Tesla has received a patent for a front bumper tow hook design to be used on its Tesla Semi Class 8 truck. The design patent, titled “Bumper with Tow Hooks”, was filed on September 26, 2017 and issued today as US Design Patent Application No. D847,050.
The design as featured in the patent drawings is described as “a bumper with tow hooks, preferably for a vehicle, such as a semi truck” and features two large eye hooks incorporated into what looks to be a permanent bumper assembly. The back end of the assembly design appears to have the intention of being fully integrated into the vehicle frame.
Tesla’s chief designer, Franz Von Holzhausen, is named as the primary inventor of the tow hook design, with David Tadashi Imai and Randy Rodriguez as co-inventors. Imai has appeared in other Tesla patent designs involving both the Model 3 and the Tesla Semi, and Rodriguez has previously done vehicle design work for Nissan. Notably, Rodriguez’s patent portfolio includes designs for Nissan’s Titan truck.
The Tesla Semi is set to go into production in 2020, and anticipation has been building since its unveiling in November 2017 thanks to multiple test mule sightings and, most recently, Tesla’s announcement of deliveries of Tesla cars on its Tesla Semi. The battery-electric Class 8 is designed to compete in short-range routes that range from 300-500 miles. Its four electric motors are derived from the Model 3, and the long-hauler is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in just 5 seconds without a trailer and 20 seconds with its maximum load capacity.
While this patent specifically lists semi trucks, the tow hook design might also be compatible with other vehicles in Tesla’s pipeline, such as the upcoming pickup truck, which is expected to be unveiled later this year. Elon Musk has noted that the Tesla Truck will be a large vehicle, and it was at one time even expected to be based on the Semi. “What if we just made a mini version of the Tesla Semi?” Musk wrote on Twitter.
The yet-to-be-revealed Tesla pickup truck has an estimated towing capacity of 300,000 pounds (150 tons), per CEO Elon Musk. Compared to the 80,000-pound maximum load capacity of Class 8 semi trucks, to include the Tesla Semi, this number may not exactly sound feasible. However, the Model X has previously been shown towing a 95,000-pound semi on an icy road and 250,000 pounds of dirt from a Boring Company tunnel, demonstrating Tesla’s engineering finesse for achieving such high performance capabilities.
Perhaps the tow hook bumper will be an option for the Tesla truck to further enable diversified, high-capacity use.