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Ford patent Batmobile-style car-mounted bike

Official document reveals car with integrated motorcycle

Ford patent Batmobile-style car-mounted bike

FORD – manufacturer of drab commuter cars – has filed a patent application for a radical car that incorporates a built-in electric motorcycle.

It’s basically the same idea as in the movie The Dark Knight, when Batman emerges from the Batmobile riding on the crazy-looking ‘Batpod’ bike. Except it’s an electric scooter and a Ford; you can’t have everything.

In fact, you’ll probably never be able to have this. The patent smacks of a wild flight of fancy rather than a real plan for a production vehicle. However, it’s got some merit. The idea is that the car is either electric, powered by hub-mounted motors, or uses a rear-mounted petrol engine. Either way leaves the front section clear. And because the two front wheels are mounted on separate pontoons, with no front crossmember, when you lift the bonnet and grill section up, there’s space for the electric scooter to slot backwards into it.

The idea is that the scoot goes all the way back into the cabin. Its seat becomes the centre armrest and the instrument panel becomes the centre console. The patent even says that the car could be driven using the bike’s wheels.

Presumably the idea behind it is the same one that drove Honda to create the MotoCompo back in the early 80s. That fold-up scooter was specifically designed to slot into the boot of the tiny Honda City car. The theory was that commuters could do the lion’s share of their journey on four wheels, but park up before they hit the worst of the city traffic. Then you’d whip out the scooter and laugh as you carved through the congestion and parked right outside your office. Or something like that.

Of course, it never caught on. The reality of hoicking a small, but still fairly hefty, motorcycle out of the back of your car, assembling it, getting kitted up to ride and then doing the rest of your journey just wasn’t as appealing in real life as the adverts might have made it seem.

Ford’s patent does appear to combat some of those problems. The bike doesn’t need to be lifted, for a start. And being electric there’s a far smaller chance of getting your suit soaked in two-stroke mixture in the process, too.

But is anyone really going to accept a car that’s been designed with the huge compromises needed to allow a motorcycle to be inserted through the nose?

Hopefully the idea might be expanded into some sort of real life concept, so we can get a better view of how it could come together. But don’t hold your breath.

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