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Friday, January 1, 2016

Ford Patent Could Turn a Car Wheel Into an Electric Unicycle


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.

The daily commute. Most have one, though few would say it’s an enjoyable experience, especially those in congested urban areas. But after seeing a patent recently granted to Ford, those of us that tie together multiple modes of transport could be in store for a little Blue Oval assistance. 
Meet what Ford calls the “Self-Propelled Unicycle Engagable With Vehicle,” as it’s defined in the automaker’s new patent. It resembles the rather unique Ryno unicycle, except for one big difference. This motorized one-wheeler can be assembled using one of the wheels from a Ford.

As is detailed in the above patent image, the self-propelled unicycle features two major sections: a wheel and a frame (two designs). The frame, which includes a fender, seat, telescoping handlebar, footrests, battery, and control screen, can be conveniently stored in the back of the vehicle, and upon parking, can be married to one of the wheels of the vehicle via the wheel’s hub.


These aren’t your ordinary wheels, however. Each wheel features an onboard electric motor, which provides the locomotion for the high-tech Ford unicycle. Once assembled, riders can zip away and solve their “last mile” commuting dilemma.

Ford notes a jack system could be implemented into the car’s design to allow easy access to the wheel, and given that you’d be leaving your vehicle with only three wheels on the ground, the patent notes it’s effectively also an anti-theft feature.

Admittedly, there’s no evidence to suggest that such a vehicle exists, even in prototype form, but Ford suggests the electric unicycle would feature external charging ports, perhaps even solar charging, and would feature beginner, intermediate, experienced, and sport riding modes.


Sound a bit too bizarre to ever see production? In all likelihood, it might just be. Nevertheless, the patent secures Ford’s developments in this area, and joins a sharply growing number of other high-tech patents.

 In fact, according to the Detroit Free Press, Ford’s patent-filing blitz has included nearly 6,000 submissions in 2015, a 36 percent increase from a year prior.

Until this electric unicycle hits the market, if ever, perhaps Ford’s e-bike advancements offer up the greatest benefits for commuting urbanites.