Ford's 2015 F-150 pickup truck is not only likely to remain one of the most popular vehicles in North America, but it's also brimming with patents from bumper to bumper, making it the single most patented vehicle in the history of the Blue Oval.
Patents and/or patent applications number more than a hundred on this next-generation pickup, starting with the tail gate step and the LED spotlights on the side mirrors; they apply to every area of the truck: body, exterior, interior, chassis, design, electrical and engine, as well as its manufacturing processes.
“The all-new F-150 is loaded with innovation,” said Alana Strager, Ford program analyst charged with tracking new innovations for the 2015 truck. “Ford engineers filed more than 100 new patents for technologies on this truck as they have worked to redefine the light-duty pickup for the next generation.”
Some examples include:
- LED side-mirror spotlights that let drivers illuminate the sides of the vehicle, making it easier to pitch a tent or change a tire.
- Remote tailgate release lowers the tailgate using a button on the key fob, a pickup truck first.
- A tailgate step that's been reengineered to integrate completely into the tailgate, so it's barely visible when not in use; a grab handle is now located inside the tailgate, so the inner surface of the tailgate is flate.
- The BoxLink cargo management system including lockable, die-cast aluminium tie-down cleats and a unique interface for improved organization. Segment-first cargo ramps can be stowed along the sides of the pickup box and mounted quickly on the tailgate for easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles, lawn mower and the like.
- A proprietary method of heat-treating aluminum that nearly doubles the strength of the steel; Ford is the first in the auto industry to use the method. Engineers have also patented spot welding methods, adhesives, and hydroforming.
“Ford is teaching the world how to build a next-generation truck, and the more than 100 patents filed by the F-150 team for technologies on the 2015 truck further proves these Ford engineers and designers lead the automotive industry in innovation,” said Strager.