Ford has designed a small car that can get even smaller.
The automaker has filed a patent for a folding car, Autoblog reports. The idea is to create minimalist transportation for crowded megacities, like those becoming increasingly prevalent in China and India.
The innovative vehicle features parallel X-frames connected by cross-members located at several pivot points. Hammock-style seats are suspended from the cross-members, which could be either ultralight cables or solid compression beams. Drivetrain, steering and suspension components are also located between the frames.
When the vehicle is not in use, the frame can be compressed like the one on an extendable makeup mirror, making it shorter in length and easier to fit into tight parking spaces or garages. The same electric or internal combustion powertrain that drives one or more of the wheels is also used to transform the car.
Illustrations show the development of the design from a basic X-frame to a version with curved and deleted elements that shifts part of the frame between the two passengers to improve the vehicle’s ergonomics. The patent suggests many versions that could be created, including a three-row six-passenger model, a tandem two-seater and a pickup.
Low manufacturing cost and energy efficiency are also goals of the simple construction, while safety equipment like a windshield and flexible bodywork can be incorporated into the design to meet different regulations and customer preferences.
As with many patents, however, it’s likely this one is little more than a stretching exercise for Ford’s creative minds and won’t be stealing parking spaces on your street anytime soon.