Ford working on integrated loading ramp for SUVs

SUVs have largely displaced sedans from showrooms and driveways in part because of their ability to carry more cargo. But the tall ride height of an SUV can also make loading and unloading items more difficult—something a recently surfaced Ford patent application aims to address.

Published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 7, but filed by Ford on Sept. 1, 2022, the application deals with a deployable loading ramp that would allow users to slide items in and out of an SUV’s cargo area instead of lifting them and risking strained backs.

Ford SUV cargo ramp patent image

The ramp would deploy from a channel at the same height as the cargo floor, a bit like the slide-out ramps on box trucks. In addition to providing a shallow enough angle for loading and unloading cargo, the ramp could also be used by pets for getting in and out of the cargo area, Ford suggests.

Made from multiple layers of material bonded together with resin, the ramp would be just 0.3-1.1 inches thick, but would be able to support at least 220 pounds, and perhaps as much as 661 pounds, according to the application.

Ford SUV cargo ramp patent image

The design also calls for moisture sensors to help prevent the ramp from being used in conditions where moisture would get into its workings and freeze. It would also have a microphone to detect the sound of the ramp scraping on the ground so drivers wouldn’t inadvertently pull away with the ramp deployed.

Both Ford and General Motors recently tried to patent different forms of integrated ramps for pickup trucks, and aftermarket ramps are already a popular accessory for those vehicles. An SUV cargo ramp is unusual though, so this feature could set future Ford SUVs apart from the competition should it get the green light for production.