Rivian explores tailgate with built-in workbench

The Rivian R1T is aimed more at camp sites than job sites, but a patent filing from the automaker hints at a new feature that could enhance the electric pickup truck’s usefulness as a work vehicle.

In a patent application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2022, but only published in April 4, Rivian details a tailgate with an integrated workbench.

The tailgate would essentially serve as a mounting point for different elements, including extendable support arms, clamps, vises, and fasteners. Some of these elements, such as the support arms, could be built into the tailgate and fold out when needed, while others could be attached to the tailgate via tabs.

Drawings accompanying the patent application show a pickup, but Rivian notes that the workbench concept could be applied to other areas besides truck tailgates. Fixtures could also be integrated with the doors for the Gear Tunnel pass-through located behind the cab of the R1T, or on an SUV tailgate, according to the automaker. Recall that the Rivian R1S has a split tailgate, with a lower flat surface similar to a pickup tailgate.

Rivian tailgate workbench patent image

Rivian has been looking for several ways to increase the utility of pickups. Other recent patent filings from the automaker include a bed rack system, drop-down storage tray, and a gooseneck-hinge tailgate that can swing open 180 degrees. Not all patented ideas make it to production, though, and it’s unclear if these ideas would be used for a future update of the R1T or another vehicle.

Rivian unveiled its lower-priced R2 series in the form of the R2S SUV in March, but hasn’t yet confirmed an R2T pickup. But with production of the R2S not scheduled to start until 2026, there’s still time for that announcement to happen.