A recent patent filing indicates that Ford might follow General Motors and Ram with a midgate for pickup trucks, but the automaker has another trick up its sleeve as well.
Published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jan. 31, 2023, the patent application is titled “Pivotable Sill for a Vehicle.” It describes a movable section of a pickup cab wall that could open to allow direct access from the bed to the cab. Unlike other midgate designs, however, Ford’s proposed version would pivot up, like a rear hatch, rather than folding down.
This would, among other things, allow for a handy camping setup. One of the drawings included with the application shows a crew cab pickup with a bed-mounted tent and flat-folding first- and second-row seats forming a sleeping space.
The example used in the application is a unibody vehicle like the current Ford Maverick, rather than a body-on-frame vehicle like the bestselling F-Series trucks. In the document, Ford notes that in body-on-frame pickups the rear wall of the cab and the front of the bed are separate pieces, so this midgate arrangement would be more difficult to employ.
Rivals are taking a similar approach with planned production trucks. GM originated the midgate with the body-on-frame Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT, but it’s bringing the idea back with the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV, two electric pickups with unibody construction based on GM’s Ultium component set.
Ram also combined an electric powertrain and a midgate in its 1500 Revolution BEV concept, which previews the brand’s first production EV, due in 2024. The concept also incorporates third-row jump seats and a front pass-through that creates a storage space stretching all the way from the bed, through the cab, and into the frunk.
The patent application hints that Ford is planning to match these features. While the current Ford F-150 Lightning is derived from the body-on-frame gasoline F-150, Ford has indicated a follow-up electric full-size truck, due later this decade, will be based on a dedicated platform. The application could apply to that truck. However, a patent application is no guarantee of production plans.
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