Rivian develops sliding door patent, hinting at minivan
Rivian has filed a new patent which describes a sliding door with double guide rail that would be perfect for a van. The design is prompting speculation that Rivian may be on the cusp of developing the market’s first electric van right after producing the industry’s first production version of a fully electric van.
The patent is titled “Motor Vehicle Sliding Side Door with Double Guide Rail” and shows a minivan design door that functions similarly to a traditional door. The abstract of the patent states:
“The described embodiments include motor vehicles with sliding door with double guide rail and sliding door systems with double guide rail for motor vehicles. An illustrative motor vehicle includes a vehicle body; a sliding door movably connected to the vehicle body; a front rail connected to a body of the vehicle; a rear rail connected to a vehicle body behind to the rear of the front rail; a door rail connected to the sliding door; a front arm assembly connected to the sliding door and movably connected to the front rail; and a rear arm assembly movably connected to the rear rail and movably connected to the door rail. The sliding door is movably connected to the vehicle body, and a lateral distance traveled by the sliding door along the vehicle body from an open position to a closed position is greater than a length of the rear rail.
The patent was first spotted by members of the Rivian Owner’s Forum.
The design is similar to that of a regular sliding van door. However, instead of the opening being limited to where the rail ends, the rail extends well beyond the rear of the car. The additional opening would be beneficial for a number of reasons, including the entry of disabled passengers.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently hinted at the introduction of a Robo Van that the company could potentially bring to market. Musk said on an internal call with Tesla employees that the van would likely help people with disabilities. Musk also raised the possibility of a Tesla minivan during the fourth quarter 2020 earnings call in January, where he said the company “will definitely be making an electric van at some point.”
Tesla “Robo Van” will be a minivan with a noble purpose
Rivian and Tesla are both probably several years away from developing this pickup, as both companies have plans underway. However, an electric van could be a great addition to the range of fully electric vehicles currently available on the market.
The full patent is available below.
MOTOR VEHICLE SLIDING SIDE DOOR WITH DOUBLE GUIDE RAIL by Joey Klender on Scribd