Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,214,997) for a “multi-linkage vehicle door hinge.”
About the patent
Typical passenger vehicle doors open and close by pivoting around a generally vertical hinge axis. Alternative door opening and closing movements have been utilized in some vehicles. Examples include gull-wing doors that are hinged along a generally horizontal axis at the roofline of the vehicle and may include two pivotally-related door panels, and scissor doors that rotate vertically at a fixed hinge at the front of the door opening.
Apple says that adoption of alternative door opening and closing movements has been limited, due to the lateral space needed to open the door, and/or due to the mechanical complexity of the door hinge and associated structure.
Apple’s idea is for a multi-linkage vehicle door hinge and door hinge that uses two connected four bar linkages and a coupler” to provide a door panel path of travel and a door panel movement envelope that is substantially parallel and close to the exterior surface of the vehicle. The geometric positioning and articulation of the two four bar links helps facilitate a compact design, a narrow door panel movement envelope, and increased door lift height for maximum use of the door opening for ease of entering and exiting the passenger cabin.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A multi-linkage vehicle door hinge and door hinge system for use in passenger vehicle entry/exit doors. The door hinge includes a first four bar linkage connected to a second four bar linkage. The door hinge operates to move a vehicle door panel between a closed position and an open position along a path of travel in a movement envelope that is parallel to the exterior surface of the vehicle.
“In one aspect, the door hinge provides twice as much lift as is required to package the door hinge in the vehicle. In another aspect, the door panel further rotates toward the vehicle centerline for applications having low vertical clearance. In another aspect, the door hinge includes a six-bar linkage.”
When might we see an Apple Car?
On. Nov. 18, Bloomberg reported that Apple is accelerating development on its “Apple Car.” The article says the electric vehicle will be self-driving and could roll out in 2025.
What’s more, in a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — investment bank Wedbush says Apple is likely to announce a strategic electric vehicle partnership in 2022 to lay the groundwork for an “Apple Car” release in 2025.