Ram working on stowable side step for pickup trucks


  • Ram aims to make it easier to access pickup truck beds
  • A new side step for pickups might feature a step that pivots towards the rear wheels
  • The movable step would be integrated into the running boards

Ram has engineered a pop-out side step for pickup trucks that could allow easier access to cargo beds, according to a patent filing.

As described in the filing, which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) May 23, 2024 and first submitted by Ram in November 2022, the step would pivot out from a mounting point just ahead of the rear wheels. A spring would be used to deploy the step, while a latching mechanism would hold it place when in use, according to the application.

Ram side step patent image

Ram side step patent image

This could make it easier to reach items toward the front of a cargo bed, which can be difficult to get at in modern pickups. While Ford and General Motors offer steps integrated with the tailgate and rear bumper, respectively, the only equivalent feature for the front of the bed is the Rivian R1T’s Gear Tunnel door, which doubles as a step.

Running boards generally don’t stretch far back enough to provide a secure cargo-bed step, and with flush bed sides now the norm in pickup trucks, there’s not opportunity to add a step to the bodywork itself, as in the early 2000s Toyota Tundra Stepside. The proliferation of crew-cab trucks with shorter beds leaves less room for that, anyway.

Ram side step patent image

Ram side step patent image

A side step would also likely work well with the Ram Box bed-side storage boxes already offered on current Ram pickups. These remain unique to Ram, although Rivian has tried to patent a similar bed storage system.

Like other patented ideas, the deployable side step isn’t guaranteed to reach production—and it might not appear right away if it does. The Ram 1500 was just redesigned, adopting a 6-cylinder engine and adding a new Ramcharger plug-in hybrid that channels Chevy Volt tech. But it’s not hard to imagine a deployable side step appearing on a mid-cycle refresh of this truck.



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