Patent

Patent drawings for Mazda’s new inline-6, 8-speed auto surface


Mazda is on a mission to appeal to buyers in the premium segment, and it plans to do so with larger, more dynamic vehicles potentially based on a new rear-wheel-drive platform.

But bigger, sportier vehicles will need more potent engines than what Mazda currently has on offer, which is why the automaker is readying a new inline-6 engine. Mazda initially looked at a new generation of the rotary but couldn’t get the unique engine to meet modern emissions regulations, unless it was used as a range extender for an EV.

As for the inline-6, Japanese website T’s Media recently discovered patent drawings for the engine on an online registry for intellectual property in Japan. The patents hint at a modular design that will enable Mazda to develop engines with fewer cylinders from the same basic design.

Patent drawings for Mazda inline-6 engine (left) and 8-speed automatic transmission

Patent drawings for a new 8-speed automatic were also included in the documents filed by Mazda.

Mazda in 2019 revealed that it will have both gasoline and diesel inline-6 engines, and that the engines will have longitudinal mounting. The latter could indicate the engines will be fitted in a rear-wheel-drive platform. Incidentally, patent drawings for what’s likely to be a new rear-wheel-drive platform from Mazda also surfaced last year.

So what type of vehicles could we be looking at for the new engine and platform. Possibilities include a large sedan or coupe along the lines of 2017’s Vision Coupe concept (shown above). Given the current market trend, a large SUV could also be part of the equation.



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Patent

Ford patented canopy-style windshield for the Mustang


Future Ford Mustangs might use a windshield that extends into the roof similar to the setup of the Tesla Model 3.

First noticed by eagle-eye Mach-E Club forum member, ReturnOfTheMack, and reported by CarAdvice, the patent was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on May 14, 2018 and published on Nov. 14, 2019.

Ford vehicle roof patent

The patent details what Ford calls a “vehicle roof bow” and describes a structural design that acts as a joint between the extended windshield and rear glass.

Ford’s design calls for the usual pair of side roof rails connected with front and rear bows or beams that slot into those rails via “fingers.” The concept outlines how the roof bows will transmit energy from the rails during a side impact crash. The joint between the two pieces of glass might be made of metal, according to the patent filing.

Ford vehicle roof patent

Ford vehicle roof patent

Ford vehicle roof patent

Ford vehicle roof patent

Ford vehicle roof patent

Ford vehicle roof patent

The vehicle depicted in the patent filing is the current-generation Ford Mustang, but that’s likely just for visual purposes. It’s unlikely such a design feature would be introduced on the current Mustang, which is near the end of its life cycle.

It’s possible the canopy-style windshield depicted in the patent could see the light of day on the next-generation Mustang or on the Mustang Mach-E, which will launch in 2020 as a 2021 model.

Adding more glass at the highest point of a vehicle hurts handling because it raises the center of gravity by placing more weight up high. The Mustang is a muscle car that has morphed in recent years into a true sports car. It’s unlikely the canopy-style windshield would see the light of day on a high-performance variant of the Blue Oval’s icon, but it makes sense to let the sun shine in on plusher trims. Just imagine this feature on a Mustang with the California Package.

The patent description is just structural. It does not mention how the extended windshield will block out the sun on a bright day.

A canopy-style windshield would provide a fighter-jet like driving experience. Could Ford call it the P51 option? Cue Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone.”



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