Rivian may take on GM, Ram and Ford pickups with new tailgate tech

The electric truck startup has filed a patent for a new pickup tailgate that could help it compete with multi-functional designs from GM, Ram and Ford.

Rivian is exploring several hinge designs.

Rivian is exploring several hinge designs. (Rivian)

The patent, first reported on by CarBuzz, depicts several methods for installing a step in the center of the tailgate that drops down when it is locked in the horizontal position.

The GMC Multi-Pro tailgate can be set to six positions, including one that creates a step.

The GMC Multi-Pro tailgate can be set to six positions, including one that creates a step. (GMC)

GM’s Multi-Pro and Multi-Flex tailgates incorporate a hinged section that can be used as a step, while Ford offers one that pops out of the leading edge of the tailgate.

Ford's Tailgate Step pops out of the leading edge of the tailgate.

Ford’s Tailgate Step pops out of the leading edge of the tailgate. (Ford)

The Rivian R1T’s tailgate is already unique, as it is mounted on gooseneck hinges that extends the length of the bed floor when it’s open as a cover closes the gap.

The Rivian R1T has a storage compartment under the floor of its bed.

The Rivian R1T has a storage compartment under the floor of its bed. (Rivian)

A previously filed patent for a “Swing and Drop” tailgate would let the tailgate hang down to offer closer access to the bed, which has an underfloor trunk where the spare tire is stored.

Ram's Multifunction Tailgate can open in a variety of ways.

Ram’s Multifunction Tailgate can open in a variety of ways. (Ram)

Ram has addressed the access issue with its split Multifunctional Tailgate, which can be opened to the side like a door, and Ford has been working on a similar setup.

Rivian's Gear Tunnel has doors that double as steps.

Rivian’s Gear Tunnel has doors that double as steps. (Rivian)

Rivian hasn’t confirmed that the tailgate step will be put into production, but the R1T already has two on the sides. They double as door for its unique Gear Tunnel storage compartment, which runs across the middle of the pickup between the cabin and bed.

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