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.
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.
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.
A previously filed patent for a “Swing and Drop” agterklap 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 has addressed the access issue with its split Multifunctional Tailgate, which can be opened to the side like a door, en Ford has been working on a similar setup.
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.