Forget multi-function tailgates, this is much better.
With the reveal of the 2019 Sierra, GMC introduced a new MultiPro tailgate with six different configurations and a carbon fiber bed. Ram then showed off its new Multifunction Tailgate while everyone forgot that the Honda Ridgeline actually offered a similar feature long before either of the two American truck makers.
These fancy tailgates are certainly innovative but American EV manufacturer Rivian may be working on a new idea to trump all of them. Rivian filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for "Systems and methods for reconfigurable electric vehicles." In other words, Rivan's truck bed will be able to transform.
The patent was filed back on January 11, 2017, but it was just recently published. Users on RivianForums decided to take a look at the patent images and render what it could look like on the upcoming R1T pickup truck. The description of the patent mentions "a removable recreation module; a removable delivery module; a removable open box utility module; a removable flatbed support module; and a removable side rail module."
Basically, the bed starts out as a flatbed, which will accommodate oversized items. When the driver needs to make sure large items in the bed are more secure, rails can be installed to "box in" the sides. Of course, a standard truck bed can also be installed for more typical operation.
The system will also include two different recreation caps, which will seal off the bed for added security and more vertical storage space. In addition to the configurable bed modules, the patent also makes mention of sensors, which can detect which modules are in place and adjust the suspensions and brakes accordingly.
When the Rivian R1T arrives on the market, it is expected to offer a combined output of 754 horsepower and a driving range of up to 400 miles. This by itself will be revolutionary but add in this configurable bed and we could be looking at the best new pickup truck on the market.