Ford’s new tech will let electric cars show off with smoky, four-wheel burnouts

A patent diagram showing a Ford electric SUV doing a burnout. US PTO
  • Ford hopes to patent a feature that would let its electric cars do burnouts with their front and rear wheels. 
  • It’s possible since high-performance EVs usually have two motors — one in the rear and one up front. 
  • Ford said the new tech would help heat a vehicle’s tires and also “provide a visual display of power.”

Quick as they may be, near-silent electric cars can’t cause the same head-turning ruckus around town as their rumbly gas counterparts. But they’ll still put on a show by doing sweet, smoky burnouts — if a new Ford technology bears fruit. 

CarBuzz, an automotive website, spotted the automaker’s recent patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office, titled “Electrified vehicle performance mode with intentional wheel spin for tire heating.” That’s an engineer’s way of saying the tech will enable electric cars to peel out in an epic cloud of smoke. 

So what? Gas-powered muscle cars and sports cars can already do burnouts by locking their front wheels and smashing the gas to spin the rears. What’s special about Ford’s tech is it’ll let electric vehicle owners spin up the back wheels and the fronts in quick succession.

A patent diagram showing a Ford electric SUV doing a burnout with its front wheels.
A patent diagram showing a Ford electric SUV doing a burnout with its front wheels. US PTO

That’s possible since sporty EVs, like Ford’s own Mustang Mach-E, typically have one motor driving the rear axle and a second up front. According to the filing, the “Heat Tires” function would let owners lock the front wheels and spin the the rear tires for a few seconds, then vice-versa. The stated purpose is to warm up a vehicle’s tires for better grip on the racetrack, but it should also look plain cool, as Ford admits.

The “peelout and associated heating or smoking of the tires” will “improve traction and provide a visual display of power,” Ford said in the filing. 

The new mode could come to a future, high-performance version of the Mustang Mach-E SUV, which is pictured in diagrams as part of the filing. Or it could wind up in a different vehicle altogether. 

It wouldn’t be the first time Ford introduced a showboaty feature to a new vehicle. The new (non-electric) Mustang lets owners rev their engine from afar using the key fob

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