We give it 2 weeks before someone has hooked a ridiculous sign up to it, though.
Spend enough time there, and you're bound to find something good in the annals of the United States Patent and Trademark office. Ford has filed plenty of interesting patents lately. Some of these are just Ford coving its bases and making sure no one beats it to the punch. Like the Ford Bronco's wild (and clever) removable roll cage patent we found a while back.
While we doubt that'll come to fruition for various reasons, we could see this one coming about. Ford has recently filed patents for a 3-prong outlet in roof rails, and it's a clever feature you'd only expect to get from Ford.
There's not much to this one. It's a standard household-style outlet integrated into the roof rail of a vehicle. We imagine this would be an optional extra on some models, like the Bronco. Not all cars Ford makes come standard with roof rails. Usually, they're an optional extra.
Regardless, filing diagrams show that the outlet will come with a dust cover to keep out the elements, and will extrude slightly from the roof rail. likely to make it easier to find and access. Some people aren't tall enough to get up there, after all.
Based on images from the filings, it appears there will be a single outlet living at the rear of the rail. It'll be hooked to a power source within the vehicle, and will function like Ford's Pro Power Onboard feature in the F-150. Simply plug anything that'll fit into the outlet, and you'll have power to it for just about as long as the car will provide it.
Of course, we're betting there's a cutoff so you can't totally kill your car's battery by charging your Bluetooth speaker. Ford itself suggests plugging in anything from phones to laptops, to space heaters to the rail outlet.
The patent itself was filed last year, and published in July 2022. Given that timeline, we could see this come to fruition within the next year or so. Still, it's hard to say. As we've discussed above, many brands file patents simply so no one else can use them, and may or may not use the patent themselves.
Nevertheless, we'd like to see this one. It's a simple, clever solution to powering items outside your vehicle. Plus, something so versatile and so simple is sure to please customers and be cheap to produce. If you ask us, putting this patent into production is a no-brainer. Let's see if Ford feels the same way.