By Tim Esterdahl
Ram may have the next "one-up" tailgate design for full-size trucks. The new tailgate is quite revolutionary and could appear in the next Ram 1500 refresh coming in 2015.
According to Allpar.com, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received a "Multi-Functional Tailgate" patent on Feb. 20, 2013. Patent 8,740,279 describes a design in which the tailgate can be swung open like a pair of doors or split open to lay one side (or both) down like a traditional tailgate.
The new tailgate borrows design ideas from the Honda Ridgeline and, for those with longer memories, the Ford Excursion. It also expands on Ford's idea (from the 2015 F-150) of a push-button tailgate release with touchpads to actuate the different choices.
Apparently the idea is to give consumers more choices. The patent with multiple illustrations explains consumers may desire "to have … a portion of the closure member [door] to be opened independent of another member of the closure member."
The self-explanatory illustrations do a good job of showing exactly what Ram is thinking. It is yet another step for truck manufacturers looking to improve on the tailgate design. As with any new truck part reliability is a concern, but the usefulness of this design could override those concerns.
With the patent filed in 2013, the timing may be right for Ram to bring it to the market soon. The Ram 1500 is expected to be refreshed in 2015 and receive a major update in 2017.