The Wiki Man

The hidden benefit of an electric car

23 July 2022

9:00 AM

23 July 2022

9:00 AM

Hello, and welcome to episode one of What’s in My Frunk?, the first in an occasional Spectator series of news and advice for the electronic motorist.

In this edition we’ll be discussing one of the unexpected benefits of owning an electric car. The space under the bonnet vacated by the engine often provides a small but usable secondary storage area. This is the ‘frunk’, a portmanteau word combining ‘front’ and the American word ‘trunk’.

Now that even Land Rover Defenders have carpeted boots, your frunk is great for transporting anything wet or dirty – wellingtons, charging cables, takeaways or body parts from your last hit. My Mustang Mach-E even has a drainage hole at the bottom so you can rinse away any traces of mud, curry or DNA. Intriguingly, the US promotional material suggests you can fill the frunk with ice and cold drinks, effectively turning it into a giant champagne bucket. I haven’t yet tried this myself but, in the event Dr Dre starts inviting me to his pool parties, it might prove handy.

But the frunk is much more valuable than you expect. This is because it also offers you an entirely separate, utilitarian storage space in part of the car where your spouse and children rarely go. It hence constitutes something of a mobile man-cave, a space where you can keep things you might need on the road, safe in the knowledge that they will remain unpilfered.

So what follows is a list of suggested contents for the self-respecting frunk owner:


USB phone-charging cables x3, to prevent your family nicking them. Portable phone charger, ditto. Razor and shaving foam, ditto. Your only nice pair of sunglasses, ditto.

A toothbrush and a tube of Euthymol toothpaste. One bottle of shampoo. These are the things you forget to take to your Airbnb. Over-fifties should add two bars of Dove soap. I am of an age where I don’t understand those daft liquids and gels hotels provide. I don’t want to oil myself down like some pervy Athenian discobolus, damn it. I wash with soap.

Loo roll. A roll of duct tape. Several pairs of scissors. A spare charger for your laptop. Several carrier bags, or a Longchamp if you are a bit poncy.

A Mason Pearson hairbrush. A change of clothes. Respectable shoes.

Envelopes in a variety of sizes. Sellotape. First-class large and normal stamps, Sharpies (the pen of the gods). No, I don’t often post things when travelling, but it’s nice to know you can. A portable urinal (same principle).

An AeroPress and coffee filters. A Panama hat. Premium gin. Birthday cards. You can now turn up to parties without stopping on the way.

Galoshes or ankle-length Muck Boots. A compromise between the wellington and the shoe.

French plug adapters. A four-gang extension cable. A book. Rugs. Paper plates, cups and the free wooden cutlery from M&S Simply Food, so you can picnic spontaneously.

Finally, one more tip useful even to those of you still driving on dinosaur juice. If you are travelling to the Continent by car, there is an anglophone website – emovis-tag.co.uk – where you can order the little devices which let you sail through the gare-de-péage lanes of French, Spanish or Portuguese toll motorways. These are particularly useful for right-hand-drive cars, as you no longer have to rely on passengers being awake.

But the greater benefit is that it wrongfoots French motorists behind you, who do not expect UK cars to use the facility and therefore peel off in a panic on the assumption that the espèce de con rosbif is about to block the express lane. Trust me, it’s like a mini Agincourt every time. In French rental cars, of course, a similar small victory can be obtained by changing the onboard computer to English then choosing ‘miles’ and ‘Fahrenheit’.

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