The Rivian R1T may be the first new electric truck to hit the market, but recent debuts and production timelines for the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV are poised to create more than small concerns for the EV maker. But Rivian appears far from done, and according to the USPTO, they’ve been quite busy. We had recently covered details on a Rivian tailgate step design, but new discoveries have uncovered even more ideas lurking in the shadows.
Rivian R1T: More Tailgate Patents
Motor Authority was first to discover a second patent filing that describes a Rivian R1T folding tailgate that slides along a track, collapsing into two sections like an accordion. The purpose is to make it easier to grab items out of the bed without having to reach over an open conventional tailgate.
However, looking at the patent drawings, it looks like the folding sections may get in the way of utilizing part of the bed, or at least things may get in the way when trying to open it. But wait! There’s more! A third Rivian patent filing that showcases a telescoping tailgate, where the middle section can open and close independently from the rest of the tailgate. This could allow owners to load longer items into the truck bed without opening the entire tailgate, which is similar to the GM MultiPro/Multi-Flex tailgates.
Auto-industry patents don’t always mean they will be converted into commercialization, so it’s unclear if we will see any of these tailgate designs make it to production. But at least we know that they’re working on coming up with something at the moment that will serve to further enhance the utility side of the Rivian R1T.
Multifunctional tailgates will soon be the new norm when purchasing a truck as truck manufacturers already have their own on the market or are set to come to the market eventually. For example, Ram has a vertically-split tailgate that opens in two sections. In contrast, Ford recently filed its patent application for a trisected tailgate. It’ll be interesting to see how tailgates function in the future as technology continues to advance.