A patent was apparently taken out by Ford for a system utilizing the “puddle light” of an electric vehicle to display the charging status of the vehicle in real-time, according to recent reports.
The reference to a “puddle light” is a reference to the ambient lights found on the side mirrors or door handles of many vehicles. So, the patent is, essentially, for a means of using these ambient lights to casually display the charging status of the vehicle in question.
Certainly an interesting idea. I can honestly say that I had never considered the possibility before. Rather than needing to open your car up and turn it on to see the charge status, all that you would need to do is… look at the puddle light.
Here’s more from InAutoNews:
Through this patent, Ford will use the puddle light to display the charge status of an electric vehicle, this information being usually showcased on the dashboard. The company says this feature will help the driver to know what is the status of the battery before entering the car, how much charge it has, so the owner could better plan his journey. These status lights usually don’t display the state of the battery until the ignition has been switched on.
According to the patent, the puddle light could project the information onto other surfaces, like a wall or ceiling surrounding the vehicle, but in this context the light has to be placed in an upward direction. However, Ford prefers the integration in the side mirrors or door handles, as to create a better distance for the projection. The side mirror is particularly preferred since the housing has space for a corresponding lighting arrangement and is at a relatively large distance from the ground and from the car. The puddle light can be switched between the pure light function and the status one. The projection, which also could be shown in colour or be made to flash, wouldn’t be limited to the battery charge status, but could also project all kinds of useful information for the driver.
While I like the idea… What I’d really like is just for Ford to get around to being serious about electric vehicles…