Ford has had a busy year with the USPTO, filing patents for everything from removable door designs to all wheel steering systems. While many of the patents reported on by the automotive press have revolved around the upcoming Ford Bronco, there have been a few patents that could have wider application. You may remember when the Ford Mustang had a glass roof by way of T-tops, which are awesome. While we can’t report that the T-top is making a return, there is a new patent involving a glass roof.
The patent published on November 14, 2019, is for a peculiar roof rail design that would allow a combination of the windshield and the rear glass to cover nearly the entire roof. Users of the Mach-E Forum are believed to have found it first. This design would certainly act as a way to open up the cabin of whichever product that Ford intends to use this roof design for, by letting in a tremendous amount of sunlight and outward visibility. In the patent drawings, a Ford Mustang is the example vehicle, however the Blue Oval does state that this design should work for any type of vehicle that exists in their line-up.
So when the time comes, this patented design may not make it onto the Ford Mustang at all. But at the moment, nobody outside of the automaker seems to know for sure right now.
While Ford is not the first company to consider adding a larger piece of glass, such as Tesla has done with the Model X SUV, they would be the first ones to employ a nearly full glass roof design. Naturally one might have some concerns about there being very little metal in the main roof structure, particularly when the mind thinks about a crash. Ford addresses this issue in the patent filing however, stating that the unique arched shape of the structure will assist in distributing forces in a side impact collision. Furthermore, Ford is using what they call “fingers” of material attached to the roof section to anchor it further down the existing pillars, adding to the structural strength of the design.
The other concern that comes to mind with such a large piece of glass is the cost of replacement should something crack or damage it one day. Automotive glass such as windshields are never a cheap replacement part, especially when the pieces start to get large in size. Take the Tesla Model X for example, which reportedly has some tremendous repair costs involved with its large front glass. According to a report by Electrek, owners have paid as much as $2,300 to have their windshields replaced.
A patent filing does not confirm that Ford will continue to develop or employ this glass roof design, though it is an interesting proposition. With more and more people opting to buy SUVs in part because of the bunker-esque view out of normal passenger cars, this roof design could be a unique way to get some customers back into cars. Besides, who doesn’t want to reminisce about the T-topped Ford Mustangs of yesteryear.