Is the New Ford Car a Batmobile?
Everyone including your grandmother has seen The Dark Knight, the quintessential Batman movie. It’s pretty safe to say that those who have seen it surely remember the Tumbler Batmobile (Not yet a Ford Car) and the scene where it suddenly spits out a motorcycle, one that the caped crusader is riding on, once the Batmobile itself has been compromised.
Well, that scene was a glimpse of the future, and the future is now upon us. Ford has attempted to patent a design that one of its engineers recently created, of a car with a combustion engine that has an integrated and deployable electric motorcycle built into it that will pop out on demand if the driver feels like switching it up a bit.
Ford recently announced that it was scaling down its vehicle lines to only the Mustang and Mustang convertible, as well as a handful of trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. Pretty surprising to see the same company leading the push to multimodal transportation shortly after making that announcement. Perhaps Ford is planning to make a splash in coming years and is limiting its focus to a few of its most successful vehicle lines in order to make room for some exciting new innovations.
This announcement comes just a few weeks after another futuristic reveal from Ford Motor Company, which recently unveiled a new concept of a driverless police car that used artificial intelligence to spot and detain drivers who were not following the law without ever endangering a human being, or even having to employ one, for that matter.
Ford cars and trucks have always been nice and dependable, but not since the days of the Model T has the name Ford been synonymous with futuristic innovation. Now, within a few short weeks of its major cutback announcement, Ford has made two public reveals that show the company leading the way in technological advancement. Is this a marketing strategy to get more people talking about Ford? If so, it has done its job and then some.
The Ford Motor Company’s engineers filed the application for a patent in October of 2017, and there are countless articles all over the web that are helping to create a buzz around this car, which has not even been produced yet and is still just a concept, a couple of blueprint drawings, an idea in the head of an engineer, and nothing more. All this talk and speculation has done one thing for sure: help to keep the Ford brand at the forefront of people’s minds when they think of innovation. Even if the motorcycle-car never gets built and pushed out onto a showroom floor, the filing of the application has worked wonders in getting people talking about Ford and what it is about to do next.
According to the patent application, Ford justifies the inspiration behind the creation of this new concept vehicle based on the fact that there is less and less parking available that is actually near the driver’s destination and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. So, imagine parking your Ford car where free parking is available and then taking your electric motorcycle over to the busy area where no free parking exists, or into an area where only electric vehicles are allowed.
For example, when traveling to big cities, there is often no good parking available in the areas where you are trying to go to see the sights. So, when you get close to the city, you can park your vehicle and take the smaller eco-friendly bike into the heart of the city instead of looking for a hard-to-find spot with your full-size car. There are plenty of examples of people using methods like this in the past and present. You often see a bike rack on the back of an RV or spot a motorcycle in the bed of a pickup truck. The new Ford design takes this kind of thinking to a whole new level. By combining the two options into a multimodal vehicle, consumers can now purchase the combo as an all-in-one transportation option. The motorcycle is a part of the structure of the Ford car itself, and the car charges the bike, so the two components actually work together and support each other.
The vehicle itself looks very similar to the Ford Focus Hatchback, only, of course, with a deployable motorcycle built into the design. The drawings show that the electric cycle will be located in the center of the car, between the driver and passenger seats, and the console of the car actually serves as both the console, when the driver is using the car to drive around, as well as the seat of the motorcycle once it has been deployed.
The motorcycle will have a rechargeable battery that charges while it is embedded in the hatchback. Instead of just shooting out of the vehicle like the Batpod motorcycle shoots out of the Tumbler Batmobile in The Dark Knight, the driver would have to be fully parked in order to deploy the bike. The driver would then open the bonnet, and the bike would slide out on guard rails before being available to drive away on. So, it’s not quite the same thing, but it’s certainly inspired by the concept that was featured in the movie.
Though the purpose behind filing this patent may be just to protect Ford from other car companies copying the design and beating them to the punch in producing something of the like, making it available to the public before they can, it’s still a step in the direction of creating something we’ve only ever seen in comic books and movies.
Who knows when we might see a Ford car like this on the market, but until that day, it’s going to be pretty fun to imagine the possibilities that this idea might open up in the minds of design engineers across the globe.
Imagine a boat with built-in jet skis, or a plane with built-in hang gliders, or helicopters that can be deployed if the plane is going down—or just for fun, as the case may be. Think of all of the ways that the military might could incorporate multimodal transportation devices. The possibilities are endless and incredibly cool to think about.
See the full patent here