Tesla still hasn’t announced the final specifications and features of the Cybertruck, even though production is right around the corner. However, thanks to a patent filing, we have a good idea of one feature that should be coming with the electric truck, a powered tailgate.
We say should because patents are often filed and the product never ends up making it beyond the drawing board, but with the Cybertruck inching closer to production by the day, there is a very good chance this one will become reality.
According to the patent documents (WO/2023/114084), discovered by Twitter user @tempermanant, it was first filed on December 8, 2022 and published yesterday on June 22, 2023. It describes the powered tailgate mechanism that includes an actuator, a counterweight member, latches, a switch, a controller, and sensors for moving the tailgate from the closed to open position, and vice versa.
“A system for moving a hinge between an open position and a closed position is disclosed. The hinge couples a closure panel to a body. The system can include an actuator for driving the closure panel between the open position and the closed position. A counterweight member reduces a mechanical effort provided by the actuator to drive the closure panel.”
The filing also includes some drawings showing the actuator sitting hidden inside the right side panel of the Cybertruck. According to Tesla their design using the actuator offers significant advantages over what is currently used in other trucks, most notably the reduction of components which streamlines the supply chain, simplifies installation, lowers costs. But perhaps most importantly this design improves reliability, and with reduced components it is also lighter, which Tesla says can increase the range of the Cybertruck.
While the patent focuses on the power system for opening and closing the Cybertruck’s tailgate, it emphasizes that the system can be employed in various applications beyond trucks and SUVs. It can be used for opening and closing hinged panels in storage compartments or cargo-hauling systems of different vehicles.
As one might expect, the patent documents also indicate the powered tailgate will be able to open and close through a keyfob and mobile app, so just like how you can open and close the powered trunk with your smartphone, you will also be able to do that with the Cybertruck’s tailgate.
The one thing that the patent documents don’t reveal is whether the Cybertruck will retain the extendable ramp that was included on the original prototype. On the night the Cybertruck was unveiled we saw a demonstration of the ramp coming out of the tailgate and it having enough strength to hold the weight of the Cyberquad as it drove into the bed (or Vault as Tesla calls it) of the Cybertruck.
Sightings of the Cybertruck have been increasing lately, with multiple units spotted this week. Some of them have been camouflaged, like the one seen in Palo Alto last week, while others have been spotted on trailers being towed to an unknown location.
There has also been activity at Giga Texas that indicates production is getting closer. Castings have been seen accumulating outside the factory, and while they were initially stacked on the ground appearing as if they were scrap to be recycled, Tesla has now started storing them in racks like they do with Model Y castings.
All of this is pointing to Tesla being on track to begin production this summer, and hold a special delivery event in September. But as CEO Elon Musk has explained before we shouldn’t expect a meaningful level of production until 2024.