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Ford Patents a Split Rear Hatch for SUVs

2024 Ford Explorer Platinum | Photo: Ford
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Daniel Rufiange
The top section would open upwards, the bottom section downwards

This is a week for patent news, apparently. Yesterday we reported on a GM application for a pickup bed extension system; we now learn that Ford has also filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), this time for a horizontally split tailgate or hatch for SUVs. 

This is nothing new; other vehicles in the industry offer this kind of rear opening. These include the Land Rover Range Rover, the BMW X5 and, more recently, the Rivian R1S. 

Ford's new split tailgate patent application, fig. 1
Ford's new split tailgate patent application, fig. 1 | Photo: Ford
Ford's new split tailgate patent application, fig. 2
Ford's new split tailgate patent application, fig. 2 | Photo: Ford

Deployment is straightforward: the upper section opens upwards, the lower section downwards. Is that an advantage? Some will think so, other might not. At least, the top section would be lighter to lift, and the bottom section would extend the cargo space, if necessary. 

At the same time, it's a feature normally seen in luxury models. A two-piece hatch is more expensive and can be more complex.  

Is Ford serious about this approach for future vehicles? We won't know until we see a model with it. Patent applications don't always result in the on-paper ideas becoming reality. 

We'll just have to be patient, but we'll be keeping a close eye on the next new models to be unveiled by the brand. If the technology sees the light of day in a Ford vehicle, you can always say you saw it here first.


Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists