Rivian Patent Reveals Multiple R1T Truck Configurations


When is a pickup truck not a pickup truck?

Answer: When’s it’s configurable into other non-truck-like forms, such as a camper.

A patent reveals that the Rivian R1T isn’t meant to be just a pickup truck. In fact, there are various configurations that transform it into more than just a truck.

Just the other day, we discovered that Rivian had a patent for an add-on battery pack that would extend range. With the auxiliary pack, the range would be well over 400 miles for the top-line R1T.

Now, there’s a new patent discovery. This one was dug up by Forbes contributor Sebastian Blanco and it suggests multiple configurations for the electric truck.

Take a look at the patent imagery below:

The images appear to show the Rivian R1T in various forms such as a flatbed, camper and other non-descript forms. Have a read of the patent abstract below:

Systems and methods for reconfigurable electric vehicles


Utilization of shared vehicles that are structurally and reversibly reconfigurable to suit requests for particular vehicle configurations is described. Vehicle use is monitored for plural vehicles shared among multiple users/uses. In response to a first request for a first particular configuration of a vehicle, a first vehicle is selected/provided in the first particular configuration having a predetermined first feature set, the first feature set being automatically set based on the first vehicle being placed in the first particular configuration. In response to a second use request for a second particular configuration of a vehicle different from the first particular configuration, the first vehicle is selected/provided in the second particular configuration having a predetermined second feature set, the second feature set being automatically set at the first vehicle based on the first vehicle being placed in the second particular configuration, the first feature set being different from the second feature set.

You’d expect Rivian to make full use of the R1T skateboard platform and it has with these additional configurations. There’s not word yet on when or if the electric truck maker will reveal/offer these particular versions for sale though.

Grab a look at the R1T in our gallery below:

17 photos
Rivian R1T

Source: U.S Patent Office via Forbes

Categories: Rivian, Trucks

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32 Comments on "Rivian Patent Reveals Multiple R1T Truck Configurations"

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Why would you link a paywalled version, when a public link to the full text is right there in the article?..

What…? No wholly speculative renders of all the configurations? You guys are slippin’…

Honestly, I am upset by these guys. Pickups are terrible vehicles…

…and they make me want one.

Am I dreaming about a camper version with an extended battery pack, a small solar panel pack and bike carrier for my electric bike? Would that make me consider selling my home and living on the road?

Stop making me want you!

The majority of patents is dumb — but from a quick glance, it looks like this one is even more ridiculous than most… [sigh]

I’d like to point out that filing this kind of patent in no way means Rivian actually intends to bring this to market. It’s basically just, “oh, there’s an idea, let’s make a patent”. It’s all about having a patent portfolio, no matter how irrelevant the patents are.

(And just to be clear, this is nothing against Rivian specifically. Everyone does it. Everyone *has* to do it. The patent system is just fundamentally broken.)

“I’d like to point out that filing this kind of patent in no way means Rivian actually intends to bring this to market. It’s basically just, ‘oh, there’s an idea, let’s make a patent’.”


It gets a bit tiresome seeing all these wide-eyed, credulous articles about patents, written as if filing a patent is proof the company means to put the subject of the patent into production. These days, most patents are filed without any intention of actually producing what’s described.

“The patent system is just fundamentally broken.”

Sadly, that is very true. These days, patents are more about trying to prevent potential competitors from making something that might compete with a company’s product. Or even worse, “patent trolls” who file patents in the hope that they’ll force a real manufacturing company to pay them for one of the patents they’re just sitting on.

The entire system needs to be revamped. It needs to be fundamentally changed so that patent protection only applies to a person or company actively using what the patent describes, or actively working towards that goal.

Actually, the best thing would be to scrap the patent system altogether… It was never considered a good idea by economists anyway.

But a major revamp would be a start…

What economists? Libertarians??

The patent system is the only effective way to spur innovation faster than it would happen on its own in a capitalist system. It is a quid pro quo, where you divulge your invention to the world with sufficient specificity, and if it’s novel or non-obviously over what has come before, then you get exclusive rights to your invention for a specific amount of time. After the expiration date, it becomes public domain.

The inherent difficulty with regulating patent trolls is that patents are private property. In this country, there are substantial limits on what can be legislated about private property.

Furthermore, who is to say what is sufficient in terms of developing the technology represented in a patent that you are actively enforcing? That’s a litigious money pit, as well, which hurts the small inventor (as does the patent trolling itself, I know). It might be the best remedy against patent trolls, but I do not know if/when/how such legislation will come to be.

So, you look at some pictures, and think the patent is trash. It all depends on what is disclosed and what they actually claim. This is just one page of drawings. Sheesh.

This is fantastic, can it be converted into passenger CUV or Van. That would be great.
Infact Jeep Wrangler is both a SUV (when seats are there) and Pickup (when seats and roof is removed).
Even Bolinger B1 is supposed to be like that. It will make perfect sense for Rivian to explore multiple forms.

RAM is going to provide a pickup with 2 doors in cargo bed. Pickups are evolving and getting more functional.

