Automakers have been discussing ideas regarding modular architectures that can be used for multiple models for some time now. It could save considerable money and time when it comes to producing vehicles. We first saw General Motors toy with the idea of a complete chassis with swappable bodies in the early 2000s with its Autonomy and Hy-Wire concept cars, and a recent patent filing from Ford aims to take the concept of modularity to a new level.
Ford Modular Chassis Patent: Details
According to Motor Authority, the application was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on January 2, with the original filing stretching back to April 28, 2021. The patent describes building electric vehicles like a life-size model kit, which is a neat idea. Assembly starts with a subframe made around the vehicle’s battery pack, with adjustable side rails and cross members to accommodate different models and their dimensions. Following that, front and rear subframes with motors, suspension components, and wheels could be bolted to the ends of the assembly.
After, the vehicle’s body would be bolted to the rolling chassis. For the patent, Ford uses an F-Series Super Duty as an example for the application, though the method could be applied to any number of different vehicle types. The Blue Oval suggests that wheel and suspension assemblies could be converter to raise ground clearance for pickup trucks and SUVs or lowered for sports cars. The Automaker also mentioned “performance packages” with different motors, which could be easily swapped out thanks to the system’s universal mounting hardware.
The concept itself is neat, but as with most patents filed and published by automakers, there’s no guarantee it will ever become a reality. If Ford switched to this modular chassis design, it would have to undergo significant renovations to its assembly plants, change suppliers, and ensure that the chassis could pass crash testing. That said, the concept is undoubtedly cool.