They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. If so, GM and Ram should feel quite flattered with Ford and now Rivian jumping in on a variant of their multi-function tailgates. We reported recently on a patent that Ford filed for their version of GM’s multifunction tailgate. Of course Ram has their own version too. So now with Ford engaged in the tailgate wars, Rivian jumped into the fray filing a similar patent for a version of the multi-function tailgate and putting it on a future version of the all-electric R1T.
The Rivian R1T was actually the first all-electric pickup truck on the market. Yes, even before Tesla (who has faced several delays with the Cybertruck) and a few months ahead of the GMC Hummer and Ford F-150 Lightning. But with the official filing with the U.S. Patent office, Rivian appears to be mimicking the other competition’s multi-function tailgates.
In the image filed (pictured above), a center part of the tailgate pulls out and drops down allowing for quick access. According to several rumors, Rivian may take this a step further and make this activated with a push of a button. This would make sense since the R1T is quite innovative and making this electrified rather than manual like the other trucks seems quite logical.
Rivian has partnered on and off with Ford throughout its development phases, so the fact that both Ford and Rivian filed similar patents is not surprising.
It’s actually pretty hard to innovate with pickup trucks. I remember my friend, the late great Gale Halderman, who worked 40 years at Ford Motor Company as a designer saying how challenging trucks are to design. He said, they’re just four corners and you can’t really change the shape.
So innovation has to come in other ways for today’s pickup trucks. The tailgate is the most obvious answer. But are these tailgates selling points or just gimmicks? That will be determined by the consumer.
With GM, Ram and soon to be Ford and even Rivian having a multi-function tailgate this is becoming a trend rather than a gimmick.
When an outlier like Rivian and the all-electric R1T jump into the fray you can assume this isn’t some passing fad, but is more than likely here to stay for several years.
As we mentioned, the tailgate wars are interesting. Who will be the next to innovate something on the tailgate? What is the market missing? What ideas do you have? Leave us your comments about something you’d like to see.
While these tailgate innovations are heating up, they don’t do a great job of solving a long-standing problem truck owners have faced for as long as trucks have been used to get work done. TailHand transforms your tailgate into a versatile, customizable mobile workstation that lets people work more safely, more efficiently and with precision, from anywhere. We’re proud to be solving a problem beyond needing a step onto your truck! We believe this is truly a solution that truck owners will appreciate.