GM Patents Unique Bed Step System
Entire Center Section of Bed Drops Down, Could Debut in ’19 Silverado/Sierra
The proverbial pickup box, which for decades was just that, a sheetmetal box, has suddenly become a hotbed of innovation among truck makers. Ram has the RamBox bedside storage system, Ford has its tailgate step, and General Motors has its signature rear bumper corner step cutouts, which made their mainstream debut in the 2014 Silverado. However, according to a patent filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it looks like GM could take bed steps to a whole new level. Patent number US 9,522,621 B2 describes a large, beefy tailgate step system that, unlike Ford’s bed step system that pulls out of the tailgate and drops down, actually drops down a large center section from the tailgate with a somewhat Goldbergian dual-hinge system.
Like the Ford tailgate step concept, GM’s system employs a vertical assist handle to help pull yourself up and into the bed. According to the patent description, which is 11 pages of densely worded legalese and diagrams, the deployment of the step system will be manual. However, we think it would be pretty slick if the step system could be deployed with the touch of a remote button (perhaps on the Denali and High Country models).
An added advantage to this system compared to GM’s current bumper corner cutouts is improvement of departure angle in extreme off-road situations. Eagle-eyed readers may note the Colorado ZR2 is not equipped with the corner steps. GM engineers said the steps were eliminated after they became damaged during prototype testing in extreme terrain. What do you think of GM’s proposed bed step system? Needlessly complex or an elegant and useful solution to bed accessibility?
Source: U.S. Patent & Trademark Office