By on March 14, 2019

With both Ram and GMC showcasing multifunctional tailgates this past year, versatile pickup configurations appear to be the segment’s hot new trend for 2019.

It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, and American EV manufacturer Rivian has something even more ambitious in the early stages of development. According to a patent published the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last month, the company has worked up a set of designs showing a pickup (presumably the R1T) equipped with reconfigurable bed modules. By using a flatbed configuration as the base setup, Rivian can simply tack on different modules to transform the rear for whatever job its owner needs it for. 

The filing refers to the modular setup as “Systems and Methods for reconfigurable electric vehicles” and specifies that the “removable structural models include a removable recreation module; a removable delivery module; a removable open box utility module; a removable flat bed support module; and a removable side rail module.”

RivianForums put together a series of stellar images of what these modifications might look like on the R1T.

All modules would be affixed through a latching system that’s also linked to the vehicle’s on-board computer. Sensors would identify what configuration a user is running, allowing the computer to adjust the vehicle’s maximum acceleration, braking sensitivity, steering ratio, nominal suspension height, and ride firmness. Due to Rivian’s stated commitment to fleet operators, the hypothetical system would also allow for shared vehicles to also share modules.

This may be little more than an idea at present. If Rivian can pull it off, however, it would set its electric pickup even further apart from industry mainstays — not that 754 electric horsepower wasn’t a good place to start.

[Image: Rivian]

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11 Comments on “Rivian May Incorporate Modular Truck Beds...”

  • avatar

    They can’t even get a product out yet and they’re talking about adding complexity and sensors for commercial buyers? Where are these commercial buyers that want to pay luxury car prices on work vehicles?

    Take a hint from every successful truck manufacturer and just allow the bed to be removed with 8 bolts from the frame and a couple quick disconnects for the lights. The aftermarket can do a much better job at anticipating bed styles.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    I view a lot of these tailgate features as not essential.

    I think a great option would be to offer all pickups with ancab chassis option and then buy a bed to suit your requirements. In Australia this works well.

    I bought my pickup with a standard ute back and invested in storage and handling solutions for my needs.

    You save money with a cab chassis to put towards your tailor made bed.

  • avatar

    Thats cool. Now put it on a $30,000 truck and without the additional sensors.

  • avatar

    “for whatever job its owner needs it for.”

    For real?

    Rivian, prove you exist before getting all fancy. And then just do those cool kei truck beds.

  • avatar

    Whomever wrote the patent application doesn’t understand the difference between damping and dampening.

  • avatar

    From the “stellar images” at the Rivian forum it appears they have no intention of offering regular cab, long bed trucks.

    All the magic assery is meant for a load platform that CNET calls “not quite as long as the bed of a Ridgeline”.

    How is this not silly when aspiring to a fleet market?

  • avatar

    The current design obviously doesn’t allow this kind of interchangeability but it seems the concept would be simple enough to enable with a future or maybe first production model. This prototype is only good for a tonneau or cap-style cover.

  • avatar

    I like this idea very much.

  • avatar

    It is just a patent it does not mean it goes into production anytime soon. Apple also patented lot of stuff so it can sue Samsung later. And Ford too.

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