By on October 13, 2017

Ford storage bin patent, Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Cargo covers only hide so much. And at the end of the day, your SUV’s cargo area is merely a receptacle for refuse — you can’t tote the contents around outside the vehicle without a stolen shopping cart.

If a patent application filed by Ford Motor Company bears fruit, your cargo hold will have everything you need for tailgate parties, camping trips, and, just maybe, a long wait at the border.

The application filed to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office illustrates a “storage bin system” located along the sides of a vehicle’s rear cargo hold. Ford calls it a “cargo compartment side-wall,” which houses removeable containers accessed through small rear doors, thus providing a secure, out-of-sight area to carry small, loose objects.

Not only that, the patent filing reveals the individual cargo boxes housed in separate sides of the vehicle can latch together once removed. Each has a carry handle and even small luggage-type wheels. With the storage bins latched together (via overlapping handles), the system’s utility increases. The automaker included a small dock for an electronic device on the topside of the bins, ensuring tunes for that inevitable picnic for parking lot party. (The area around the docking location is shaped to amplify the music.)

But what could you put in those storage bins? Well, valuable electronics and pistols are one possibility, but Ford’s patent images suggest a tastier option.

Ice-cold suds!


It’s possible owners might also choose wholesome artisanal soda (or “pop,” for you Canadians), or perhaps a multitude of juice boxes. Whatever the chilled liquid, the locking bins allows owners to carry a bevy of beverages and a stack of sandwiches around without having to deal with a loose ice chest and smushable cooler bag.

A variety of bin configurations (and capabilities) exist in the filing, as Ford apparently believes different buyers will have different needs. The sky’s the limit when it comes to these bins.

Whether we’ll see this system become available on a new Ford vehicle — a large, Expedition-sized vehicle, going by the drawings — remains a mystery. If it does, expect it to appear as optional equipment. While convenient, the system’s bulkiness means less cargo volume and a significantly narrower cargo floor.

[Images: Ford, via U.S. Patent and Trademark Office]

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13 Comments on “Hide Your Stash (or Chill Your Beer) With This Handy Ford Patent...”

  • avatar

    Ummmm…the 1989 Pontiac Stinger concept car did this. Stunning GM never patented the idea.

  • avatar

    A cooler mounted in the cargo area of a vehicle? If that’s a patentable idea, our patent system is in worse shape than I thought.

    A patent should only be granted for ideas that are “non-obvious to someone skilled in the art”. A trunk mounted cooler is pretty obvious – to everyone.

    The patent office should have thrown this one right in the trash.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, all those vehicles today with a sliding drawer on each side that can be carried like a suitcase. Duh!

    • 0 avatar

      First, it’s an application, not an issued patent, so the patent office has not looked at whether the idea is patentable or not. Second, you need to look at the exact language of the claims so see what forms the basis of the invention.

      Ford isn’t stupid, they have in house patent agents who would have done the appropriate searching to see if the idea was patentable in the first place. They wouldn’t waste the time and money preparing and filing an application if there was no hope of it ever becoming a patent.

      • 0 avatar

        Virtually any triviality is patentable nowadays. Result of lawyers and other less-than-exactly-brilliants, to put it nicely, running our once was worth vile country.

    • 0 avatar

      How much personal experience do you have with inventions and patents?

      Putting a cooler in the back of your SUV isn’t a novel idea, but that’s not what’s being patented. What’s being patented is how the idea is implemented.

      Let’s say someone invents a new pickup for electric guitars and other stringed instruments. Someone else could patent virtually the exact thing as a pickup for an electric piano. Would someone skilled in the art of making guitar pickups see using the same sort of pickup for electric pianos or electric accordions as obvious? Would someone skilled in the art of making electric pianos see it as obvious? The answers to those questions aren’t, ahem, obvious.

  • avatar

    “Pop” is used by a lot more people than Canadians.

  • avatar

    Neat – the Expedition (and perhaps F-150 and other pickups) are picking up where Powell left off.

  • avatar

    “a secure, out-of-sight area to carry small, loose objects”

    So … it’s a box, and it fits in the trunk of a vehicle. What will they think of next?

  • avatar

    Are these cavities big enough for dead bodies? I’m thinking about all the movies and TV shows where they used to stash a body in the trunk of a Grand Marquis, with room for a couple more. How they gonna stash bodies in a SUV?

  • avatar

    A little oversight – on the left side, the fuel filler door is in the area to be occupied by the sliding cooler.

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