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Concept/DemonstrationJeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
Posted by mike on 2006/6/19 15:06:00 (1750) reads

One of our readers, GregB, saw this article over at allpar.com (you must be logged in to view the article) about a recent U.S. patent awarded to DaimlerChrysler about an expandable passenger seating area. The idea is that a 2nd row of seating can be added to a cargo vehicle via a sliding rear passenger compartment wall.

We checked out the patent at it seems legit. Granted, many patents are secured then never used for anything, but this one seemed interesting enough to mention. Here's some text from the patent information:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to vehicle body configurations, and more particularly to a vehicle body capable of converting between two-passenger and four-passenger configurations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Currently, consumers seeking a vehicle with cargo carrying capabilities, such as a truck, are limited to either selecting a two-passenger cabin or a four-passenger cabin. A consumer desiring a four passenger cabin typically must endure a reduction in cargo carrying capabilities. Specifically, the extra row of seats for a four passenger cabin requires a large part of the truck's cargo area, reducing the type of objects that can be transported, such as longer pieces of lumber.

On the other hand, those consumers who prefer a two passenger cabin must forgo any hope of having extra seating area. Otherwise, they must decide if they are going to potentially sacrifice cargo area for a four passenger cabin. Accordingly, a need exists for a vehicle capable of converting between either a four-passenger or a two-passenger cabin configuration.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an apparatus for enabling the enlargement of the cabin for a vehicle having an enclosed cabin and a cargo bed extending rearwardly from the cabin. The apparatus includes a rear wall removably coupled to the cabin. A guide element is positioned along a floor of the cargo bed and a base portion of the rear wall is slideably coupled to the guide element, which enables the rear wall to be translated rearwardly from the cabin to vary a volume thereof.

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Poster Thread
DrK
Posted: 2006/6/20 11:47  Updated: 2006/6/20 11:47
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/2/26
From:
Posts: 6
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
Seems similar to the Chevy Avalanche, which has a midgate.

Poster Thread
GregB
Posted: 2006/6/20 17:15  Updated: 2006/6/20 17:15
Quite a regular
Joined: 2005/7/16
From: Central IL
Posts: 70
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
In my opinion it looks like the opposite of the Avalanche.

The Avalanche has a rear seat in it's everyday application or set up. In a pinch you can fold down the seat and extend the bed into the cab. Kind of a hassel if your hauling stuff more often than you're hauling more than 2 people.

The everyday set up of jeep looks to be a 2 seater with a regular size bed. For that weekend camping trip it would convert to a 4 passanger jeep with a small bed for gear. I think this is a better set up because how often do you see your everyday pick-up driver have someone riding in the back seat of his 4 door pick up? People buy these 4 door trucks because they don't want to be limited by the number of people they can take, but how many of these truck owners actually drive with more than 2 people on a regular basis? Of course there are some that drive with more than 2 people all the time, but I'd be willing to bet that most don't have more than 2 passangers more than once or twice a month.

Poster Thread
GregB
Posted: 2006/6/19 16:59  Updated: 2006/6/19 16:59
Quite a regular
Joined: 2005/7/16
From: Central IL
Posts: 70
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
Sorry guys, I just realized this patent is from May of 2005, not May of 2006. Either way I think it's interesting.

Poster Thread
jeepxk
Posted: 2006/6/19 15:51  Updated: 2006/6/19 15:51
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2005/7/13
From: Peoria
Posts: 150
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
Do you think if they make the Gladiator they will put the spare tire on the side like the concept? I like that on the concept but I wonder if in real life that the spare would be better under the bed like conventional pickups. I know I don't like it on the back though. Any thoughts?

Poster Thread
bkcurtis
Posted: 2006/6/19 17:09  Updated: 2006/6/19 17:09
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/10/8
From: NW Indiana, USA
Posts: 154
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
For me, I HOPE they don't put it the spare underneath the bed. I really don't like crawling thru mud to change a tire.

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2006/6/20 7:48  Updated: 2006/6/20 7:48
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
Doubtful. I'm guessing there must be some NHSTA restrictiction on that. Don't know what it is, though.

The GOOD news is, it's irrelevant. Someone in the aftermarket would certainly be offering a kit to allow you to move the tire to the side.

My brief internet research tells me that the first Jeep truck with a "side tire" dates back to 1947! Of course, the idea goes back a lot further than that... pre-Model T...

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2006/6/19 15:31  Updated: 2006/6/19 15:32
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
Provisions for the long-awaited Gladiator? Seems obvious...

Poster Thread
Josephus
Posted: 2006/6/20 13:24  Updated: 2006/6/20 13:24
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/18
From: Pennsylvania
Posts: 265
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
If memory servers correct, we first heard about the Gladiator at approx. the same time as the patent. 3 years from patent to production in 2008 seems like a long time these days.

Poster Thread
gladiator
Posted: 2006/6/20 13:37  Updated: 2006/6/20 13:37
Quite a regular
Joined: 2005/7/26
From:
Posts: 43
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
This seems like an arbitrary comment: "3 years from patent to production in 2008 seems like a long time these days."

Three years seems like a long time based on what? Other automobile patents? Do you have examples? Did you take into consideration that the Gladiator, if built, will share a platform with the new Wrangler (in production later this year, as a 2007)?

Poster Thread
fearghail
Posted: 2006/6/21 16:06  Updated: 2006/6/21 16:06
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/5/13
From:
Posts: 3
 Re: Jeep to Introduct Expandable Passenger Seating Area?
I'd love to have a seat set-up like that in my Scrambler. The removable bulk head for pick-up configuration sounds like the evolution the Scrambler bulkhead.
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