Here is a recent patent, filed by Ford, that outlines an entirely new “drawer style” tailgate system that can be used to either extend the bed length or lower into a step position. Yes, tailgate wars are still in full swing! Will Ford bring this new tailgate design to the 2021 Ford F-150 or another future truck? We do not know at this time.
This 10,081,303 patent is dated Sep 25th, 2018.
The patent describes rails that a installed under the bed of the truck. The regular tailgate (in its stowed vertical position) is attached to the horizontal rails. Once the latches are released, the tailgate assembly can slide out over the rear bumper (like a cabinet drawer).
Next, the extension can fold down, turning the entire tailgate into a step or a low bench for sitting on.
There is also an intricate cable system that supports the tailgate so it can open in a standard way, or slide all the way out and swing down.
Is this the ultimate advanced tailgate solution? Can this mechanism stand up to rigors of truck use in all different climates and environments? These questions are difficult to answer at this time without using and testing the mechanism for an extended period of time.
Here are all the other current tailgate solutions from Ram, GM, and Ford in the video below.