U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Don't worry, the "where's the problem, we have a solution" squad over at Ford has been busy, apparently, with figuring out a way to make your truck's exhaust tips disappear.
- Well, at least retract back into the safety of the rear of the truck when you're going off-roading, for example, in order to allow for better departure angles.
- The idea is called ETRM, for "exhaust tip retract module," and it appears in an application Ford filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office..
It's nuts what some people will hang off of their truck's rear bumper. A new Ford patent shows that strange ideas can be a part of the entire back end of a truck. Say hello to the retractable exhaust tailpipe.
While this kind of chrome turtle head has elicited its share of ridicule online, it's not like having an exhaust tip that doesn't stick out as far is a worthless idea. Especially when installed on a truck that is going to see some off-road time, thinking about departure angles is a worthwhile experience. Ford's patent even says a system like this "reduces a probability of vehicle tailpipes contacting a ground surface in an off-road condition."
Ford calls this invention the "exhaust tip retract module," or ETRM. The idea here, as Ford takes great pains to point out in its patent application, which was published earlier in October, is not just to extend the tailpipe, but to retract it to protect it. The ETRM "enables the exhaust tips to be retracted a certain length when in an off-road mode in order to take the exhaust tips out of the way and changing the limiting component to be a rear bumper instead of the tips," the application reads, after talking about two other, similar patents for retractable exhaust tips that didn't solve the off-road problem. Ford really thinks it's solving a problem here.
What are the benefits of a tailpipe that moves instead of just building the exhaust system so that the tips don't stick out in the first place? you might ask. The obvious answer is that Ford knows how worried some truck drivers are about how they might appear to the outside world if their exhaust tips don't poke out. Or, in Ford's words, "the application of this system does not interfere with the looks, styling, or aesthetics of a vehicle."
Ford's ETRM patent was filed in both the U.S. and Europe, according to CarBuzz, which first surfaced the application, so if Ford ever wants to build a real-world ETRM, it might do so on both markets. It is worth noting, though, that a lot of European cars have faux tailpipes due to insurance policies. If the actual tailpipes are too close to the rear bumper, a small rear-end accident can cost more if the exhaust system gets damaged.
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