(Motor Authority) — Ford has filed for a patent for electrical outlets built into a vehicle’s roof rails, which the automaker believes may come in handy when tailgating or camping.

Filed in the US Patent and Trademark Office on January 12, 2021 and published on July 14, 2022. application describes a fairly simple installation. Outlets are added to the roof rails, protected by removable covers and connected to the vehicle’s power source.

Patent image of a Ford roof rail outlet

Ford seems to see this as a good feature for tailgating or camping, as both are mentioned several times throughout the app. The automaker envisions that everything from smartphones and laptops to portable heaters and lights could be connected to the roof rails to make outdoor gatherings more welcoming.

The use of vehicles to power electronic devices is likely to increase with the continued growth of hybrids and electric vehicles. Ford already offers built-in power outlets for beds PowerBoost Hybrid and all electric lightning versions of the F-150 pickup truck, with the Lightning even able to charge other electric vehicles or provide emergency backup power for homes, the automaker claims.Patent image of a Ford roof rail outlet

Patent image of a Ford roof rail outlet

Other automakers also offer ways to power your devices. Mitsubishi has offered this capability in the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid for some time, and Hyundai has included it as part of its Dedicated E-GMP platform. But until now, no car manufacturer has placed sockets in the rails of a production car.

It should be emphasized that a patent application is not a firm production plan; automakers often file for intellectual property protection before production plans are finalized. But one recent Ford patent application –for remote engine scrolling— turned into a product function on 2024 Mustang.

Source link