In February 2020, Rivian patented a swing and drop tailgate. The unique tailgate has dual functionality. One function is to operate similar to a traditional tailgate by rotating about a hinge into a horizontal orientation. The second, more unique function, includes the tailgate remaining in a generally vertical orientation while swinging out past the rear bumper and dropping below the bed of the truck. The intent of the design is to provide greater access to the truck bed. The dual functionality can be seen in the figures below:

Figures 1 and 2 from U.S. Pat. No. 10,569,812

This is one of those inventions where you see it and wonder why you never thought of it. It’s brilliant and clearly more desirable than any other existing alternative tailgate design. Hopefully, this design will be incorporated into Rivian’s R1T pickups. We might even see it in the R1S SUV.

Rivian has done a great job of not just reinventing the powertrain, but also reinventing as many aspects of its vehicles as possible. The future of automotive technology is very exciting thanks to companies like Rivian leading the charge (pun intended).