What to do with a ‘frunk’?

What is a ‘frunk’ and what do you do with it? Could it be a type of funky music? A style of basketball dunk? Or a funky skunk in a shrunk suit looking to party in your trunk? And by trunk, we mean the cargo space found in the back of most cars, also known as the ‘boot’.

Well of course, as much as you’re enjoying the image of a skunk dancing to disco on a basketball court conjured up by the above, it’s none of those things. Apart from, of course, it is a type of trunk. Except a ‘frunk’ is a rebel trunk that’s placed not in the back, but in the front of a vehicle. 

Confused? Here’s an explanation: typically, there’s usually an internal combustion engine that lives in the front of most cars. In the annals of automotive history, a frunk would have been an oddity reserved for the likes of the classic Volkswagen Beetle for example, as its engine was famously located in the rear, leaving the front to be used as cargo space: front trunk, hence ‘frunk’.

With the advent of electric cars, the traditional engine is ditched in favour of a battery pack (usually mounted within the floor) and electric motors that don’t need as much space. The area under the hood or bonnet is often vacant and turned into a storage space, hence ‘frunk’, usually in addition to the conventional rear trunk thereby adding to an EV’s practicality.

Sometimes this equates to something that’s only as spacious as an oversized cubby box, so you could put an overnight bag in it, or perhaps some shopping. However, in some vehicles, the frunk is even bigger than a regular trunk!

The average size for a trunk is about 300 litres, but in terms of frunks, the top three are the GMC Hummer EV in third place at 320 litres, the Cadillac Escalade at 345 litres and sitting as the King of the Frunks, is the Ford F-150 lightning with an astonishing 400 litres of cargo space under the hood!

The Ford F-150 has a huge 400L frunk, just waiting to be filled.

What should you put in the frunk?

Well, the obvious use would be to load up your groceries in there. This is actually quite smart as most people park their vehicles front-in on their drive, so the frunk would be closer to their house door than the trunk. Less time to get the frozen stuff to the fridge! Similarly, you can put smaller suitcases and travel bags in the frunk. 

Keep in mind that many people aren’t even aware of the existence of frunks. Most bystanders gaze upon an F-150 pick-up truck and imagine there to be a big old engine sitting in its prow. As such, the frunk is almost a secret storage compartment, so you can hide items in there away from prying eyes. 

It’s also an ideal place to store toolkits, first aid kits and other safety items, such as tow ropes, particularly if you do have one of those big trucks. It’s also where most owners keep charging cables for their EV.

The frunk is not a new concept. It was present in cars with rear-placed engines, such as many vintage Porsches. The Taycan brings this tradition up to date. Photo by L.C. Notaasen on Flickr.

Alternative uses for the frunk

The surprising versatility of a frunk lends itself to other uses too. For example, as a portable cooler for picnics and road trips, especially as some frunks are designed to be waterproof and can be loaded with ice.

Some have charging ports through which you could charge your electrical or camping equipment. Similarly, if you often find yourself needing to work at locations, you can outfit it as a portable office, perhaps even putting a small printer within. Taking that a step further, why not add speakers and a portable projector to turn it into an entertainment centre? Just find a big wall and turn any place into a drive-in cinema!

Gardeners can use it for keeping tools and plants in, to avoid the interior of the vehicle getting dirty. Similarly, it would be a place to put your muddy boots and wet swimwear or diving suit. And indeed, other sports kit like trainers, rackets or cricketing gear etc.

A sensible use would be to turn it into an Emergency Preparedness Centre and in addition to first aid kits and tow ropes etc, you could keep essential supplies such as water, non-perishable food, blankets and other safety equipment in it too.

Go crazy with your frunk!

Alternatively, you could have some fun with your frunk (as long as you make sure it’s safe and doesn’t interfere with the operation of your car). 

How about turning it into a mobile aquarium so you can take your pet fish around with you – just don’t forget to feed them! Keeping with the concept of a waterproof frunk, you could put in a miniature fountain, water feature or even an ice sculpture (if it doesn’t melt too quickly) – that’ll stop them in their tracks at car shows. 

How about a pop-up puppet show? Imagine a hood that opens up into a tiny theatre to entertain the kids. And if that’s not challenging enough, create a miniature, mini golf course with artificial turf and car-themed obstacles.

Or get arty and create a mobile art installation, from air-brushing your favourite supervillain into the space, to creating multi-faceted sculpture, or even digital art with screens and LED lights; you are limited only by your imagination.

Whether you’re going to be pragmatic, or up for a freaky frunk – and perhaps a flight of fancy –  what you absolutely must do with your electric car is first, establish if it has a spare space in the front, and secondly, do something with it!

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22 Jan, 2024