Rivian continues to explore new ways to enhance the ownership experience of its electric vehicles.

A patent application titled "Retractable Double Width Expanding Camper Shell" was filed by Rivian with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2022 and published by the agency on May 30, and shows a potential retractable tent upgrade for a vehicle like Rivian's R1T pickup truck.

The design for the bed-mounted retractable tent would enable a truck's bed to accommodate up to three mattresses. The tent features a rigid frame that can be extended using actuators, as well as flat surfaces that are supported by the bed sides and extend out beyond the truck. Rivian calls it a camper shell/tent and says the exterior panels are made of collapsible material, which makes it seem more like a tent than a camper shell.

The tent allows two people to sleep in the bed of the truck and then an additional person on each side of the bed for a maximum occupancy of four. For comfort, the system could incorporate additional accessories, such as inflatable mattresses, heating and cooling systems, solar panels, and windows with netting.

Rivian patent drawing for bed-mounted retractable tent

Rivian patent drawing for bed-mounted retractable tent

In the patent application, Rivian mentions that current canopies and rack systems designed for pickup truck beds typically extend beyond the bed, which will result in extra drag and in turn a loss of efficiency. Rivian's design is fully enclosed within the truck bed when folded away.

Rivian hasn't indicated whether it plans to put something like the retractable tent into production, though other automakers have similar products already available. Volkswagen currently offers a line of camper vans with items like retractable tents that extend from the roof.

A Rivian patent for an awning-like structure that extends from a roof-mounted capsule also surfaced in May, and the company has also explored designs for removable roofs, as well as bed-mounted work benches and camp kitchens.