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Production Rivian R1T electric truck may have a trick tailgate

Rivian already showed this design in the prototype, but it looks like it's bound for production.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Rivian R1T
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Rivian R1T

Rivian's R1T is shaping up to be something special.


Ah, the pickup truck bed. The home of house project tools, gardening supplies, furniture and almost anything some bungee cords and tie-downs can fit. Holding it all together is the trusty tailgate.

At Rivian, the electric truck startup may be planning to reinvent the crucial part of the pickup with a nifty design in its R1T. In a patent application image filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization last July and published in December, we're clued into what the company may have in mind.

Motor Authority first reported on the application on Tuesday and it shows two way to drop the tailgate. The first is your standard method of lowering the component, which keeps the tailgate flush with the truck's bed. While there isn't anything inherently wrong with this, it can make it cumbersome to grab items from the bed, especially if they've shifted during transit.

So, the solution is a second drop down, which lowers the tailgate all the way. The top of the structure is then pointing directly at the ground with a full vertical swing past the 90-degree angle in the traditional method.

Rivian tailgate patent application



This method does create a new problem, however. If there's a trailer hitched, the tailgate can't swing completely downward. Rivian likely knows this and mentions the possibility of latches to halt movement when desired. Rivian already showed this technology in the prototype version of the R1T, and noting the patent filing, it's nearly a sure bet it'll be present on the production truck.

It may not be the Swiss army knife that is the GMC Sierra's MultiPro tailgate, or as futuristic as the Tesla Cybertruck's tailgate, which turns into a freaking ramp, but it could be a rather simple solution to a pickup truck annoyance.

Originally published Jan. 2, 9:28 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:04 a.m.: Clarifies the tailgate was shown on the R1T prototype previously.

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The Rivian R1T might be the electric pickup truck of tomorrow

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