That’s why the R1S exists…

Bolinger B1 is a ultra functional SUV having 2 cargo doors with 1 opening upward and the other downward. The downward door can be opened for carrying longer items with better support. Also while taking rest, someone can sit on those door and relax.

Hope Rivian takes note of it.

Both are neat vehicles. No need for them to be the same. The design of the Bollinger is maybe more suitable for long items so a rear tailgate might make sense. It appears Rivian hasn’t shown the rear hatch on the R1s yet? Maybe something special, or maybe not done yet. Also, they will make R1t if you want to carry long items.

I see the Bollinger appealing to the actual offroad crowd and the Rivian maybe more the adventuring type (or those that want that image).

“It appears Rivian hasn’t shown the rear hatch on the R1s yet? Maybe something special, or maybe not done yet. Also, they will make R1t if you want to carry long items.”

I dunno about the R1S (Rivian’s SUV), but regarding the R1T’s tailgate, my guess is the new ads for the multi-use tailgate on the 2019 GMC Sierra are sending Rivian’s designers and engineers back to the drawing board! And quite possibly some of Tesla’s designers and engineers, too.

“Bolinger B1 is a ultra functional SUV…”

The Bollinger (please note the correct spelling) B1 isn’t even remotely an SUV. It’s a Class 3 heavy truck which has the approximate shape and interior appearance of an oversized WW II army jeep.

The B1 isn’t at all a passenger vehicle. It’s a heavily built commercial working vehicle meant for offroad use, such as on construction sites.

Not so sure about that. On one hand, it clearly has a bunch of rather utilitarian aspects — but their promotional shots thus far suggests they too are catering more to the “adventure” crowd…

So… It’s a truck.

It comes in different configurations! So does everything else.

It needs a 6 foot bed.

Perhaps not. Perhaps the extra-extra short bed is a marketing strategy, intended to discourage those who want a truck for heavy/frequent hauling to buy the R1T. The truck will take a big hit to range when hauling/ towing anything heavy at highway speed, and perhaps Rivian is deliberately trying to steer away from that market.

Rivian is aiming at the “adventure vehicle” crowd, not the working truck crowd.

Things may change as battery costs continue to fall and average BEV battery capacity continues to increase. No doubt one day, a BEV pickup’s battery pack will carry sufficient energy to perform as well as current gasmobile pickups. But for a first generation BEV SUT (not really a pickup), Rivian may be wise in choosing an extra-extra short cargo bed.

I doubt they are intentionally discouraging anything… I do think the short bed helps with energy efficiency, though.

It’s called profit. The market they are aiming for is high-margin.

How about not a double cab? It’s supposed to be a truck,not a minivan

I don’t think you understand which market segment Rivian is aiming for. It’s supposed to be an “adventure vehicle”, not a “truck”.

“When is a pickup truck not a pickup truck?”

When it has a cargo bed too short to qualify as an actual pickup, and it’s actually an SUT. Both the Rivian R1T and the Honda Ridgeline qualify for that category.

Oh, and jeeps are not pickups, either.

Is anyone else using this obscure designation, or did you just make it up yourself?…

GM has in the past, I’m pretty sure, as others have. It’s not necessarily as mainstream as SUV and CUV, but SUT is out there.

But why can’t they configure it with a real truck bed? It’s useless as a replacement for most regular truck users that want to haul anything like a yard of mulch, a load of lumber, etc. If you want to convince the current truck consumer to spend $70k for a truck, you have to make it useful.

That’s not their market. They are starting from scratch, so they are aiming for high-margin markets. Work trucks are low margin and high volume, neither of which Rivian can compete against for quite some time, if ever.

Besides, the 4-door short beds are increasingly popular across the US, from the urban cowboys (there’s a LOT of those) to the rural denizen (lower trims, but still an increasingly popular configuration).

Ford’s new Ranger is also a similar configuration, either a 4-door really short bed (5′ box), or a 2-door + 2 suicide door version with a modest bed (6′ box).

I’d say they know what they are doing in terms of market research.

Patenting? Others have said it already. While I love what Rivian is planning, their truck bed is dinky… probably good for some but many will find it pretty limited for things trucks are used for…

Single cab configuration, please. Seriously, why would you not make available one of the most popular configurations, ever? Single cab, bigger bed. A single cab can accommodate 1 to 3 people. Driver and 1 or 2 passengers. Isn’t that enough a high percentage of the time? So why take away from bed space for a second row of seating that will often be vacant? You can add removable seats to a truck bed much easier than adding mulch or gravel to a cab. Major mistake, in my opinion. Maybe they are trying to sell you a truck first, and then the truck you really want, second.

They aren’t popular anymore. Even in rural America, the 4-door short beds are increasingly popular. Also, when it comes to high-margin markets, the urban cowboys love this configuration. They are all over the place here in northern Virginia. Aside from fleet sales, I would not be surprised if the single cab falls from the top seller (if it hasn’t already).

Okay. Am I the only one that thought about the little prismatic storage box between the main cabin and the bed? The perfect spot to slide in a rent-able auxiliary battery for long trips.