Ford Patent Suggests Power Sliding Platform for F-150 Hybrid Truckbed
Ford made a big to do this past December of the fact that it led the automotive industry in patents granted in 2016, and it appears that it has no intention of slowing down in 2017. As discovered by The Drive, Ford filed a patent for a “Powered Sliding Platform Assembly,” which the attached drawing indicates will make its debut with the upcoming Ford F-150 Hybrid.
Per the abstract from an application submitted by inventors Michael Duane Wallace, Bernard D. Nefcy, and Marvin Paul Kraska from Ford Global Technologies and originally filed August 7th, 2015:
A powered sliding platform assembly may include an actuator, a platform, and a controller. The platform may have a rail defining first and second openings configured to receive a pin of an actuator. The actuator and the rail may be arranged such that while the platform moves between extended and retracted positions, the pin rides along the rail between the openings. The controller may be programmed to, in response to a signal indicative of an object being proximate the platform, inhibit movement of the platform.
In layman’s terms: Ford’s powersliding truckbed platform would come on rails and can be controlled via remote or programmed to stop sliding should it be obstructed. While neither the F-150 Hybrid or a hybrid powertrain system is mentioned specifically, the fact that this system would be powered by an electric motor certainly suggests its application in the announced hybrid version of the popular pickup.
The timing of the patent also suggests as much: Ford CEO Mark Fields confirmed development of the F-150 Hybrid in December 2015, only a few months after the application was filed with the USPTO.
The Drive notes that similar slideout platforms are offered by aftermarket upfitters, and Ford being able to provide this feature as a factory-installed feature would likely increase the F-150 Hybrid’s adaptability for commercial, fleet, and service use.