Rev Up Your Ride: Exploring the Versatility of Car Frunks
Frunks aren’t a new invention. They’ve been around for quite some time. Rear-engine vehicles like the classic Volkswagen Beetles, Chevrolet Corvairs, Porsche 911s, and even the short-lived Tucker 48 have all boasted the convenience of a frunk.
The term “frunk” itself was popularized by Tesla in 2012. It describes the extra storage space at the front of their electric vehicles (EVs). Thanks to the EV’s high-voltage battery typically residing at the bottom of the vehicle, frunks in EVs have grown in size, making them incredibly practical for everyday use, whether it’s a quick run to Costco or a road trip with bulky suitcases.
Understanding the Frunk
So, what exactly is a frunk? The word “frunk” is a combination of “front” and “trunk.” It describes the storage space located at the front of a vehicle. Interestingly, the origins of the term “trunk” for a storage compartment in vehicles aren’t entirely clear. Some suggest it dates back to the 19th century when “travel trunks” were mounted on the back of horse-drawn carriages to transport goods and belongings. In the 1930s, a few car owners even attached real steamer trunks to the rear of their vehicles. Eventually, automakers integrated storage into vehicles themselves, and the term “trunk” stuck.
Why You Might Need a Frunk
Like a traditional rear trunk, a frunk comes in handy for various purposes. It’s perfect for carrying groceries, sports equipment, tools, or a first aid kit. Initially, frunks in EVs were smaller compared to the trunks of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. However, as ICE vehicles downsized to improve fuel efficiency, their trunks shrank as well, resulting in frunks that are on par with today’s trunk sizes.
Manufacturers quickly realized that adding extra practical space at the front of the vehicle made perfect sense. This approach helped EVs align with the expectations of car buyers who had grown accustomed to the utility of traditional trunks over the decades.
Frunks are evolving, getting larger, and featuring innovative additions like dividers, removable water-resistant inserts, USB and 120-volt chargers, slide-out drawers, hidden compartments, impressive payload capacity, and interior lighting. However, it’s essential to note that frunks may lack air circulation, which could raise questions about the long-term storage of specific items like food, water, clothing, or a battery jump starter.
Mastering the Frunk
Opening and closing a frunk is quite straightforward. Most frunks open using a lever or cable from inside the vehicle. Depending on the year, make, and model of your vehicle, you can open the frunk using the key fob, an interior switch, touchscreen controls, or even through a mobile app if offered by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Closing and latching a frunk is just like securing a regular hood:
- Lower the lid to about six inches above the latch.
- Let the lid drop until it catches the safety latch.
- Firmly press down two or three times on the front edge of the lid to ensure it’s securely latched.
- Pull up on the lid to verify that it’s firmly locked in place.
If your EV lacks a lever or cable to open the frunk and the 12-volt battery dies, some manufacturers provide a connector behind a removable bumper plug. This connector can power the battery temporarily, granting you access to the frunk or the car’s doors.
Added Benefits of a Frunk
Besides the extra storage space, a frunk can contribute to the safety of both the driver and passengers. It acts as a crumple zone, absorbing some of the energy generated during a crash, thereby enhancing cabin occupant protection.
Moreover, using the frunk to store items can distribute the vehicle’s weight more evenly, potentially improving its handling. However, it’s crucial never to exceed your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which includes the weight of the vehicle itself, occupants, fuel, and cargo. You can find the GVWR on the tire and loading information label or in the owner’s manual.
In the world of automobiles, the frunk is a remarkable innovation that combines tradition with modern convenience. It not only expands storage capacity but also enhances vehicle safety and handling. So, if your vehicle comes with a frunk, make the most of it by exploring its utility. With frunks becoming increasingly common in the latest car models, it’s time to appreciate this practical addition to your vehicle. Whether you are researching frunks on car review sites in India or comparing cars online, knowing what frunk offers can be a valuable asset in your quest for the perfect ride.