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.