Rivian, the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has recently filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a stowable bed and roof rack system designed for pickup trucks and SUVs. The patent, named the “Folding Vehicle Rack system,” was submitted on December 27, 2022, and published on January 11, 2024.
The patent outlines a simple yet innovative system comprising two vertical bars that clip into the sides of the vehicle bed. These bars are connected by hinged horizontal bars, forming U-shaped structures on each side of the bed. When dismantling, disconnecting the cross braces allows the U-shaped racks to fold into themselves within their own length. Rivian claims that this design would prevent grit, grime, and dust from entering the hinges, catering to the brand's adventurous image.
The stowable racks could be easily stored in the Gear Tunnel of Rivian's R1T pickup truck or occupy minimal space in a garage. Additionally, the application could be extended to suit a roof rack, making it adaptable for Rivian's R1S SUV.
Rivian's recent patent filings, including a roof-mounted departure light, align with its commitment to off-road adventure and functionality. The folding roof rack is particularly significant as it could play a role in the development of Rivian's upcoming R2 small SUV, aimed at offering a more affordable and accessible option while retaining the brand's off-road credibility.
The filing indicates Rivian's ongoing efforts to introduce practical and cost-effective features, addressing challenges faced with some of its previous promises, such as the Camp Kitchen and Gear Tunnel complexity. The folding roof rack concept reflects a simpler yet impactful innovation that could enhance the practicality of both the premium R1 series and the more budget-friendly R2, along with potential future Rivian EVs.