Rivian Truck Tailgate

Tailgate Battle: Rivian Patents All-New Concept

Rivian’s patent for a ‘swing and drop’ tailgate gives us a little better glimpse into what will set the R1T all-electric pickup apart from the competition. Customer deliveries of the Rivian R1T could start as early as this year.

Every major U.S. pickup truck now offers some sort of fancy, multifunctional tailgate. While Ford started the movement with the Integrated Tailgate Step, GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate and RAM’s Multifunction Tailgate have stolen the spotlight.

Meanwhile, Rivian is racing against such industry titans as Tesla, Ford, and others to reach the market first with an all-electric pickup truck. But Rivian doesn’t just want to be first — it wants to create something truly special.

If the “tank turn” and slide-out kitchen weren’t enough, it looks like the truck will offer a unique take on the tailgate to boot.

Rivian ‘Swing and Drop’ Tailgate

In December 2019, Rivian applied for an international patent on a “swing and drop” tailgate system.

The key feature of this new tailgate concept is that it can drop all the way down. This allows you to get closer to the vehicle and reach more things in the truck bed with ease.

It’s a similar benefit to that of RAM’s swing-out Multifunction Tailgate, but without the extra rear clearance needed for the swing-out. As Rivian states in its patent summary, “The swing down motion allows closer access to the bed, and extends less far from the rear of the vehicle as compared to the drop motion.”

Rivian tailgate patent

The new Rivian swing and drop tailgate also retains traditional truck tailgate functionality. The folded-down tailgate allows for more work and storage space while providing a platform to climb into the bed.

Another interesting feature of this new tailgate system is the addition of a secondary drop-down panel from the main tailgate. When deployed, it acts as a step, lower seat, or lower table.

The tank turn is a fun party trick, but the swing and drop tailgate truly adds functionality to the Rivian R1T. What other crazy new features will Rivian come up with next?

Bryon Dorr
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Bryon Dorr is the Motors Editor of GearJunkie and EIC of AutoWise. He has been writing about overland travel, off-road vehicles, whitewater kayaks, and outdoor and travel gear for 11+ years, with over 2-years of that at Lola Digital Media. Prior to his current role, he freelanced across a wide range of outdoor, automotive, and travel media outlets, both online and in print, as well as with wide range of commercial clients as a photographer, social media marketer, and copy editor. Based in Portland, Oregon, Dorr is an avid kayaker, cyclist, skier/snowboarder, runner, and photographer. When not outdoors doing human powered adventures you’ll find him behind the wheel or bars of something with a motor and wheels or enjoying a dark caft beer with friends.