and drift modes, it feels like the industry is figuring out how to make performance EVs engaging, albeit outside of lawful street driving parameters.
(Photo credits: Ford)
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