Ford revisits "Model A" to design a minimalistic car

Ford Model A was the first car produced by Ford, beginning production in 1903. The car had a simple design compared to the cars used today.

Cars have evolved from relatively simple designs in the late 1800s and early 1900s to extremely complex and costly transportation devices in industrialized nations. However, tremendous population growth in countries like China and India, and the lack of adequate infrastructure in emerging markets such as Africa, makes transportation using conventional complex vehicles difficult.


Image Credit: American Autobiles
Image Credit: American Autobiles

Ford believes that there is a need for a simple, ultra-low cost, commuter vehicle that could create a whole new global market, filling the price gap between bicycles and automobiles.


With this goal in mind, Ford has designed a simple four-wheel vehicle that meets the most basic of transportation needs, minimizes weight, and uses the fewest possible numbers of parts. The ultra-light weight also helps in achieving commercial viability of a “zero-emission” electrified vehicle. 


The vehicle can also fold into a smaller footprint when parked. This should help consumers use the vehicle in congested mega-cities such as those in China and India. The vehicle uses an X-frame structure. The X-members can pivot at a central axis, allowing the frame to fold.



Moreover, the vehicle can be flexibly configured with minimal change. Therefore, single passenger, 2-passenger tandem, 2-passenger 2-abreast, 2-row 4-passenger and 2-row 6-passenger 3-abreast models are possible, using the same basic vehicle architecture.

Patent Information
Publication number: US 9,440,687
Patent Title: Folding vehicle
Publication date: 13 Sep 2016
Filing date: 9 Jun 2014
Inventors: Chris P. Theodore; Christopher David Batty; Nicholas John Daiber; Aaron Matthew Hanson; Keith Albert Nagara; Gregory VanderVoord; Daniel John Kangas; Jacob Scott Lanyon;
Original Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC