Ford's Max Recline seats earned five different patents in the US.
On the surface, the new 2021 Ford F-150's Max Recline seat seems like a simple thing; it's a regular driver's seat that folds all the way flat for naps, right?
Not really. As the Ford team went about trying to make the best possible seat for in-car naps, they found that simply folding the seat back all the way flat left a sizable, uncomfortable gap between the seat back and seat bottom. Ford's comfort team had to engineer that out of the seat, implementing a mechanism to raise the back edge of the seat bottom cushion by 3.5 inches to take up the space, without any additional motors.
Ford was moved to do this, the company says, after following real-life Ford F-150 owners out into the world and seeing how they use their trucks - what pain points they suffer through or find clever workarounds for.
"We know the folks who work on construction or mining sites use their truck cab for naps during downtime, and we learned everyday owners do, too," says Ford's Truck Product Line Director, Jackie DiMarco. "When I would take my daughters to hockey tournaments, between games, one would be sleeping in the back seat while the other would be on the floor of my truck, and it reinforced the idea that, 'We need to fix this!'"
The design that Ford came up with was awarded five different patents in the US, and it might be one of the most thoughtful, smart comfort features to land in a pickup truck in a long time. Getting there required multiple mockups made by pinning and hot-gluing foam core to existing production seats to see what worked, before moving on to more proper prototypes.
"It's simple, it's effective, and we believe our customers will love how much more productive they can be just by getting a little more rest during downtime," says Ford Seat Design and Release Engineer, Ben Kulhawik.