Rivian's new pickup truck tailgate design would allow users to more easily load and unload the truck bed.
The pickup truck wars are as heated as they've ever been, and automakers - especially those who call the US home - have started to get creative with their tailgate designs. In the midst of all this, electric vehicle startup Rivian has filed for a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a new "Swing and Drop tailgate" that might make loading and unloading a little bit easier.
As reported by Teslarati, the new Rivian patent filing describes a pickup truck tailgate that uses two hinges, each with its own stopping point, to allow the tailgate to drop down fully, nearly 180 degrees from its closed position. Kind of like the GMC MultiPro Tailgate, but simpler.
The advantage of this is fairly obvious: where a traditional truck tailgate swings open 90 degrees, preventing users from standing right up against the rear bumper, this design would swing the tailgate completely out of the way, allowing users to get right up against the back edge of the bed. Tailgates that can swing open to the side present a solution to this problem, too, but in its patent filing, Rivian notes that such a design "requires significant clearance" and doesn't afford the same horizontal space.
Importantly, Rivian's design would still allow the tailgate to come to a rest at 90 degrees, giving users options with regard to bed access.
Rivian has featured this "Swing and Drop tailgate" in some of its past promo images, so it's highly likely it will make its way onto the production Rivian R1T. A company patent filing uncovered last March is far crazier, and far less likely to reach production - at least in the near-term. It describes a system with a bevy of removable modules for transforming the R1T's bed from an open flat-bed to a fully enclosed cargo box, and everything in-between.
The R1T is slated to enter production in late 2020 or early 2021, delivering up to 400-plus miles of range on a full charge and supercar-like acceleration. After it launches, it will face stiff competition from the likes of the Tesla Cybertruck, slated to enter production later in 2021, and the Ford F-150 Electric, which is expected some time the same year.