The Tesla Cybertruck does without a 12-volt lead-acid accessory battery, shifting to a 48-volt electrical system. For a mass-produced vehicle, it's an industry first, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking on the role of 48-volt evangelist.
John Hayes, CEO of autonomous-driving software company Ghost Autonomy, recently posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Musk sent a "48V architecture document to other CEOs" that was mentioned in one of the earliest (Tesla-placed) reviews of the Cybertruck.
Now it's clear that at least one of them—the CEO of a very large automaker—has taken note.
Ford CEO Jim Farley posted that Ford received the document in question Dec. 5, calling it "great for the industry," and hinting that Ford was also working on 48-volt architectures for next-generation EVs.
"Great to read the document and realize that our next-gen team has been on a similar path," Farley wrote. "Let’s work together to help the supply base move into the 48V future as well."
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Some automakers have introduced 48-volt systems in vehicles, but confoundingly, they've kept the 12-volt circuit for other items because those items have remained cheaper that way in mass-production—even though the wiring for 12-volt systems ends up being much heavier.
Many of the vehicles with partial 48-volt systems did some great things with the tech—including mild hybrid systems, like Ram's eTorque system, and electric turbochargers, yet they needed an extra DC/DC converter for the 12-volt circuit.
Bosch, among suppliers, provided a 48-volt system as the basis of what the company called a "hybrid for everyone," but that system also didn't include (or even encourage) purging 12-volt hardware.
The 2021 Tesla Model S and Model X took a step toward eliminating this hardware by dropping the lead-acid accessory battery. Hyundai did something similar with its 2020 hybrids, replacing the lead-acid battery with a lithium-ion accessory battery—one still at 12 volts, however.