Automakers seem to think that modern truck tailgates should be as versatile as swiss army knives. General Motors' Multi-Flex folds out six different ways, for crying out loud. GM didn't start the craze, to be fair, as Ford owns that claim. The Blue Oval is even looking at ways to take it a step further with a bed step you can pull straight out of the tailgate and stick right behind the cab.
As illustrated in a patent application that was published Nov. 10 and originally dug up by Ford Authority, the basic design is similar to what's already offered on F-Series trucks. With the tailgate down, a step ejects when the operator pushes a button and folds it into place. There's even a handy grab handle to help get you into the high-riding pickup bed. What's different about this, though, is that it's meant to be removed completely.
Once you've taken the step out of the tailgate, you then carry it around to a compartment that's situated between the rear wheel well and the back of the cab. Then, the step slides into a pair of slots, giving you easy access to whatever's at the front of the bed. Seems...convoluted, right?
It makes more sense when you learn that the tailgate can now be left up when hitching a gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailer. You may or may not have seen tailgates like this on dedicated towing rigs, but typically, they're made of steel and usually have a grated design.
Here's what I'm talking about:
That makes me think this is meant more for the Super Duty than the F-150, even though that's what's depicted in the patent app illustrations. Thing is, the 2023 Super Duty just launched with an integrated bed step that looks sleeker and doesn't require any long-winded procedure to use. It's good to keep in mind that this is strictly a patent application that doesn't signal production intent; Ford is just protecting its idea.
This could also make sense if it's implemented in a future truck with a pass-through gear tunnel, similar to the Rivian R1T's. That way, the compartment is dual-purpose, too. It'll likely be a while before we see this hit production, if we ever do, but it's something to chew on nonetheless.
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