Ford Wants Retractable Tailpipes in Trucks for Better Off-Roading


According to the patent description, this sort of system would allow for the tailpipe to be tucked away as far as five inches. The patent also claims that it could be used on a variety of vehicles, with the patent specifically mentioning “pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, sedans, [hatchbacks], [coupes], and so on.” The system wouldn’t likely be able to detect when an off-road situation was entered, and as such it’s stated that the tailpipe would retract when an off-road mode was selected within the vehicle.

Questioning the real need for such a device, we should consider how important automotive designers consider tailpipes these days. Sure, designing shorter tailpipes and skipping the extra mechanism might come to mind, but we should remember that the aesthetics of shiny exhaust tips on expensive trucks are very important. Just making a shorter tip that you can’t really see may not be an acceptable solution to a customer looking to buy a big, luxurious truck.

As an example, Ford already has strange fake exhaust tips on the Explorer ST that are designed to maintain the aesthetic of a nice chrome tip, but actually vent the exhaust downwards. Fake exhaust tips have also spread through the lineup of Volkswagen and by extension, Audi. People like looking at chrome tips, but they don’t like cleaning them or, in the case of an off-roader, smashing them on things. 

And let’s be real, a telescoping exhaust pipe would be at the very least a nice party piece, even if it seems like it may endure lots of torture due to being constantly heat cycled. In any case, let’s wait and see if this particular feature actually makes it into production. Maybe an upcoming F-150 might be equipped with these fancy exhaust tips.

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