The nifty feature was introduced on the new e-Tourneo Custom electric van.
Ford UK's new electric commercial van, the E-Tourneo Custom, was recently revealed and we couldn't help but notice its completely bizarre steering wheel setup. This new tilting steering wheel design can fold out and transform into a table. It also doubles up as a device holder for laptops and tablets, making logistical work less of a complicated matter.
The wheel design uses a lower rim with a square shape which Ford Pro describes as a "squircle". Once fully tilted on its side, a plastic cover can be applied to the top which transforms it into a small table that can be used to dine while on the go. It appears that it offers enough space for a burger, some fries, and a small drink.
The steering wheel also employs a column-mounted gear selector so that there is more space to be enjoyed between the driver and passenger seats, further enhancing the van's accommodating interior packaging. Further interior quirks include a highly customizable seating arrangement on the passenger vehicle variation.
Ford's new wheel still accommodates the driver's airbag, but to save more space along the dashboard, the passenger's airbag is now located in the roof as opposed to the instrument panel. As a result of this, the glove compartment is now big enough to hold a laptop or A4-size folders. In doing so, Ford Pro has been able to provide space for electronic devices closer to the driver via AMPS mountings.
We ponder whether this part will be applied to future Ford models sold here in the USA as it appears to be a pretty nifty design, especially for those who are on the road for extended periods. The currenct Ford F-150 Lightning would do well with this feature as it can already accommodate a laptop on its large armrest configuration.
The steering wheel truly appears to be one of the next frontiers of in-cabin design with some manufacturers such as Audi wanting to place as little emphasis on it as possible, as revealed in its Grandsphere and Skysphere concepts. GM has been a bit more focused on developing an accommodating steering wheel design with a recent patent filing which depicts an adaptive rim that can adjust in shape or thickness.