A tonneau cowl is normally a easy machine that offers objects in a pickup mattress a little bit of safety towards the weather and prying eyes. However Ford could also be engaged on one thing a bit extra elaborate.
A latest patent submitting from the automaker particulars a tonneau cowl comprised of movable panels that may be reconfigured in a number of methods to deflect air and scale back aerodynamic drag.
The patent software, which was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Workplace (USPTO) in early 2022 and revealed on Nov. 30, describes a tonneau cowl comprised of three roughly triangular panels.
Hinges and actuators permit the panels to maneuver, going from flat to an angled form not in contrast to the profile of a Tesla Cybertruck bed, amongst different configurations. Ford additionally mentions a rear-fairing configuration particularly for deflecting air away from the rear of the automobile.
Ford reconfigurable tonneau cowl patent picture
The panels might be made out of onerous supplies like polymer, fiberglass, aluminum, or composites, or from vinyl or canvas supported by a body, Ford suggests within the software. Their motion might be coordinated by a central controller linked to automobile sensors which may, for instance, increase among the panels to deflect air out of the mattress when the automobile reaches a sure pace.
EVs have revived automakers’ obsession with aerodynamics as a result of much less drag can imply extra vary. And Ford does have a new electric pickup in growth. Codenamed T3, it is scheduled to debut in 2025 as Ford’s first pickup designed from the beginning as an EV.
Many concepts patented by automakers by no means make it to manufacturing, however the T3 is not less than a believable use case for this reconfigurable tonneau cowl.