Rivian has filed a patent for a full-size spare wheel mount designed to accommodate additional components that can enhance the capabilities of the all-electric R1S SUV.
The spare mount has the wheel oriented so the cavity is facing outward, allowing Rivian to throw in cylindrical containers dedicated to specific purposes. The patent list makes mention of the space being utilized for a “first aid kit, waste can, water container, cooler, vacuum canister, compressed air system, toolbox, electrical appliance, electrical cord wound on a reel, a camera, or other types of containers.”
It was also said in the documentation that the container and mounting dock “may include” electrical connections, electrical ports, fluid ports, communication ports, or any combination thereof. It sounds like Rivian is trying to work up a proprietary accessories package it can sell with the vehicle and doing what it can to cover all contingencies.
However, digging into the patent does start to make it seem like Rivian might have complicated something simple. This is also what happened to the brand’s Camp Kitchen and Gear Tunnel Shuttle, which took advantage of the vehicles’ all-electric architecture and unique cargo zones to install factory upfits. Sadly, Rivian decided against keeping those features so it could focus on adhering to its pre-existing production targets.
A subset of fans were hurt that the company abandoned what looked to be interesting, albeit extravagant, solutions to cooking outdoors. But others were annoyed that Rivian was spending time and money trying to develop extravagant accessories when it needed to focus on the fundamentals, taking to the forums to express their dismay. This slick wheel mounting system may end up doing likewise, depending on when and how it’s marketed.
Releasing anything before reliable vehicle production we undoubtedly draw the ire of the public. But some of the ideas in the patent could create some enhanced utility and garner praise from users if they are executed well. Undermining that premise is the fact that Rivian wants the storage container to be connected to the infotainment system. With the exception of a camera, pass-through electrical port, or spare battery, none of the concepts the brand has envisioned for the spare storage actually needs to interface with the vehicle. However, the patent filing has a diagram of a Rivian reminding the driver to empty out the installed waste bin with a first-aid kit and cooler apparently on deck.
At present, Rivian just looks to be covering its bases before any other companies try to patent something similar. But this has resulted in an extremely broad concept where the only sure thing is that the wheel will be mounted hub-side out to accommodate whatever the brand wants to throw in there.
For those interested in browsing the patent document, it’s available via the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Wheel sizes (including donut spares) and even the ways they could be mounted vary and everything takes into consideration app integration in case there’s something you might want to control with your phone. But there’s no guarantee of the above coming to market. Plenty of patents never become anything more than a piece of paper to be filed and Rivian still has plenty of other things to deal with before it starts considering which novel features will be marketable in tandem with its spare tire option.
[Images: Rivian; USPTO]
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