The US Patent and Trademark Office database found a claim from Ford: according to the document, the automaker has developed a new tailgate design for pickup trucks – it can either lean down or open sideways like a door. Judging by the sketches from the document, the tailgate consists of three sections and is equipped with an integrated folding step, which should facilitate access to the loading platform. Whether such technology will be implemented on serial pickups is still unknown.
The operation of the tailgate opening system is demonstrated using the F-150 as an example. The board has three sections: you can fold all three down or open the middle section to the side, like a door. It follows from the documents that such a design will be called Flexbed.
Other American companies have similar technologies. For example, GMC already offers the MultiPro tailgate for the Sierra 1500, which features an integrated fold-down section with high flexibility.
Ram, in turn, has an option for pickups of the 1500 series – the tailgate Multifunction Tailgate, which can be folded down completely flush with the loading area or open the doors in a 60:40 ratio (together or separately). At the same time, each door swings open almost 90 degrees.
Ford will most likely offer Flexbed as an option on the F-150 to keep up with the competition.
However, not all patented technologies reach mass adoption. For example, Ford has previously patented retractable exhaust pipes for SUVs – it is assumed that such a system will avoid damage to the exhaust system. This feature was never implemented.