The guide rail allows the doors to open beyond the body of the car.
Rivian recently filed a patent application for a sliding door with a dual guide rail. It's a simple yet revolutionary idea that allows sliding doors to move beyond the end of the van it's attached to.
There are two significant advantages we can think of. First, you can massively increase the door opening without having to increase the length of the body. Secondly, it allows for easier access in tight spaces.
For some reason, Rivian used what appears to be a Honda Odyssey for illustrative purposes. The patent also includes a series of hand drawings to illustrate how the system works. This is the second time this week a manufacturer has filed a new patent for door openings after BMW filed a patent for a new falcon wing door.
The most obvious question is whether Rivian is working on a van. The answer is yes. We've known about this for a while. It was part of an agreement with Amazon, which invested a massive $700 million in the electric startup, now worth $80 billion. At the moment, there are only concept images of the unnamed van, which the forums suggest will be called the RCV, or Rivian Commercial Vehicle.
A sliding door system like this would make loading and unloading much easier for Amazon employees, who can now also get to those hard-to-reach places, thanks to Rivian's Adventure Network.
Considering both Rivian models are based on the same skateboard design, making these changes to the R1S SUV wouldn't be that difficult. We don't expect Rivian to do that, however.
Thanks to trademark filings earlier this year, we know the names of upcoming Rivian models. Now that it has the truck and SUV segment covered, Rivian will want to expand its portfolio.
The names Rivian wants protected are R3S, R4S, R5S, R4T, and R5T. Looking at its current line-up, the T is reserved for the truck, while the S is connected to the SUV. The 3,4 and 5 likely relate to size. Since the R1S is already the size of a BMW X7, the other number will probably be left for smaller models.
That would fit in with the perfect brand launching strategy, which is to blow customers away with a halo product, followed by more affordable offerings for the masses.
We can see the benefit of sliding doors like these on a compact SUV. Rivan is on a roll at the moment. The first mass-produced R1T recently rolled off the factory floor, and the EPA gave both the truck and SUV official range claims of over 300 miles.