Built-in truck bed storage systems are nothing new. Nissan offered lockage gear storage space located in the bedside, aft of the driver side rear tire, since it introduced the Titan truck in 2005. Ram upped the ante with its all-new 1500 pickup in 2009 with the addition of the innovative Ram Boxes. While Ram Boxes utilize the unused space at the top of the bedside, several manufacturers including Nissan, Chevy, and Toyota have offered storage solutions that fit in their respective pickup’s interior bed stamping voids. Most recently, electric pickup maker Rivian has revolutionized the concept of in-bed storage with the innovative gear tunnel, which is fitted to the R1T.
In a recent patent application, Rivian has revealed plans to once again turn the concept of storage on its head in some new and exciting ways. The patent application, which was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on October 5th, 2021 and published on April 6th 2023, shows a wide variety of options for Rivian bedside uses. Unlike the gear tunnel, which is available currently, the patent describes entire outside bed panels that fold down in a variety of different ways.
The most interesting examples show the bedside lowering in either a single large piece or as multiples and functioning as seating surfaces. There’s also both pull-out and fold down table options. A few drawings detail different types of pass-through options, which are revealed by raising or lowering the bed sides. There are power options shown, both 110-volt and USB, located in a box directly above the wheel opening. A host of LED lighting options are also detailed in the patent document.
Interesting as well, is one drawing that shows the truck with a unique step-side bed. The step-side features a large flat step surface that spans from the cab to the front of the wheel well. These beds show a slimmer fold down section along the top rail, which reveal a pass-through to the bed along with a power station, utility surface, and in some cases notches for holding long items such as 2x4s or skies.
While all of this may look impressive it’s not worth getting excited over just yet. Automakers often patent ideas that never come to fruition. At least not in the short term. For instance, Rivian has patented a removable battery pack and K-turn mode; Ford has patents for storable sand ladders; GM has a patent on foot massagers; there’s even a patent out there for an EV self-destruct mode. There’s even rumor that the much anticipated Rivian gear tunnel camp kitchen might not actually see the light of day. So, look at all of this with a giant grain of salt.
If Rivian does opt to put some iteration of these new bedside storage designs into production, they’ll likely be seen on Rivian’s next-generation R2 platform, which is expected to launch in 2026.
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