Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,648,210) for a “multi-linkage vehicle door hinge.”
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.
However, 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, according to Apple. The company evidently likes the gull wing door concept and thinks it can improve on current iterations
Here’s the summary of the invention: “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.”